The Food Innovation Laboratory, a project of South Africa's University of the Free State (UFS), has developed a new line of affordable, protein-rich, soy-based dairy alternatives.

© Martinette Brits (UFS)

Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

Food Innovation Laboratory Unveils Affordable Soy-Based Dairy Range to Combat Undernutrition in South Africa

The Food Innovation Laboratory, a project of South Africa’s University of the Free State (UFS), has developed a new line of affordable, protein-rich, soy-based dairy alternatives: strawberry, banana, and vanilla-flavored milk drinks and berry and banana yogurts featuring natural fruit. Additionally, the team has utilized okara, a soybean byproduct, to create dough for a typical fried bread called vetkoek as well as savory biscuits. The UFS Food Innovation Laboratory project launched to develop a range of “economically feasible” high-protein snacks and dairy alternatives using soybeans. Its goal is to enhance the country’s food security by offering low-income communities high-protein options to address undernutrition issues. Project leader Dr. Brandon Van Rooyen, an expert in product development and commercialization, argues that few sources offer similar nutritional and …

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South Africa’s Immobazyme, a precision fermentation company spin-off from Stellenbosch University, has raised $1.3 million in a recent investment.

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Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

South Africa’s Immobazyme Raises $1.3M to Boost Production of Precision Fermentation-Derived Proteins

South Africa’s Immobazyme, a precision fermentation company spin-off from Stellenbosch University, has raised $1.3 million in a recent investment round led by the University Technology Fund (UTF) with the participation of Innovus (University of Stellenbosch Enterprises). Immobazyme develops high-value proteins for various industries, including cultivated meat. The new capital will support the company’s production expansion, which includes doubling its current facility size and scaling its platform. This round brings its total raised capital to ZAR 24 million. “We’re incredibly grateful to all our investors and partners for recognizing the value and impact of our work. Daniel S., Wayne Stocks, and the rest of the team at The University Technology Fund (UTF), having you in our corner has been paramount to our success. A big thank you …

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© Nicola Kagoro

Charity & Campaigns

Support Plant-Based Cooking Workshops in African Schools

The Animal Welfare and Environment Network for Tanzania (AWENET) raises awareness in Tanzanian schools about the environmental and health benefits of plant-based eating. The organisation has made Meatless Mondays and Fridays possible in schools, while their Vegan School Lunches Outreach Programme aims to reach 12,000 students this year – all made possible thanks to the support of ProVeg Grants. Your donation to ProVeg Grants will help organisations like AWENET to expand their plant-based school food programmes, thus impacting hundreds of catering staff and thousands of students. Since launching in 2019, ProVeg Grants has provided more than 900 grants to organisations and individuals in over 90 countries working to change the global food system. Every contribution you make reaches, supports, and empowers organisations around the world. …

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© Rikki Hibbert/Fry's Family Foods

Politics & Law

Johannesburg High Court Overturns Seizure of Meat Alternatives in South Africa

The Johannesburg High Court has overturned the planned seizure of plant-based meat alternatives marketed using “meat-like” terms in South Africa. These products will now remain permanently available in the country. South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) first banned the use of meat-like terms on plant-based product labels in June 2022, arguing that it was misleading to consumers. The department instructed the Food Safety Agency to seize any non-compliant products. However, plant-based advocates took the case to the Johannesburg High Court, successfully arguing that plant-based meat alternatives were not covered by legislation relating to the classification and labelling of processed meats. The court temporarily halted the planned seizure of the products in August 2022. Almost a year later, the seizure was …

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On The Green Side clean label chicken alternatives

© On The Green Side

Market & Trends

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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A sandwich made with a jackfruit filler

© Fiber Foods

Investments & Finance

Uganda’s Fiber Foods Secures Investment for Jackfruit Ingredient for Meat Alternatives

