Wagamama and Willy's Pies launch mushroom, kimchee, and edamame pie

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Wagamama Partners With Willy’s Pies to Launch Vegan Mushroom, Kimchee and Edamame Pie

Japanese-inspired British restaurant chain Wagamama has partnered with pie brand Willy’s Pies to launch a new plant-based dish — the Mushroom, Kimchee and Edamame Pie. The pie contains king oyster mushrooms, diced aubergine, and edamame beans in a katsu curry sauce. It is topped with kimchee and served with a side salad, along with Wagamama’s raisukatsu sauce. The pie aims to fuse traditional British cuisine with Asian flavours. Wagamama and Willy’s Pies previously collaborated in November to create a chicken katsu pie, and have developed the new vegan option in line with Wagamama’s commitment to a 50% plant-based menu. The pies will be available at 19 selected Wagamama locations UK-wide; a tour truck will also bring free samples to various cities, in celebration of British …

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Students eating outside

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Kent State University Partners with Forward Food, Aims for 30% Plant-Based Meals by 2026

Kent State University in Ohio has announced its plan to increase its plant-based meal offerings to 30% across all dining services by 2026. This initiative, developed in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States’ Forward Food program, aims to enhance the sustainability and nutritional value of food choices available to students on campus. Kent State University’s decision to double the plant-based meal target comes after the university successfully exceeded its previous objective of making 15% of its meals plant-based in its residential dining facilities. Sarah Korzan, a licensed and registered dietician and assistant director of Kent State’s culinary services, says that the shift is part of a move to cater to the diverse dietary preferences of the student population. “With over a third …

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Largest ever Vurger Co. location opens

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The Vurger Co Closes its Doors, Citing Government Failures & “Anti-Vegan Misinformation”

British vegan fast food chain The Vurger Co has closed its doors for the last time, following years of “seemingly endless domestic and international crises”. After launching in 2016, The Vurger Co. opened four locations in total — two in London, one in Brighton, and one in Manchester. The restaurants have served hundreds of thousands of burgers over the years, including to celebrities such as Billie Eilish. The chain also launched a range of sauces for retail at Ocado, Whole Foods, and Co-op, as well as further afield at stores in Los Angeles, New York City, and Dubai. But like most hospitality businesses, The Vurger Co struggled during the pandemic, heightened by what the company describes as “infuriating government policy”. Ensuing crises, such as the …

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Impact Food x Pokeworks

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Pokeworks Expands Partnership with Impact Food, Bringing Plant-Based Tuna to San Francisco and New York

Plant-based seafood producer Impact Food, and Pokeworks, an American fast-casual poke chain, have announced an expansion of their partnership in the US. The collaboration, which initially began with a limited partnership at the Pokeworks location in Irvine, California last June, has now expanded to include all Pokeworks locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by a launch in New York City locations in March. Kelly Pan, CEO of Impact Food, enthused, “Our mission at Impact Food is to revolutionize the food industry by providing delicious, nutritious, and environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional seafood. Our partnership with Pokeworks underscores our mutual commitment to a sustainable future where plant-based options are preferred. The launch in New York City and San Francisco is just the beginning.” Impact …

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Vegan Zeastar plant-based seafood pop-up

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Vegan Zeastar Opens Pop-Up Plant-Based Seafood Restaurant in The Hague

Dutch plant-based seafood brand Vegan Zeastar, owned by Vegan Finest Foods, is opening its first-ever pop-up restaurant. The restaurant will be located at Zèta, a vegan cafe at Grote Markt in The Hague, from March 5-10. The menu will feature a range of dishes showcasing Vegan Zeastar’s extensive product range, which includes Sashimi, King No Crab, Shrimpz, and King No Crab Cakes. The meals will be prepared by Zèta’s chefs. The pop-up is for “everyone who wants to try something different, whether it is for the experience, for your health, for the environment, or for the animals”. Those interested in attending can now book a table. “We are excited to host our first pop-up restaurant at Zèta,” said Rosella D’angeli, co-founder of Vegan Zeastar. “This …

