© 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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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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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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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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TPPS crowd shots

© TPPS

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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Fry's sausage

©Fry's

Politics & Law

Temporary Victory in South Africa Where Seizure of Plant-Based Foods Has Been Halted

Plant-based advocates in South Africa are celebrating a temporary victory after succeeding at the Johannesburg High Court on Saturday in halting thousands of product seizures scheduled to take place today, 22nd August. The Food Safety Agency (FSA) was set to begin the seizure of thousands of plant-based meat alternatives from retailers across the country for using terms such as “burger”, “nugget”, and “sausage”, in a now familiar battle that plant-based industry has been winning in various markets. To name recent examples, the French decree on labelling was suspended just three weeks ago down to insufficient legality, and famously, Amendment 171 actioned by the dairy lobby was rejected by the EU parliament last May. Saturday’s ruling prohibits the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development …

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Just Egg

© Eat Just

Politics & Law

South Africa Bans Meat-Like Terms on Vegan Products, Threatens to Seize JUST Egg From Woolworths

South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) has banned the use of meat-like terms on plant-based product labels. Shockingly, in the same vein, JUST Egg products may be seized from Woolworths stores in the country. According to DALRRD, names such as “nuggets”, “vegetarian sausages”, “ribs”, and “chicken-style” are “prescribed and reserved for processed meat products” and must not be used by plant-based producers. The Food Safety Agency has been instructed to seize any plant-based products using these terms. JUST Egg has also come under fire from DALRDD, with major retailer Woolworths ordered to stop selling the product as eggs. The supermarket has been told that all JUST Egg products will be seized if it does not comply. The measure flies in …

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Mogale Meat Co_ first cultivated chicken in Africa

©Mogale Meat Co

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Mogale Meat Unveils Africa’s First Cultivated Chicken Breast

South Africa’s Mogale Meat reports to vegconomist that On March 30th, the company produced what it says is the first cultivated chicken not only in South Africa, but in all of the African continent. The chicken breast is composed of real chicken muscle and fat cells blended with what it refers to as a “mushroom matrix”. This is the first prototype to be showcased by the company and a signature wildlife meat product is set to be revealed later in 2022. Mogale announced in November last year that it was on track to make cultivated meat accessible to Africans as a solution to serious food security issues, with Africa’s population projected to double over the course of the next three decades. This week’s development, according …

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Lexi’s Healthy Eatery

©Lexi’s Healthy Eatery

Gastronomy & Food Service

Africa’s Leading QSR Franchisor Famous Brands Acquires Plant-Based Chain Lexi’s Healthy Eatery

Famous Brands, Africa’s leading QSR and casual dining franchisor, has announced the acquisition of Lexi’s Healthy Eatery. Taking a majority stake in the South African plant-based restaurant chain, Famous Brands is making its first foray into the vegan dining market.  The owner of international fast-food chains Steers and Debonairs Pizza, Johannesburg-based Famous Brands aims to make Lexi’s Healthy Eatery a leader in its category. Lexi’s was founded in 2018 by chef Lexi Monzeglio and currently has four restaurants, operating a “mostly plant-based, healthy” menu and a developing frozen retail range.   The acquisition is aligned with Famous Brands’ three-year strategic roadmap, which includes acquiring brands that offer growth prospects based on opportunities, namely in this case, the growth of plant-based food and vegan eating in the …

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Herbivore Earthfoods mac cheese

©Herbivore Earthfoods

Investments & Finance

South Africa’s Largest Food Company Tiger Brands Invests in Herbivore Earthfoods

Tiger Brands, South Africa’s largest food company, is to co-invest in plant-based food company Herbivore Earthfoods, marking the major food producer’s first foray into the fast-growing alt protein sector as demand for plant-based in South Africa continues to rise. Herbivore Earthfoods produces a vast range of alt dairy and alt meat products such as dairy-free cheeses and cakes, vegan mayo and milk drinks, as well as pea protein burger patties sausages.  Tiger Brands’ investment in Cape Town-based Herbivore comes through the group’s recently launched venture capital fund, together with co-investor Secha Capital, taking a minority shareholding in the plant-based business. Plant-based in South Africa Tiger Brands, like so many major food companies in the world, is looking to tap into emerging consumer trends in health, …

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Africa's First Cultivated Meat Burger

©Mzansi Meat

Cultivated Meat

Mzansi Meat to Unveil “Africa’s First Cultivated Meat Burger”

South African company Mzansi Meat is set to showcase what it claims is Africa’s first cultivated meat burger. The product will be revealed at a bespoke event in Cape Town next month. To produce Mzansi’s burgers, cells are extracted from cows by a veterinarian and taken to the company’s lab. There, they are grown in bioreactors, replicating the process that would normally take place in a cow’s body. Finally, the burgers are seasoned to make them ready to cook. Future plans Currently, Mzansi’s burgers are more expensive to produce than conventional meat, but the company told vegconomist in 2020 that it was confident of achieving price parity in some areas within a decade or less. In the coming years, Mzansi plans to open a pilot …

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Upton's BLT

©Upton's Naturals

Products & Launches

Upton’s Naturals Arrives in South Africa With Plant-Based Bacon And Chorizo

US-based plant-based meat pioneer Upton’s Naturals, best-known for introducing the first seasoned seitan and kick-starting the jackfruit food trend, just announced a cooperation with Africa’s premier go-to-market platform Infinite Foods to join its plant-based foods offering with three of its products. Infinite Foods is the to-go partner for the South African market with over 1,300 retail and foodservice outlets across South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana and Kenya. Founded in 2018, Infinite Foods is committed to “creating more opportunities for the plant-based industry to grow in Sub Saharan Africa.” Among Infinite Foods portfolio are key players of the plant-based industry, including Beyond Meat, Oatly, and GOOD CATCH.  Most recently, the South African company teamed up with Eat Just, Inc, maker of the best-selling plant-based egg substitute JUST …

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Rudy's Selfridges

©Rudy's Vegan

Studies & Numbers

Top 10 Most Vegan-Friendly and Future-Ready Cities Revealed

Abillion, the world’s fastest-growing platform for reviewing plant-based food and products, just released a report determining the 10 best cities in the world for conscious citizens. These cities are said to particularly attract young people in the future, with plant-based nutrition playing a major role. For its new report, the platform has assessed global cities based on how much they have embraced plant-based lifestyles, their commitment to green policies, as well as greenhouse gas emissions and waste. According to abillion, these factors are indicators of where people want to live, especially for the very mobile Generation Z and Millennials who place personal well-being as highly as professional success. For these generations, ethics, commitments to causes, diversity and inclusion, and especially sustainable options, are part of …

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Mogale Meat

©Mogale Meat

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

South Africa’s Mogale Meat on Track to Make Cultivated Meat “Accessible to All” in Africa

South-African cellular food-tech company Mogale Meat is working on solutions to face Africa’s food security issues and aims to make a significant contribution to feeding the next billion people with meat created from the cells of free-roaming antelope and cattle. Launched in 2020, Mogale Meat has two US-based global venture capitalists on board with Sustainable Food Ventures, founded by Ryan Bethencourt, and CULT Food Science. Mogale Meat joins the South African food-tech pioneer Mzansi Meat in targeting the African market with cultivated meat. Speaking to vegconomist, Mzansi Meat’s CEO Brett Thompson emphasized the great benefits of African biodiversity to produce cultivated meat, commenting: “We are so fortunate in Africa to have so many domestic and wildlife species to choose from and linking that to the …

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