Uganda’s Fiber Foods, a pioneer of jackfruit for meat alternatives for food service, has received an undisclosed investment from FoodSparks, a fund for agrifood tech startups launched by PeakBridge and EIT Food, one of the largest agrifood innovation ecosystem. Fiber Foods is a women-led business founded in 2020 by Inez van Oord and Ineke Aquarius, with support from the Netherlands Embassy, to create a scalable, gender-friendly value chain for a jackfruit ingredient. The company was established as a trade support organization to create economic (fair wages), social, and sustainable value for all stakeholders, positioning itself as an “impact first” organization. It works with family farmers in East Africa to harvest, produce, and distribute dehydrated jackfruit, marketed as PrimeJack, from regional hubs. The Dutch company Team Tastemakers provided technical guidance …

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Brett Thompson CEO Newform Foods

Brett Thompson, CEO Newform Foods, image supplied

Opinion

Op Ed: Brett Thompson, CEO Newform Foods, on Expanding the Definition of Meat

Brett Thompson founded Mzansi Meat Co., Africa’s first cultivated meat company, in the middle of lockdown, and the company became Newform Foods this summer after a rebrand and new strategy, redirecting its focus from being a consumer brand to offering meat cultivation technology. Here, Thompson explains that after spending time in the field of cellular agriculture, recently establishing a demonstration facility for cultivated meat products in Cape Town, he believes that we should alter the definition of meat, as cultivated products begin to enter mainstream consciousness and become part of our food system. Expanding the definition of meat By Brett Thompson After working in cultivated meat for four years, and over a decade in plant-based meat, my view on the definition of meat has drastically …

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Newform Foods partners with Project Assignments on a demonstration facility for cultivated animal products-

From left to right: Brett Thompson, co-founder and CEO of Newform Foods; Tasneem Karodia, co-founder and COO of Newform Foods; John Clayton, Managing Director at Project Assignments; and Gary Van Der Heyde, Operations Director at Project Assignments © Newform Foods

Company News

Newform Foods and Project Assignments Partner to Install Demo Facility for Cultivated Meat Products in Cape Town

South African companies, the biotech Newform Foods (previously Mzansi Meat) and the engineering giants Project Assignments have partnered to install a demonstration facility for cultivated meat products in Cape Town. According to the biotech’s announcement, it will be the largest of its kind in Africa, serving as a demonstration platform for Newform Food’s cutting-edge biotechnology at scale. The company, which claims to have a pioneering production model, aims to expand its business model by offering meat manufacturers, cultivated meat producers, and retailers, end-to-end solutions for developing cultivated meat in their existing facilities. The services will include tailored solutions such as media development, cell lines of interest, prototype development, and scaling (bioreactor plans). Collaborating with Project Assignments, Newform Foods will provide future customers with a platform for easy …

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B-well's original mayo product on a table surrounded by food dishes

© B-well

Egg Alternatives

B-well Offers Egg-Free Alternatives Amidst South Africa’s Bird Flu Epidemic

South Africa’s leader in vegan-friendly condiments, B-well, offers a range of egg-free products, including mayonnaise, dips, and spreads, made with local and GMO-free canola oil. In a country facing its third bird flu epidemic — causing egg prices to rise again (more than 60 outbreaks, according to AP News) and disrupting its egg supply chain — B-well promotes its healthy alternatives while guaranteeing its customers a stable supply. B-well has established itself as a premium brand offering consumers a variety of superior canola oils and healthy oil-based products. Cholesterol-free, low in saturated fats, and high in omega-3, B-well’s canola oil has received the Cancer Association of South Africa’s Smart Choice Seal.  Egg-free and healthy condiments Leveraging the benefits of canola, the condiment company has developed a …

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Newform Foods partners with the Plenty Foundation

© Newform Foods

Cultivated Meat

Newform Foods Launches the Plenty Foundation to Fight Food Insecurity With Cultivated Protein