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Beleaf Foods egg dish

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Beleaf Announces Partnership with Dot Foods to Expand US Distribution Network

California-based meat alternatives company Beleaf has unveiled a new partnership with Dot Foods, one of North America’s largest food industry redistributors. This collaboration will leverage Dot Foods’ extensive distribution network to enhance the distribution of Beleaf’s plant-based products in the United States, including plant-based meats, eggs, snacks, and its award-winning shrimp. Dot Foods provides access to over 125,000 products from more than 1,020 food industry manufacturers, including a range of plant-based products. Other plant-based companies have recently been leveraging Dot Foods’ extensive distribution network to increase the accessibility of their products. Plant-based brands and Dot Foods Miyoko’s Creamery has partnered with Dot Foods to help it scale its food service footprint, and Abbot’s Butcher is now available in all 50 states thanks to its collaboration …

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Havredals burger

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Havredals Enters US Market with Plant-Based Meat Alternatives in Partnership with Performance Food Group

Havredals, the Swedish producer of plant-based mouldable meats, announced its official debut in the US market. The company has established a vendor agreement with Performance Food Group (PFG), a leading food distributor in Virginia, signaling the start of its product availability across the East Coast of the US, including Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, and more. Havredals’ line-up for the US market features its plant-based beef and chicken burgers, as well as ground beef and chicken alternatives. These products are crafted from a blend of fava beans, peas, and oats, offering a clean label and whole food option for health-conscious consumers. Fava beans are known for their regenerative agricultural benefits, high solubility, emulsifying properties, and high amino acid profile, making them an attractive ingredient option for …

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smashburger jackfruit burger

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Smashburger Adds jack & annie’s Jackfruit Burgers at All US Locations, Serves Them in Non Vegan Buns

Smashburger, a burger chain operating corporate and franchise locations in 9 countries, has partnered with fellow Colorado brand jack and annie’s to offer a jackfruit burger at all US restaurants. Following the success and positive feedback from consumers during a limited-time menu test last summer at select Smashburger locations in Colorado, New York, New Jersey and Chicago, the chain decided to offer the plant-based burger as a permanent menu item in all branches. “As plant-based alternatives become more common on menus across the industry, it was natural to expand our menu,” said Eric Marcoux, Chief Restaurant Support Officer at Smashburger. “When we discovered jack & annie’s, we knew we were in the right place with our shared Colorado connections and our shared food philosophy of …

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Neat Burger Announces Rebrand to “Neat” with New Look and Focus on Fresh, Healthy Ingredients

Plant-based fast food concept Neat Burger has announced that it will rebrand to Neat, rolling out a new menu featuring “brighter, healthier and fresher” ingredients. The rebrand is a response to customer feedback and will feature a new look and feel at physical locations, along with the removal of self-service tablets in favor of more interactive customer service. In terms of menu offerings, the change will cater to growing consumer preferences for natural, whole food plant-based meals. The new concept was soft-launched at Neat Victoria and Neat Soho yesterday, February 12, and will officially open at these locations, along with Neat Camden, on February 19. Neat Wembley, along with the chain’s international locations in New York City and Milan, will follow later in the year. …

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KFC Could Be Set to Open a Vegetarian Location in India’s Holy City of Ayodhya

Officials in the Indian city of Ayodhya have said they are prepared to grant KFC permission to open a fully vegetarian location. Ayodhya is considered a holy city, with ties to religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Consequently, the sale of meat and alcohol is banned within the city’s Panch Kosi Parikrama (a 15-kilometre pilgrimage route), in line with religious beliefs. This means that KFC has been prevented from opening a location in the area to date. However, tourism is on the increase in Ayodhya following the opening of the new Ram Mandir temple last month. As a result, officials are welcoming major fast food chains into the city — as long as they serve fully vegetarian menus. Discussions with several chains are reportedly underway, …

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Tacotarian

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Tacotarian: Winning Over Omnivores with Innovative Plant-Based Mexican Cuisine

