Insa Mohr, CEO of Mooji Meats

Insa Mohr, courtesy of Mooji Meats

Interviews

Mooji Meats: “As Ribeyes Are Arguably the Most Popular Yet Intricate Meats, We Chose Them as Our Flagship Product”

Mooji Meats, a Harvard spinoff that has developed a premium plant-based ribeye steak with the aim of bringing meat alternatives to fine dining, was founded in 2022 and quickly saw success after participating in the Y Combinator accelerator program. Previously utilizing a 3d printing methodology, the startup has now developed a more natural process whereby its proprietary platform replicates muscle structure with plant fibers, claiming to offer the firmest texture and most authentic mouthfeel available. The plant-based steak is described as juicy with real marbling and connective tissues that mimic animal meat when cut. We spoke with CEO and founder Insa Mohr, who explains that European consumers are more open than Americans to trying plant-based meats, and that, in many ways, Mooji “is bridging the …

more

CEO's Linda Obregon and Karina Zegarra of Peruvian Veef

Linda Obregon and Karina Zegarra © Peruvian Veef

Fundraising

Peruvian Veef Secures $320K in First Funding Round, Aims for Latin American Expansion

Peruvian Veef, a plant-based food startup in South America, has raised $320,000 in its first funding round, led by US-based venture capital investors. This round included contributions from Ahimsa Foundation and Sustainable Food Ventures, along with a non-dilutive government grant from ProInnovate Peru. Founded by Karina Zegarra, with a focus on affordable, locally-made plant-based meat alternatives, the company has developed a range of 11 products inspired by Latin American cuisine, including beef, chicken, cold-cuts, and traditional Peruvian dishes like anticucho and grilled chicken. According to the company, these products are competitively priced at less than half of some imported alternatives. The company has established a significant presence in the local market, with its products available in over 70 stores and leading sales at Peru’s specialty …

more

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

60% of US Consumers Open to Cultivated Chicken, Beef, & Pork Despite Taste and Health Doubts, Finds Survey

A Consumer Food Insights survey, used by Purdue University to track consumer perceptions of cultivated meat, has found that around 60% of consumers are willing to try cultivated beef, chicken, and pork in restaurants, while around 30% are unwilling. 1,200 of the consumers surveyed were presented with a list including familiar animals, such as chicken, cow, and pig, as well as several exotic creatures. They were asked to group the animals based on their willingness to try conventional and cultivated meat cuts in a professional restaurant setting, classifying them as either ‘willing to try’ or ‘not willing to try.’ Conventional vs cultivated From all the animals listed, consumers were shown to be more willing to eat the animal-derived meat than cultivated meat, even in the case of exotic animals. The most …

more

RollinGreens bowls

© RollinGreens

Products & Launches

Shark Tank’s RollinGreens Introduces Shelf-Stable Plant-Powered Meal Bowls

RollinGreens, a shelf-stable plant-based meat brand that found fame on the TV show Shark Tank, has announced the release of its latest product line, Plant-Powered Meal Bowls. These new meal solutions are designed to provide a convenient and nutritious option for those with busy lifestyles, combining high protein content with ease of preparation. Based in Boulder, RollinGreens was launched in 2020 and quickly gained prominence after the appearance on Shark Tank, resulting in a significant increase in sales. The brand has since expanded its offerings to include various shelf-stable plant-based products, such as vegan chorizo and CHIC’KEN, along with its flagship M’EAT line. The company now offers products in over 4,500 stores across the United States. The new Plant-Powered Meal Bowls are available in four …

more

Plantbased Business Hour

Why Institutional and Philanthropic Investors Are Focusing on Food – the Milken Institute on the Plant Based Business Hour

Caitlin MacLean, Senior Director of Innovative Finance at the Milken Institute, and Holly Freishtat, Senior Director at Feeding Change, join Elysabeth Alfano on The Plantbased Business Hour to discuss blended capital and why institutional and philanthropic investors are using this approach to focus on food. Specifically, they discuss: What is the Milken Institute’s Feeding Change initiative? What does it aim to accomplish? Holly, what were your takeaways from COP28, and have you seen this play out in the finance community thus far? Is investing in food systems transformation considered innovative finance? If so, why? When do we think Wall Street capital, a major component of blended capital, will come into play? How will this transpire? No one knows the future, but if we had to …

more

Oobli and Grupo Bimbo have partnered to incorporate sweet proteins into baked goods.

