Happy Ocean Foods founders

©Happy Ocean Foods

Happy Ocean Foods “Crowdinvesting to Give Private Investors the Chance to Be Part of Our Success Story”

Munich-based Happy Ocean Foods, which specialises in plant-based seafood with a current focus on vegan shrimp, announces a crowdinvesing campaign which goes live today, 15th November. The young startup enjoyed recent success on The Lion’s Den – the German version of the show known as Shark Tank in the US and Dragon’s Den in the UK — receiving investment from two judges including former Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg.  The company was also recently named as one of the hottest food startups not to be overlooked in 2022 in the Food & Beverage Innovators Rising Stars 2022 report.  Without further ado, Co-founder Robin Drummond is here to tell all about the new campaign and plans for the future. Please introduce your brand Happy Ocean …


Esencia Founders

© Esencia Foods

Esencia Foods: “The First Company in Europe to Produce Alt Seafood Based on Mycelium”

Headed by Scientist and Chef Bruno Scocozza, and ‘Mercenary turned Missionary’ Hendrik Kaye; Berlin’s Esencia Foods says it is “building the fish and seafood alternatives of the future based on mushroom mycelium”. We caught up with Bruno and Hendrik to find out about their plans to feed the world with with mushroom roots. Please introduce yourself and Esencia Foods to our readers Henrik: Esencia Foods is the first company in Europe to produce alternatives to seafood based on mushroom mycelium, using solid-state fermentation. Our mission is to promote the global transition to sustainable ocean stewardship – without asking consumers to compromise on taste, texture or price. What inspired you to start a company?  Henrik: A Dutch researcher said, “Humanity needs to produce more food in …


Bel Brands Interview

©Bel Brands

Bel Brands USA: “There is a Tremendous Opportunity in the Plant-Based Cheese Space”

Bel Brands USA is the US subsidiary of Bel Group, the world’s third-largest branded cheese company and a leader in single-serve cheese products. In 2020, Bel Group announced bold plans to create plant-based versions for each of its core brands, including Boursin, Babybel and The Laughing Cow. Soon after, Boursin Dairy-Free debuted to great fanfare on the US market, followed by the launch of Babybel Plant Based and Bel’s first plant-based cheese line, Nurishh.  According to the company, its 150 years of cheesemaking experience sets it far above the competition, and it intends to continue leveraging this knowledge to transform the plant-based cheese market. We spoke to Shannon Maher, Chief Marketing Officer of Bel Brands USA, about the company’s exciting cheese innovations, the upcoming launch …


Kinga Wojcicka- Swiderska

Kinga Wojcicka- Swide rska © Informa Markets

Informa Markets: “The Speed at Which Manufacturers Are Launching New Plant-Based Products is Breathtaking”

Of all the current trends in the food industry, the boom in plant-based raw materials and products is certainly the one that is most profoundly changing the industry and the offerings on shelves. Following the presentation of the Fi Global insights Plant-based Report 2022, Peter Link spoke to Kinga Wojcicka-Swiderska, Head of Content – Food, Informa Markets, about this megatrend and the opportunities and challenges it presents. Peter Link: Kinga you have an excellent all-around view of the food and ingredients industry worldwide. What distinguishes the trend towards plant-based foods and ingredients from all the other trends we have seen in the industry over the past few years? Kinga Wojcicka-Swiderska: This is a trend that is here to stay and it will become mainstream, because …


Glebe Farm

Philip Rayner ©Glebe Farm Foods

Glebe Farm Foods: “We Have Big Plans to Redefine the UK Plant Milk Market”

Glebe Farm says it has always prided itself on being the only UK company to produce gluten-free oat milk from scratch. Now, the brand is looking to shake up the UK plant milk market by encouraging a shift away from imported products. A recent poll by Glebe found that 34% of consumers don’t know where their oat milk comes from, despite 70% believing it is important to be aware of the origins of food and drink. “THE BIG PLANT MILK CON: Yes we said it…Big oat milk names = big, hefty food miles. When we CAN grow oats in the UK why import from overseas? Support real British farming and legit sustainability.” Glebe Farm on LinkedIn Respondents strongly supported labelling plant milks with their origin, …