Tacotarian is carving out a distinct niche within the Mexican food segment in the United States: 100% plant-based Mexican dishes, using house-made alternative proteins for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Launched in Las Vegas in 2018, Tacotarian’s mission is to redefine and modernize traditional Mexican-American dining, using authentic flavors, seasonings, and cooking methods coupled with plant-based proteins to provide an innovative option that appeals to a broad audience. In fact, the majority of Tacotarian customers aren’t even vegan or vegetarian, with 75% of patrons identifying as omnivores/flexitarians. Modern approach to Mexican cuisine Kristen Corral, cofounder of Tacotarian, told Nation’s Restaurant News, “Our concept is really good Mexican food that just happens to be vegan. When you think of a Mexican-American restaurant, you think of yellow and …

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Lord of the Fries New Zealand

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New Zealand Franchise of Vegan Fast Food Chain Lord of the Fries Goes on the Market for $1.2M

Bruce Craig, who owns the New Zealand master franchise rights for Australia-based vegan fast food chain Lord of the Fries, has put the business on the market for $1.2 million. Craig bought the rights in 2016, and has since helped the franchise grow to six stores across New Zealand — two in Auckland and one each in Wellington, Christchurch, Botany, and Hamilton. The chain was turning over $3.5 million before the pandemic, but the lockdowns and ensuing move to working from home have reduced sales. However, business is said to be improving as more workers return to the office. Lord of the Fries has 25 employees across its New Zealand stores. Craig and his wife are now looking to sell the business as they are …

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Barcelona’s UOBO Launches Liquid Plant-Based Eggs for Food Service

Barcelona-based startup UOBO has launched liquid plant-based eggs for food service in a 1-litre bottled format for the Spanish market. The startup says that it has garnered impressive results since its launch on social media platforms, with its first post receiving over 250,000 views in less than 24 hours. In addition, UOBO claims to have already received over 40 requests from interested restaurants, caterers, and distributors. The company’s 100% vegetable whole-eggs are said to adapt seamlessly to traditional recipes while offering great taste. UOBO can be cooked into multiple dishes, including omelets, scrambled eggs, pastries, custard, and mayonnaise. Even though UOBO is described as a nutritious alternative to eggs, the company has not as yet revealed its ingredients on social media.  Making better eggs Founded …

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NFL players invest in robot-powered meat-free restaurant

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NFL Stars Invest in Chipotle Founder’s Robot-Powered Meat-Free Restaurant

Kernel, the robot-powered meat-free restaurant concept created by Chipotle founder Steve Ells, has received funding from two star NFL players. Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (who is vegan) and New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones have both invested in the company, receiving equity stakes in exchange. The first Kernel restaurant is set to open in the Flatiron District of New York City on February 12, at 315 Park Ave South. It will initially focus on lunch, opening from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Kernel previously raised $36 million in Series A funding in August; participants included Raga Partners, Willoughby Capital, Rethink Food, and Virtru. Improved efficiency Kernel aims to address inefficiencies in food service by using a semi-automated operational process, featuring a robotic arm to …

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Serving Plant-Based Success on School Plates: Interview with ProVeg UK’s School Plates Programme

“We started in 2018 with one local authority partner in the UK. Six years on we’re working with a quarter of all the local authorities in the UK. That’s about 6,300 schools, over a million meals a day that we’re influencing, and over 12 million meals that we’ve swapped from meat-based to plant-based. So it seems to be working,” says Colette Fox, Head of Programme at ProVeg UK’s School Plates programme. The School Plates programme, run by the UK branch of international food awareness NGO, ProVeg International, has had some striking success. Harnessing the power of behavioural nudges (and, of course, delicious plant-based food), the team is making a big impact in school canteens across the United Kingdom. The scheme is continuing to grow, with …

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On The Green Side clean label chicken alternatives

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ProVeg South Africa Report Shows Significant Rise in Plant-Based Options in Fast Food Industry

ProVeg South Africa has released a report on the prevalence of plant-based options in South Africa’s fast-food and restaurant industry, offering in-depth analysis and ranking of major chains based on their plant-based offerings, advertising strategies, product naming, and more. According to the report, fast-food consumption in South Africa has surged by 33.1% since 2019, spurred by challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and load-shedding crises in the country, which caused many people to turn to fast food due to power outages in their homes. In response to growing health, ethical, and environmental concerns, plant-based main dishes have seen a 16.67% increase in menus, though they still constitute less than 5% of the total offerings. The rise in vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian consumers, who now, according to …

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Nigel Draper headshot

Nigel Draper, image supplied

Veganuary: Passing Fad or Pressing Sign That Hospitality Needs to Change?