© Oobli

Fermentation

Oobli’s Microbial Proteins to Sweeten Bimbo’s Baked Goods in a “Completely New Way”

California’s Oobli has partnered with Grupo Bimbo, a Mexican multinational food company touted as the largest bakery company in the United States and with a presence in 33+ countries, to introduce into baked goods its ultra-sweet proteins made with precision fermentation. This collaboration marks Oobli’s first global CPG partnership and Grupo Bimbo’s first time testing sweet proteins in products. Bimbo owns Oroweat, New York Bakery Co., and Entenmann’s, among other brands.  Oobli’s novel microbial proteins, which recently achieved GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status, are described as natural sweeteners that, unlike traditional sugar, do not lead to diabetes, obesity, or sugar cravings because they are digested as protein rather than carbohydrates.  Ali Wing, CEO of Oobli, commented, “Sweet proteins have the potential to revolutionize sweetness and are a completely new way to think about how we …

more

Iowa state flag

© rarrarorro - stock.adobe.com

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Iowa Implements “Meat Integrity Bill” for Cultivated & Plant-Based Meats, Becomes 3rd State to Enforce Restrictions

Iowa has become the third state to pass legislation regulating the labeling of lab-grown meat and alternative meat products. Governor Kim Reynolds recently signed into law Bill SF 2391, known as the “Iowa Meat Integrity Bill,” which mandates specific labeling requirements for lab-grown and plant-based imitation meat and egg products sold in the state.  Effective July 1, products that include lab-grown meat and plant-based meat alternatives will need to be labeled with terms such as “fake,” “lab-grown,” “meatless,” “imitation,” or “vegan.” This legislation follows similar measures taken by Florida and Alabama, which have implemented total bans on cultivated meat earlier this month.  The new law aims to prevent consumers from being misled by products that resemble traditional meat or egg products but are derived from …

more

Mind Blown X PLNT Burger crabby burger

© Plant Based Seafood Co.

Fast Food

PLNT Burger Reintroduces Mind Blown Plant-Based Crab Cake Sandwich at All Locations

Mind Blown by The Plant Based Seafood Co. and PLNT Burger have announced the introduction of ‘The Happy Crabby’ Sandwich ahead of World Ocean Month, bringing the plant-based crab cake back to PLNT Burger menus following its limited-time success last year in the DMV area. Starting today, the ‘Happy Crabby’ Sandwich will be available at all PLNT Burger locations across New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The sandwich features Mind Blown’s Maryland-Style Plant-Based Crab Cakes, which offer 11 grams of protein and contain a blend of wheat protein, pea protein, natural vegan crab flavor, and spices, with the aim of replicating the taste and texture of traditional crab cakes.  Jonah Goldman, co-founder and CMO of PLNT Burger described the new sandwich: “We …

more

© Sweegen

Ingredients

Sweegen Develops Sugar Alternatives Made With Novel Sweet Protein Technology

US-based natural sweetener company Sweegen has used novel sweet protein technology to produce sugar alternatives claimed to have better properties than regular sweeteners. The company’s Sweetensify Flavors range is made with brazzein, a protein sourced from the West African oubli fruit. Brazzein is calorie-free, 500-2000 times sweeter than sugar, and has excellent heat stability. Most importantly, the protein’s taste is not “one-dimensional” like many artificial sweeteners; instead, it can expand and intensify other tastes such as umami, as it hits a different taste receptor than ordinary sweeteners. Furthermore, since brazzein is synthesized as a protein by the body, it does not affect blood sugar levels. Sweetensify products combine brazzein with other unique sweet proteins such as thaumatin II, helping to reduce the sugar content of …

more

Tofurky NRA slices

© Tofurky

Fairs & Events

Tofurky to Debut Vegan Deli Slices That “Emulate Whole Muscle Cuts of Animal-Based Meats” at NRA

Tofurky, a leading US manufacturer of plant-based meats since 1980, which was acquired by Morinaga Nutritional Foods last year, is set to unveil new products at the upcoming NRA show in Chicago. The NPDs to be showcased at the event entail a line of ‘Next Gen Plant-Based Deli Slices’ as well as Plant-Based Hot Dogs, both for foodservice customers. “Nearly half of all restaurants in the US now offer plant-based options on their menus, and [in] the past decade we’ve seen a 62% increase in plant-based menu items, according to Datassentials,” explains Jaime Athos, president and CEO of Tofurky. The hot dogs While the Oregon-headquartered brand produces several vegan sausages, most recently in Chorizo and Mango Chipotle flavors, this marks its first hot dog product …

