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Canadian plant-based meat brand Gardein has just launched a new line of plant-based soups with its meat alternatives such as chicken and beef. It has also debuted vegan jerky products in various flavours. Plant-based analogues such as Gardein’s have grown in popularity, particularly in recent months in the wake of the coronavirus as consumers prioritise health, safety and sustainability more than ever before.
Gardein’s new line plant-based soups are made with its vegan high-protein meat alternatives, such as chicken, beef and sausage, alongside vegetables such as carrots, celery, potatoes, peas and bell peppers. There are five flavours available, including vegan versions of chicken noodle soup, beef and vegetables, sausage gumbo, chicken and rice and minestrone with sausage, and each will contain at least 10 grams of protein per serve.
The Canadian plant-based brand, which has been acquired by packaged foods giant Conagra in 2018, has also launched vegan jerky analogues in three flavours: Original, Teriyaki and Hot and Spicy.
Other new products coming this summer include cauliflower wings, skillet meals, sausage patties, ramen and breakfast bowls, which will be vegetarian and created in collaboration with a number of brands also owned under Conagra, such as Bird’s Eye, Marie Callender and Healthy Choice.
It follows the company’s launch of its new plant-based burger made with pea protein in January, which was designed to compete with the famous plant-based burger substitutes by the leading next-gen vegan food techs such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.
The latest slew of products that Gardein has rolled out comes as the company experiences record sales numbers during the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen consumers shift towards plant-based products more than ever before due to food safety, sustainability and health concerns.
In March and April – at the height of the first wave of the pandemic in many parts of the world – Gardein saw sales increase by 65% compared to the same period last year. Vegan meat brands across the board have almost all experienced a huge spike in demand, with consumer surveys in the U.K. to the U.S. and Hong Kong (where Gardein products are available for retail purchase, distributed by Green Common) finding surging interest in alternative proteins as a direct consequence of the coronavirus crisis.
Meanwhile, the meat industry has taken a tumble. With the dangers of the meat industry exposed by global slaughterhouse outbreaks, shuttered factories leading to empty supermarket shelves and rising demand for plant-based versions have triggered the biggest global decline in meat consumption in decades.
Recent trends present hope that the broken global food system can shift away from relying on sustainable livestock production to meet the world’s protein demands. For years, activists and scientists have been calling for a radical transformation to a plant-centric food system in order to reduce the whopping 18% of greenhouse gas emissions attributable to animal agriculture alone.
Reducing meat production will also help to prevent future public health emergencies and pandemics. In a recent report by the United Nations, experts highlighted the rising consumption of animal protein and unsustainable agricultural intensification as a result of demand for animal-based foods as key causes of zoonotic disease emergence.
Lead image courtesy of Gardein.