Nigel Draper is the Founder and Managing Director of Sorsco, experts in logistics and procurement for the hospitality sector. Nigel Draper’s unique perspective as the Founder of Sorsco brings a pragmatic and strategic approach to the challenges and opportunities presented by Veganuary in the hospitality sector. “Is veganism just for the month after Christmas? Or should we be making permanent changes?” he asks. Veganuary: passing fad or pressing sign that hospitality needs to change? By Nigel Draper The first of January often means sacrifice, be it mince pies, fast food, or the joys of lounging guilt-free on the sofa. But for some, the lifestyle changes welcomed in by New Year’s are more significant, with 700,000[1] of us vowing to give up meat, cheese, and other …

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Prime Roots

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Prime Roots Partners With Three Little Pigs to Bring Plant-Based Pâté to NYC

Prime Roots, the producer of koji-based deli meats, has partnered with Three Little Pigs, an artisanal charcuterie and pâté maker, to introduce its collection of plant-based pâtés and foie gras to customers in New York City. The range blends traditional French cuisine with the innovative and sustainable ingredients of Prime Root’s plant-based products, including its Black Truffle Koji-Pâté, Harvest Apple Koji-Pâté, and Koji-Foie Gras. These products are developed using koji, a fungi root commonly utilized in Asian cuisines for its umami-rich qualities, which is key to replicating the taste and texture of meat-based products. Founder and CEO of Prime Roots, Kimberlie Le, commented on the launch, saying, “It’s so fun to wow people’s tastebuds with a plant-based koji-pâté, and koji-foie gras that gives people the …

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Dussman partners with plant-based startups

Team members from Dussman and all four startups © BettaF!sh

German Caterer Dussman Partners With Plant-Based Startups for “Diversity Instead of Sacrifice” Campaign

This Veganuary, German caterer Dussmann Food Services has joined forces with four plant-based startups — planted, BettaF!sh, BOONIAN, and Brew Bites — as part of its Vielfalt Statt Verzicht (Diversity Instead of Sacrifice) campaign. Dishes featuring plant-based products made by the startups have been available at around 60 German business canteens throughout the month. Restaurant Ursprung, a sustainable restaurant located in Dussmann’s Berlin-based cultural media store Das KulturKaufhaus, is also participating. About the startups planted uses extrusion and fermentation to make meat alternatives from clean ingredients such as peas, sunflower, and oats. One planted schnitzel emits 87% fewer greenhouse gases and requires 90% less water than its animal-based equivalent. BettaF!sh produces a canned tuna alternative called TU-NAH, made from seaweed, pea protein, and fava beans. …

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NH Foods from Japan will introduce a plant-based tuna sashimi.

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Nippon Ham to Introduce Plant-Based Tuna Sashimi for Food Service in Japan

NH Foods, a Japanese ham manufacturer known in the country as Nippon Ham, is developing a plant-based tuna sashimi for food service. The Japanese firm is marketing and promoting its plant-based tuna sashimi as a reliable and environmentally friendly protein source in the face of potential strain on fishery resources. Last spring, the company expanded into the alt seafood category with two plant-based seafood products — fish fries and popcorn shrimp — also highlighting the sustainability of the new alternatives. However, instead of focusing on retail, the company will launch the new plant-based tuna sashimi exclusively for restaurants this April to learn about consumer preferences and the market. Nippon Ham’s new plant-based tuna sashimi is made from plant-derived ingredients, including konjac flour, dietary fiber, and …

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