more

VWS Sugar Taco

© Vegan Women Summit

Fairs & Events

Empowering Women in Veganism: Inside the Vegan Women Summit 2024

The Vegan Women Summit 2024 took place at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, California, on May 9 and 10, drawing nearly 1,000 attendees from six continents. With over 100 speakers and brands, the summit celebrated the contributions of women in the vegan industry, including the fields of food, fashion, beauty, and sustainability.  The summit began with a pre-party gala where celebrities such as Moby, Red Foo, Nika King, Sharon Carpenter, and Aubrey K. Miller were in attendance on the red carpet. Founder Jennifer (Jenny) Stojkovic welcomed the over 300 guests to the summit, where guests had the opportunity to sample Climax Foods blue and brie cheeses, along with catering by Ma-Kin Sushi, 2foods USA, and La Crepe Du Jardin. Keynote speech by Ethan …

more

Waring, a trusted source for high-performance kitchen appliances for more than 85 years, today announces the introduction of the Planit POD Fermentation System

© Waring

Manufacturing & Technology

This Planit POD Fermentation System, Called the “Ultimate Industry solution”, Creates Vegan Analogs On-Site in 24 Hours 

Waring (previously Waring Commercial), a renowned US kitchen appliance brand with over 85 years in business, has partnered with the Californian company Planit Protein to introduce the Planit POD Fermentation System: a fermentation chamber appliance that comes with plant protein blends and organic cultures. Developed by Waring and described as the ultimate industry solution, the innovative Planit POD ferments and pasteurizes traditional vegan proteins, such as tempeh, meat analogs, or koji (up to 8lbs) on-site in just 24 hours, providing chefs with fresh fermented menu items made with clean ingredients.  To make fermenting simple, convenient, and profitable, the system uses Planit Protein’s shelf-stable, soy-free plant blends and proprietary organic culture produced at scale in the US by Sylvan Bio. Waring General Manager and Senior Vice President …

more

Plantbased Business Hour

What Is Stakeholder Engagement and is it Important for Food Systems Shift?

Chief Investment Officer of VegTech Invest, Dr. Sasha Goodman, discusses the firm’s recent white paper, in conjunction with Harvard University students, on Stakeholder Engagement for Plant-based Innovation & Diversified Proteins. Along with host of The Plantbased Business Hour, Elysabeth Alfano, the two discuss the top 5 findings of the white paper and the impact on the diversified proteins sector. Specifically, they discussed What is the new white paper between VegTech™ Invest and Harvard’s Great Food Systems Transformation Course students? What prompted the White Paper on Best Practices for Stakeholder Engagement for Plant-based Innovation and Protein Diversification? Why is Stakeholder Engagement in Plant-based Innovation and Protein Diversification important? Of the 6 case studies in the paper, is there one that particularly stands out for you? What …

more

© Good Eating Company

Food Service

Good Eating Company Slashes Emissions, Offering Oat Milk by Default at Many Foodservice Locations

Good Eating Company US, a foodservice provider for corporate and academic settings, has partnered with Greener by Default to reduce its environmental impact by offering more plant-based options. One significant change made as part of the partnership is to offer oat milk as the default option at some outlets. This has decreased cow’s milk consumption from 70% to 18% at one site, halving the carbon footprint of the client’s dairy purchases. At another site, plant-based milk now makes up 60% of total milk purchases. Meanwhile, a university coffee shop saw a 32% reduction in dairy use after defaulting to oat milk, reducing carbon emissions and land and water use by 25%. Through this strategy, Good Eating Company aims to normalize low-carbon choices while being more …

more

Canadian plant-based seafood startup Save Da Sea has secured CAD 650,000 in a seed II financing round to accelerate its US expansion and hire additional team members in Victoria.

© Save da Sea

Investments & Finance

Save Da Sea Secures Funds for Expansion, Proving that “Profit with Purpose” is Possible