South Africa’s Newform Foods (previously Mzansi Meat) has launched the Plenty Foundation, a nonprofit aiming to address food insecurity and malnutrition in Africa through biotechnology. While plant-based proteins will be an important part of this strategy, the Foundation will also work with Newform Foods to enhance the taste and nutrition of plant-based foods with cultivated proteins. As part of its overall strategy to reduce undernourishment rates, the Plenty Foundation will combine philanthropy, commercial R&D, and market partnerships. Currently, the organization is pursuing its first funding round, while also aiming to form partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders. “The Plenty Foundation is more than just another not-for-profit; it’s a movement aimed at revolutionizing how we think about food and nutrition in Africa,” said founder Arturo …

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ProVeg NFH Nigeria

Image courtesy ProVeg International

Society

Tapping into Nigeria’s Plant-Based Food Market

With a rich food heritage, developing economy, growing bank of F&B innovators, and impressive population growth, Nigeria is one to watch as our world strives to transform the food system. Though ripe with potential, the African country’s market for plant-based foods has only started to take off recently, with first-mover VeggieVictory securing the spot as Nigeria’s earliest plant-based restaurant and brand. In its latest New Food Hub interview, NGO ProVeg International caught up with the Founder of VeggieVictory, Hakeem Jimo (also the new director of ProVeg Nigeria), to learn more about the African country’s food industry. An entrepreneur of many talents, Hakeem shared valuable lessons and insights into unlocking Nigeria’s plant-based food industry. Let the food do the talking “It was a bit crazy,” Hakeem …

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Fry's burger

©Fry's

Politics & Law

South Africa: Government’s Seizure of Meat Alternatives Halted Indefinitely

The South African government’s planned seizure of meat alternatives has been halted for an indefinite period, following a victory in court for the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA). The government’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) initially announced its intention to seize the products last year, saying that plant-based foods should not be allowed to use names intended for processed meat products (such as “sausage” or “burger”). But the CGCSA argued in court that there were no names legally reserved for processed meats, and no regulations for how meat alternatives could be labeled. As a result, it described the seizure as unlawful and a “significant overreach”. The Council previously secured a temporary victory at the Johannesburg High Court last year, …

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Tennyson Williams, Regional Director at WAP

Image credit: World Animal Protection FB

Fairs & Events

Africa: Campaigners Urge Governments to Promote Plant-Based Proteins to Mitigate Climate Crisis

At the 2nd Africa Protein Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya, last week, campaigners urged governments to promote plant-based proteins arguing that the growing demand for meat is fueling the climate crisis. The summit, organized by the international animal welfare organization World Animal Protection (WAP), was launched to raise awareness of the potential of plant-based diets to mitigate climate change — additionally, the summit called for implementing livestock farming practices at a lower scale to reach animal welfare standards. According to Tennyson Williams, the director for Africa at WAP, large-scale animal operations produce more GHG emissions, deforestation, and biodiversity loss, fueling the climate crisis. “Climate change is one of the worlds’s biggest threats and intensive animal farming is one of the biggest contributors to climate change,” he …

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On The Green Side clean label chicken alternatives

© On The Green Side

Meat- and Fish Alternatives

On The Green Side: Clean-Label Chicken Alternatives From South Africa

On The Green Side is a South African plant-based meat producer focused on clean-label chicken alternatives. The company describes itself as a “modern chicken farmer”, aiming to directly compete with conventional chicken. Its products are made from a range of proteins, including soy, wheat gluten, faba bean, lentil, chickpea, and pea. Proprietary high moisture extrusion technology is used to give the plant-based chicken an authentically meat-like texture. On The Green Side already manufacturers for several major South African retailers, through both its own brand and private labels. The products are also available for food service, and the company is in the process of closing deals with global food manufacturers. Sales forecasts for 2023 predict a 50/50 split between local and global markets, changing to 10/90 …

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FAO soybean project funded by Japan launched in Ghana