Chef Spike Mendelsohn

Spike Mendelsohn ©Eat the Change

Eat the Change: “There is Endless Potential When it Comes to Innovation and Plant-Based Diets”

Founded by Chef Spike Mendelsohn, founder of PLNT Burger, along with Seth Goldman of Beyond Meat, Eat the Change is on a mission to create nutrient-dense snacks that are better for the planet and aligned with consumers’ health goals. After initially launching ultra-sustainable mushroom jerky, Eat the Change has continued to innovate with other healthy snacks, besides supporting other plant-based brands via grants. Now, the company is turning its attention to the beverage industry. Co-founder Spike Mendelsohn is well-known for finishing in the top five on TV show Top Chef. He is a television personality, product developer, cookbook author, SNAP program advocate, chef, and restaurateur. We spoke to him to find out more about Eat the Change and making plant-based foods appealing. What is the …


Nil Zacharias headshot

Nil Zacharias ©Plantega

Plantega: “Our Approach to Disrupting Existing Structures Within the Food System is to Focus on Empowerment”

Across New York City, Plantega is making plant-based meat, cheese and egg products more approachable, affordable, and accessible through a unique concept of in-store deli marketing. Led by founder Nil Zacharias, Plantega has partnered with top brands such as JUST Egg, Beyond Meat, Good Catch, Miyoko’s Creamery and more to bring healthier, 100% plant-based foods to NYC’s iconic bodegas. Through its visionary efforts, Plantega is helping brands grow product trial and distribution while working to overcome the core challenges of cost, taste and convenience that prevent widespread adoption of plant-based foods.  Nil Zacharias spoke with vegconomist about Plantega’s business model, special insights, building community-powered food systems and more. Tell us about Plantega. Plantega is on a mission to make plant-based food easier to access everywhere. …


Darko Mandich

Darko Mandich © MeliBio

MeliBio: “I Dream of MeliBio Becoming One of the Most Influential Food Companies Driving Innovation”

MeliBio is giving bees a break from honey production. This Oakland, California company, headed by Serbian CEO Darko Mandich, has been in the vegconomist news feed regularly since early 2021 and is busy with its mission to provide a 1:1 replacement for bee-made honey. After MeliBio’s initial raise, the company revealed what it claims to be the world’s first real honey made without bees as a plant-based ingredient for B2B customers and food service, in October of last year. In March of 2022, MeliBio secured a further $5.7 million to commercialize its first line of bee-free honey. Since then it has begun partnering with fine dining restaurants, including the world-famous Eleven Madison Park. We were overdue a chat with Darko to find out more about …


Phil and Maria of Simplifyber

Image credit: Mofield_John © Simplifyber

Simplifyber: “We are Fundamentally Changing the Entire Process of Making Shoes and Clothes”

Simplifyber does not create normal apparel. The clothes and shoes made by this New York brand are not only 3d printed and “created in a lab, not in a factory”, but are also 100% biodegradable. It’s a fascinating area of innovation, bearing in mind that the fashion industry is the third most polluting industry, responsible for more CO2 emissions than the shipping and the aviation industry combined, and one which brought Simplifibyer an initial swell of interest from investors to the tune of multiple millions this summer. We were excited for the opportunity to speak with CEO Maria Intscher-Owrang, whose 20+ year career as a fashion designer and director includes periods at leading fashion houses, including Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, and Alexander McQueen. What is …


Meurens Natural: “We Were the First to Produce Oat Syrups That Can Be Used to Produce Oat Drinks”

Meurens Natural, a Belgian company specialized in clean label extracts made from oat and other cereals, offers organic ingredients for plant-based products and therefore has developed a range of high protein brands. Tim Van de Gehuchte, International Sales & Marketing Manager at Meurens Natural, talks about possible applications and how they contribute to a healthy and sustainable way of life. Who is Meurens Natural, and what does the company stand for? Meurens Natural is a family-owned Belgian company that processes cereals and dried fruits into organic and natural ingredients for the food processing sector. Meurens Natural has been a pioneer in the organic sector with the Sipal® brand, for over 30 years. Throughout the years, we have developed a unique production know-how that is 100% …