Canadian plant-based seafood startup Save Da Sea recently secured CAD 650,000 in a seed II financing round to accelerate the US expansion of its salmon and tuna alternatives and hire additional team members at its headquarters in Victoria. The startup made its US debut at Market of Choice, a retail chain with 11 locations throughout Oregon, last week, as reported by Betakit. Meanwhile, its US expansion plans include other listings following a strategy to concentrate on natural foods retailers in the Pacific Northwest. Last year, CEO and founder Aki Kaltenbach reported that the company’s revenue in the Canadian market had tripled year over year, encouraging a US launch of its fresh refrigerated smoked salmon and tuna products. The round was led by the Business Development Bank …

more

GOOD Meat in retail

© GOOD Meat

Cultivated Meat

GOOD Meat Annouces the World’s First Retail Sales of Cultivated Meat

US cultivated meat company GOOD Meat announces the retail launch of a new product, GOOD Meat 3, at the frozen section of the premium meats specialist Huber’s Butchery in Singapore.  GOOD Meat has been producing and selling its chicken in the city-state, by releasing limited quantities in fine dining establishments, food delivery apps, hawker stalls, and the Bistro of Huber’s Butchery (throughout 2023). However, for the first time since its approval three and a half years ago, cultivated meat will be available for customers to buy and cook at home. GOOD Meat 3 is said to be a lower-cost formulation using just 3% cultivated chicken that offers the same “delicious” taste, texture, and experience as conventional chicken. It will be available for the remainder of …

more

flower-burger-online-ordering

©Flower Burger

Market & Trends

E-Commerce Outpaces Retail in Plant-Based Food Sales, Reaching $394M in 2023, Reveals State of the Marketplace Report

The latest State of the Marketplace report by the Plant Based Foods Association unveils new data on e-commerce sales and highlights emerging trends in foodservice, alongside retail and consumer insights. The report includes perspectives from key industry leaders at Sodexo, Whole Foods Market, and Earth Fare, discussing their strategies for expanding their plant-based food offerings, which serve as a key resource for informing stakeholders in the plant-based food industry. Sales growth across platforms The report reveals a substantial increase in e-commerce sales of plant-based foods, which reached $394 million in 2023, a growth of 16.4% over three years. This trend is significant compared to the slower growth rates in traditional retail, where plant-based food sales accumulated to $8.1 billion. Despite economic hurdles, the segment has …

more

School cafeteria meal

© Africa Studio - stock.adobe.com

Politics & Law

How Public Procurement Policies Could Make the Food System More Sustainable & Humane

The Coller Foundation’s Coller Animal Law Forum (CALF) has collaborated with the Humane League to publish a factsheet outlining how public procurement policies could steer the food system away from intensive animal agriculture. Public procurement involves the purchasing of goods or services for a local government or agency, usually through a bidding process. The successful vendor enters into a contractual agreement with the public administration, which has to follow public procurement rules and guidelines. These guidelines could be used to stimulate the supply of more humane and sustainable foods, reducing reliance on animal products. Since public institutions such as schools, hospitals, and prisons account for a significant share of demand, this could impact the entire food system. Currently, sustainable and humane standards are uncommon in …

more

Healthy eating. Plate with vegan or vegetarian food. Healthy plant based diet. Healthy dinner. Buddha bowl with fresh vegetables.

Image courtesy of Alzchem Group

Market & Trends

Griffith Foods’ 2024 Report Predicts Veg-Forward Revolution in North American Retail & Foodservice

Griffith Foods has released its 2024 Food & Flavor Outlook, showcasing the continued rise of vegetables and plant-based foods across North American grocery stores and restaurants. The report reveals significant consumer preferences and trends shaping the food industry, reinforcing the importance of health and sustainability in food choices. In 2024, vegetables are expected to dominate the culinary spotlight, especially in foodservice. Chefs are exploring back-to-basics approaches, utilizing whole, recognizable ingredients in novel ways that cater to the preferences of flexitarian consumers. The retail sector is responding with an array of veg-forward products, including convenience meals and frozen items, making it easier for consumers to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables.  Prioritizing fruits and vegetables In the findings, a notable 62% of Mexican consumers expressed …

more

Lactalis Canada launches plant-based brand 'Enjoy'

© Lactalis Canada

Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

The World’s Leading Dairy Company Launches a Plant-Based Brand Called ‘Enjoy!’

Lactalis Canada, a subsidiary of Lactalis Group — the world’s leading dairy company, headquartered in Laval, France — has launched a plant-based brand called Enjoy!. Lactalis Canada is known for household names in dairy including Cracker Barrel, Black Diamond, Balderson, Astro, and Lactantia. The brand is already on the Canadian market and has debuted with a line of high protein, unsweetened, plant-based beverages, featuring six SKUs: Unsweetened Oat, Unsweetened Oat Vanilla, Unsweetened Almond, Unsweetened Almond Vanilla, Unsweetened Hazelnut, and Unsweetened Hazelnut & Oat. The brand’s new website states that the drinks are certified non-GMO, with paper-based packaging certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and that the products offer 8 grams of pea protein per 250 mL. ESG goals With meat and dairy representing one …

more