The Week In Plant Based: Gaia’s Farming Co. Makes Hemp Milk Debut, Vegan Babybel In The US, Meatless Wings For The Super Bowl
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The vegan news never stops, and this week, in addition to covering the latest roundup of new plant-based alternative launches, we’re spotlighting on a brand-new company. UK-based biotech startup Gaia’s Farming Co. just launched with a new take on oat milk for British consumers. Across the Atlantic, Americans are gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday. This year, plant-based options abound when it comes to chicken wings, thanks in no small part to Germany-based LikeMeat’s massive US expansion.
UK: Gaia’s Farming Co. launches a hemp-and-oat alt milk
A new company, Gaia’s Farming Co., bills itself as “a biotech company utilising Mother Earth’s greatest plant, hemp, for her environmental, health, and material benefits.” Hemp is a CO2-capturing “super-plant” with a variety of uses including clothing, beverages, and skin care products.
Gaia’s is specifically leveraging hemp’s potential as a milk alternative. The company’s first two products are a blend of hemp and oat milk: a creamy “Hemp & Oat M*lk” and “Hemp & Coco M*lk.” Both are available online via the Gaia Farming Co. website for UK consumers.
US: Vegan Babybel and Laughing Cow Cheeses arrive Stateside
French cheese company Bel Group is launching vegan versions of its wildly popular Laughing Cow and Babybel cheeses in the US. A plant-based Babybel product is expected to hit retail store shelves in March, though Bel Group has not yet said which retailers will carry it. Vegan Babybel is already available in the UK.
A vegan version of the Laughing Cow product called Laughing Cow Plant-Based won’t arrive at US retail stores until 2023. Bel Group says the recipe is still in development.
UK: Loma Linda’s alt-tuna hits Co-op stores in Britain
US-based Loma Linda has rolled out its vegan tuna alternative TUNO at 500 Co-op stores across the UK. TUNO is already available at Morrisons and Asda stores. Two TUNO flavors will be available at Co-op, Thai Sweet Chilli and TUNO & Mayo
In 2021, Canadian plant-based protein company Above Foods announced it would purchase Atlantic Natural Foods (ANF), which owns the Loma Linda brand. The deal is expected to widen ANF and Loma Linda’s geographical footprint.
UK: Glebe Farm debuts PureOaty at Morrisons stores
British oak milk maker Glebe Farm is making its first supermarket appearance with the launch of two new products, PureOaty Barista and PureOaty Creamy & Enriched. For the Barista product, Glebe says it is able to get a foaming functionality without additional additives to the oat milk. Creamy & Enriched, meanwhile, comes with extra calcium and vitamins.
Last year, Swedish oat milk giant Oatly filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against family-owned Glebe Farm. A judge ruled in favor of the latter, saying there was no “risk of injury to the distinctive character” to Oatly.
Germany/US: LikeMeat launches “Chick’n” wings at Walmart, Target
Germany’s LikeMeat is debuting its plant-based chicken wing analogues at more US retail locations just in time for Superbowl Sunday, when Americans are projected to eat 1.42 billion chicken wings and 160 million vegan wings.
More than 3,600 Walmart stores will carry Like Chick’N Wings in the freezer section as one-pound Family Packs. All packs include vegan dipping sauce. Like Chick’N Wings will also be available at 1,400 Target stores nationwide.
LikeMeat previously debuted these plant-based wings at Sam’s Club and Sprouts stores in the US.
UK: British Airways launches plant-based menus in airports
British Airways will introduce various plant-based offerings on the regular menus of its first-class and business-class lounges at airports as part of the airline’s larger strategy of reducing its carbon footprint.
The vegan menu items will first debut at Heathrow Airport before making their way to British Airline lounges in the US.
British Airways is also working to eliminate significant amounts of single-use plastics from its flights.
UK: I.T.S. developing “all-in-one” egg replacement
International Taste Solutions (I.T.S.), which manufactures bespoke flavorings for food and beverage companies, says it has developed natural enhancers meant to replicate properties of egg and dairy in bakery products.
ITS’ Vegan Boost is an “all-in-one” solution that can improve qualities in baked goods such as richness, flavor, leavening, structure, and color one would normally get by using eggs. I.T.S. head of innovations Carl Smith said in an interview that the company’s bakery customers asked for help with enhancing the flavor of vegan cakes and goodies.
UK: Plant-based category to reach £1 billion within four years, says forecast
Consumer meats business Pilgrim’s Food Masters expects “robust momentum” for plant-based foods over that time, driven largely by an increase in the number of “flexitarian” consumers. Other drivers include appealing to families, tapping into new occasions, and product innovation.
Pilgrim’s Food Masters, which was rebranded in 2020 after Pilgrim’s Pride acquired the business from Kerry Group, has some skin in the plant-based meat game. It owns sausage brand Richmond, which already has a few plant-based options available to consumers including vegan bacon rashers, mince, and meatballs.
UK: Nearly half of Britons will eat more vegan foods, according to Meatless Farm
Pilgrim’s isn’t the only plant-based company to have recently released numbers around Britain’s alt-meat trend. A new study from alt-protein company Meatless Farm found that 43 percent of Britons plan to eat more plant-based food and reduce their meat consumption, up from 9% in 2019.
Nearly a third of the survey’s respondents were 55 and older, suggesting it’s not just Gen Z and Millenials driving the plant-based trend.
UK: One Planet Pizza debuts carbon labeling on packaging
One Planet Pizza has introduced carbon labeling on its packaging, making it the first frozen pizza company to state the carbon footprint of its products. The company’s core products will carry the labels from March 2022.
Carbon calculations were done independently by My Emissions and based on switching typical meat and dairy pizza toppings with plant-based versions.
Lead image courtesy of Gaia’s Farming Co.