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Agriculture / Agribusiness

FAO Initiative Aims to Unlock the Potential of the Ghanaian Soybean Industry

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently launched a project in Ghana to help farmers increase their soybean production, improve their post-harvest technologies, and develop land.  The initiative, funded by the Government of Japan, will receive US$600,000 to strengthen the legume’s entire value chain and address the country’s food and nutrition security challenges. The project is part of One Country, One Priority Product (OCOP), an FAO initiative to help African countries develop sustainable and environmentally friendly value chains for specific agricultural products. Dr. Yurdi Yasmi, regional representative of the FAO in Ghana, said that alongside the project, the FAO would raise awareness of the consumption of soybeans and their potential to reduce malnutrition, as reported by The B&FT Online.  “I appreciate the …

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Soy-based vegan ice cream launched by Dairyland

© Dairyland

Sweets & Snacks

The Dairy-Free Dream: Dairyland Launches Vegan Ice Cream in Kenya

Dairy products company Dairyland, which claims to be Kenya’s ice cream leader for over 25 years, has recently launched a new range of vegan ice cream.   To celebrate the new product, Dairyland launched a campaign called The Dairy-Free Dream, inviting those with lactose intolerance to finally indulge in the treat of their dreams. Soy-based, the new vegan ice cream range includes five flavors: vanilla, strawberry, cappuccino, brownie, and hazelnut. This initiative allows Dairyland to meet the evolving needs of consumers, especially dietary needs and values, while aligning the company with the global shift towards health, wellness, and environmental awareness, reported the local media outlet Pulse Live. “Our Vegan Ice Cream is a game-changer for individuals who are lactose intolerant. They can now indulge in their favorite frozen …

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ProVeg international opens new office in Nigeria to promote the benefits of plant-based diets

© ProVeg International

Startups, Accelerators & Incubators

ProVeg Kickstarts the Plant-Based Revolution in Nigeria

Global food awareness organization ProVeg International announces the launch of its first office in Nigeria to help transform the food system in the world’s third fastest-growing country by population. As a new food awareness organization in the country, ProVeg Nigeria will promote the benefits of healthy and climate-friendly diets by showcasing the deliciousness of plant-based foods, joining the global team on its campaign to replace animal consumption with alternative protein by 50% by 2040. In 2021, ProVeg launched the ProVeg Africa Accelerator planting the seeds of the plant-based movement across the continent.  Hakeem Jimo, the new country director of ProVeg Nigeria, said: “I’m truly thrilled about the opening of the ProVeg Nigeria office and the impact we will have in raising awareness about the need to …

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TPPS crowd shots

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Fairs & Events

Africa’s Premier Plant-Based Event ‘The Plant Powered Show’ Returns in May & August

Fast becoming one of the most successful food and lifestyle events on the South African exhibition calendar, The Plant Powered Show returns to Cape Town this May and is also set to take place in Johannesburg for the first time this August. The Plant Powered Show takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from Friday, May 26 to Sunday May 28, welcoming vegans and vegetarians as well as flexitarians, reducetarians, sports enthusiasts, and those looking for healthier and more ethical lifestyle choices for themselves and their families. The hugely successful inaugural Plant Powered Show (under the name The Festive Vegan & Plant Powered Show) took place online in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions and featured an extraordinary line-up …

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© Woolworths

Charity & Campaigns

The Impact of Veganuary on Retail & Food Service in South Africa

According to ProVeg South Africa, the local NGO partner for Veganuary, over 30, 000 South Africans have signed up for Veganuary since 2019. The organisation reports that approximately 38 new plant-based products were launched in South Africa this January, and numerous household names spanning food service and retail offered new plant-based products or specials nationwide throughout the month. Woolworth’s Woolworths recently launched its new PlantLove range, a wide range of vegan products ranging from ready meals to cheeses. Interesting to note is the terminology on some of the products following the uncertainty around restrictions on labelling of plant-based items in the country; for example, “Crumbed Soya Ocean Strips” for a fish finger type product. “We encourage our customers to make better food choices that are …

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