Kartik Dixit Evo Foods

Kartik Dixit © Evo Foods

Evo Foods: “We Aim to Be Present On All Continents While Being the Market Leader in the US, India and SE Asia”

Kartik Dixit, CEO and co-founder of India’s plant-based egg pioneer Evo Foods has had a busy couple of years, to say the least. Evo was founded in 2020 by Dixit and co-founder Shraddha Bhansali, who would go on to be named on the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2021 list and develop a range of products that taste, scramble, fry, boil, and make omelettes just like conventional eggs. The young founders say they are driving the company with the mission to bring the plant-based revolution to India, a country with the highest global percentage of vegetarianism but which has traditionally overlooked milk and eggs. Until now. Following a pre-seed round last year featuring high-profile investors, reportedly one of the largest ever by an early-stage food …


Daring CEO Ross Mackay


Daring: “Our Long Term Mission is to Replace and Rethink Chicken in the Global Food System”

2022 has been quite the year for Daring, the New York and LA-based startup on a relentless mission to change how the world eats chicken. Led by the fearless Ross Mackay, Daring kicked off this year with a stunning full-page color spread in the New York Times imploring readers to switch to its sustainable plant-based chicken. From there, Daring took on grocery store meat departments, launching its first refrigerated plant chicken tenders, before rolling out into Target locations across the US, gaining serious starpower from celebrity ambassadors like Kourtney Kardashian, Travis Barker and Naomi Osaka along the way. We spoke with Mackay who spoke to Daring’s exciting recent growth, from its latest product developments to retail strategy, upcoming restaurant launches and how Daring has sold …


Loui Blake

© Loui Blake

Loui Blake: “My Belief in This Space Has Never Been Stronger”

London-based Loui Blake is known for is work as an entrepreneur, angel investor and public speaker in the plant-based space. Loui opened the UK’s largest vegan restaurant Erpingham House back in 2018 before going on to co-found pizza kitchen Vegan Dough Co during the pandemic, and most recently was named as new CEO of Miami Foods in May of this year. Loui has been busy since we last spoke three years ago, to say the least. We also heard of some exciting developments on the Miami Foods front, so it was time to catch up with Loui and hear his latest news and insights into plantbased business in 2022. Tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to since we last spoke in 2019. …


Juan Benitez-Garcia_President-Global_Savory_ADM

Juan Benitez-Garcia © ADM

ADM: “We’re Looking Forward to Supporting the Future of the Alternative Protein and Plant-Based Space”

ADM has been in the alternative protein headlines almost constantly this year, announcing: $300 million investment to expand its alternative protein production facilities in Ilinois in April; a partnership with Eat Just in May to accelerate its cultivated line GOOD Meat; a new firm called ScaleUp Bio in Singapore earlier this month; and most recently, a strategic partnership with Benson Hill to scale ultra-high soy protein. Juan Manuel Benítez-García, President, Global Savoury at ADM, spoke with vegconomist about such partnerships and how the company fits into the plant-based space. In which areas does ADM offer alternatives? We have a long legacy in plant-based protein solutions development, and we support brands across the food and beverage industry seeking to expand their alternative and plant-forward options, including …


Rimi & Manav Thapar LoveRaw

Rimi & Manav Thapar © LoveRaw

LoveRaw: “We Believe in Our Strong Brand Identity, We Stand Head and Shoulders Above Our Competitors”

UK vegan chocolate pioneer LoveRaw has been reinventing confectionery since 2013, and along the way, founders Manav and Rimi Thapar have rejected offers on Dragons Den, developed multiple innovative products and sold millions of units in both mainstream and independent retail, gaining a loyal following from non-vegans, vegans and “nonvegan vegans” as coined by the entrepreneur couple. After the phenomenal success of the Ferrero Rocher-style “Nutty Chocolate Balls” which launched this June and sold a quarter of a million in just three weeks, LoveRaw today launched the Caramelised Biscuit Cre&m Wafer just six weeks later. Is there no stopping this vegan power couple? It was time to catch up with Rimi and Manav again to find out. What have been LoveRaw’s biggest developments since our …