Future Food Quick Bites: Valentine’s Specials, Scotch Eggs & Greek Dragons’ Den
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In our weekly column, we round up the latest news and developments in the alternative protein and sustainable food industry. This week, Future Food Quick Bites covers Fortnum and Mason’s cultivated scotch egg tasting, a Dragons’ Den deal for carbon-negative ice cream, and a host of executive moves.
New products and launches
South Korean company Armored Fresh has launched its oat milk Cheddar cheese at US fast-food chain Bareburger, with two new menu items using the brand’s Armored Fresh Melt and Impossible Standard cheeses.
Israeli precision fermentation startup Phytolon is planning to launch a line of natural colours using genetically engineered baker’s yeast in the US this year (pending regulatory approval), following a breakthrough with partner Gingko Bioworks.
Speaking of breakthroughs, Californian startup Checkerspot has developed a fat analogue from microalgae fermentation, which it claims can mimic the human milk fat called OPO (Oleic-Palmitic-Oleic or sn-2 palmitate). It could help provide essential lipids to offer long-term nutrition benefits for infants.
Barcelona-based UOBO has introduced liquid vegan whole eggs for foodservice in a one-litre format nationwide, which can be used for applications like omelettes, scrambled eggs, pastries, custard and mayo.
Indian plant-based meat brand Shaka Harry is eyeing the foodservice segment with a range called Chefsclusive, which features starters, snacks, meals, and accompaniments.
Also in India, restaurant chains Social and Boss Burger have teamed up with Nestlé‘s across 82 outlets in six cities, using the FMCG giant’s frozen plant-based Maggi line for The New Irresistible Menu and The ImBOSSible Cheeseburger, respectively.
In the UK, Unilever-owned Magnum has launched a new Chill Blueberry Cookie SKU, which is a vanilla-biscuit-flavoured ice cream with cookie pieces, alongside a core made from blueberry sorbet.
In another UK launch, plant protein bar maker Trek has linked up with Biscoff for a co-branded SKU with soy protein isolate, vegan chocolate and Biscoff spread, retailing in Sainsbury’s from Valentine’s Day, before a wider rollout in March.
If you’re looking to take vegan Valentine’s Day up a notch, meal kit startup Grubby has partnered with Redefine Meat to introduce the latter’s whole-cut beef flank for home cooks until March 22. Following this, a second Chimichurri steak dish will be introduced.
Also for Valentine’s, US chains Next Level Burger and its now-subsidiary Veggie Grill have partnered with Colorado-based mycelium meat producer Meati to offer a Sliced Steak Sandwich at all locations from February 9. Additionally, there are two new vegan sweet treats: a strawberry whoopie pie and a strawberry cookies and cream shake.
And San Francisco’s vegan fat tech startup Lypid has launched its plant-based meatballs for foodservice, which can be used in various cuisines, including American, Italian, and Asian fusion.
Finance and corporate moves
UK plant-based meat company THIS is seeing a change in leadership, with co-founders Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman stepping back from their roles as co-CEOs and being replaced by former Ella’s Kitchen boss Mark Cuddigan. Shovel and Sharman will remain involved in the day-to-day business and at board level.
UK cultivated fat company Hoxton Farms has appointed former Impossible Foods chief strategy officer Nick Halla to its board, following other strategic hires in recent weeks to prepare for commercialisation and expand its team of 40 to 100.
North Carolina-based food tech company Tiamat Sciences, which is making animal-free recombinant proteins at a fraction of the cost, has an all-female executive team – a rarity in the biotech world.
Meati has appointed former Patagonia and Wild Idea executive Phil Graves as its new chief financial officer, who will oversee the capital expenditures needed for the company’s omnichannel expansion, and help deliver positive environmental and social impact alongside profit.
In Spain, food companies Familia Martínez, Capsa Vida and Helados Estiu, alongside startups Väcka, Wevo, Grin Grin Foods, Gimme Sabor, and Quevana, have formed The Flexitarian Project to increase the availability of plant-based products to the market.
Greek company Plan(e)t Foods, which claims to be the world’s first carbon-negative vegan ice cream company, grabbed a deal on Dragons’ Den Greece for €42,000 for a 1% equity, which would rise to 3% if it goes to the NYSE.
German alternative oil startup Colipi has raised €1.8M in seed funding to accelerate the development of its precision-fermented, carbon-captured Climate Oil using organic sidestreams as feed.
NFL quarterbacks Justin Fields (Chicago Bears) and Daniel Jones (New York Giants) have invested in Chipotle founder Steve Ells’ new robot-powered vegetarian restaurant Kernel, which will open its first location in the Flatiron District of New York City on February 12.
Cultivated meat developments
In London, Fortnum and Mason hosted a scotch egg tasting for journalists in collaboration with cultivated meat company Ivy Farms, which contained the latter’s beef made from cultured Angus cow cells.
Innovate UK and the Biological Sciences Research Council, meanwhile, have invested £15.6M to support a cultivated meat project by Campden BRI and cellular agriculture specialist Cellular Agriculture. It will be used to develop a hollow-fibre bioreactor system prototype and test production samples.
The EU Commission has closed the TRIS notification process about Italy’s cultivated meat and plant-based labelling bans because the laws did not comply with the procedure’s rules, rendering them unenforceable.
Policy, research and manufacturing news
In a major regulatory breakthrough, Israeli startup Remilk has become the first precision fermentation company to receive a Letter of No Objection from Health Canada, allowing it to sell its dairy proteins in the country.
Danish bioproduction leader 21st.BIO is granting access to its precision fermentation technology platform to ingredient manufacturers, helping them enable the production of sustainable dairy proteins at competitive costs.
Belgian precision fermentation startup Paleo has opened a new R&D facility in Leuven, expanding its lab facility to 500 sq m.
In the US, fermentation startup Superbrewed Food has secured a patent for its proprietary Postbiotic Protein ingredient, which – alongside a self-affirmed GRAS status – will enable the company to accelerate its use in CPG applications.
Also in the US, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has endorsed the FAIR Labels Act (led by US Senator Roger Marshall), which aims to eradicate “deceptive labelling practices” on plant-based meat products.
Meanwhile, the City of Amsterdam has become the first capital city in the EU to endorse a Plant Based Treaty, targeting a 40-60% plant protein ratio in the city’s diet by 2030.
Finally, research funded by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth and the European Cooperation in Science and Technology has found that consumers associate fungi-based foods with sustainability and wellbeing.