Chunk Foods launches at Jaja Mexicana

© Chunk Foods

Food Service

Tacos & Chimichangas Filled with Chunk Foods’ Famous Vegan Steak Arrive on Menus at NYC Chain Jajaja Mexicana

New York-based vegan whole-cut pioneer Chunk Foods announces it has partnered with the NYC chain Jajaja Mexicana to bring tacos and chimichangas featuring Chunk Steak to all four Jajaja locations in NYC, in Lower East Side, West Village, Hudson Yards, and Williamsburg. Last year, the addition of Chunk Steak to menus at high-end steakhouses was successful to the degree that Charley’s Steak House ordered 100,000 units of Chunk Food’s plant-based steak, confident of its superior quality. “We are reshaping the steakhouse experience and catering to the expanding tastes and preferences of today’s consumers,” said Seth Miller, VP and CEO of restaurant group Talk of the Town at the time. Later that year, Talk of the Town group would go on to add Chunk Steak to …

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fermentation

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Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Report Identifies 5 Disruptive Technologies to Shake Up Fermentation Industry

Following a comprehensive review of the fermentation sector, Lever VC, a leading venture capital firm specializing in alternative protein investments, announces the release of its latest report highlighting the top technologies that could advance the production of fermented food and ingredients. Lever VC argues that despite notable advancements in CRISPR gene editing, AI and machine learning for bioinformatics systems, and high-throughput screening technologies, challenges remain in scaling up biological processes and lowering expenses to reach price parity with animal products. The new report pinpoints five cutting-edge technologies that offer potential solutions to overcome existing barriers to transform the growing biomass and precision fermentation industries: 1. Organism strain development with potential to increase productivity 10X Different methods, such as artificial intelligence/machine learning-trained algorithms or trial-and-error approaches, promise …

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MET Gala Neat Burger x Stockeld Dreamery x TiNDLE

© Neat Burger x Stockeld Dreamery x TiNDLE

Celebrities

Met Gala 2024 Showcases Plant-Based Dishes Featuring Impossible Foods, Neat, and Stockeld Dreamery

The 2024 Met Gala, held on Monday in New York City at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, continued its tradition of blending high fashion with high cuisine under the theme “Sleeping Beauty: Reawakening Fashion.” This year, the event’s menu was designed by caterer Olivier Cheng, who aimed to create a selection of dishes that echoed the enchanting and romantic elements of a classic children’s storybook. While the gala’s dinner menu featured an omnivorous section of dishes, the spotlight on plant-based offerings shone brightest at the afterparty held at Casa Cipriani. Here, attendees were treated to plant-based selections from Neat (previously Neat Burger), which included cheeseburgers featuring Stockeld Dreamery’s Cultured Cheddar, and TiNDLE Chick’n burgers and fingers.  Notable attendees The afterparty, which continued until the early …

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Fast Food

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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Image courtesy of Stockeld Dreamery

Products & Launches

Stockeld Dreamery Unveils MELT: Next Generation, Ultra Meltable, Cultured Plant-Based Cheddar Slices

After four years of extensive R&D, Stockeld Dreamery, a Swedish plant-based dairy company, announces the release of its latest development in New York City: MELT, cultured plant-based cheddar slices. MELT slices are made with traditional cheese fermentation and protein-rich pea milk. They are said to have a unique taste and texture, boasting a great cheddar flavor.  They contain 2g of plant protein per serving, which, according to Stockeld Dreamery, is higher than similar products in the market. In addition, they are free from allergens such as dairy, soy, and nuts. Melting twice as fast As explained by Sorosh Tavakoli, CEO and co-founder of the company, one of the exceptional features of its cheddar slices is their incredible melting properties. The slices melt twice as quickly as most top-selling …

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NFL players invest in robot-powered meat-free restaurant

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Investments & Acquisitions

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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Chunk Foods 6oz plant-based steak

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Investments & Acquisitions

Chunk Foods Secures $7.5M Amid Strategic Collab with Better Balance for Vegan Whole Cuts

Better Balance, a plant-based subsidiary of Mexico-based multinational food processing company Sigma Alimentos, one of Latin America’s largest meat and dairy producers, announces a strategic partnership with New York-headquartered startup Chunk Foods to develop co-branded plant-based whole cuts for the Latin American market. The strategic collaboration follows a $7.5 million seed extension for Chunk Foods led by Cheyenne Ventures, which the startup says reflects “ongoing investor confidence” in its vision as well as the potential of plant-based whole cuts. The extension brings the seed round to a total raise of $22M, making it one of the largest seed rounds in the alt protein category, according to the company. Through the alliance, Chunk is set to develop a new line of co-branded plant-based whole-cut meats, marking …

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Prime Roots

© Prime Roots

Food Service

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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Veganuary billboard times square

© Veganuary

Food Service

New York City Spearheads Veganuary 2024 in the US With Plant-Powered Menus

In celebration of Veganuary 2024, New York City is leading the charge in the USA, with restaurants across the city offering plant-based specials throughout the month, following a PSA kickoff in Times Square on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Veganuary’s journey in the US began with an advertising campaign in the Boston subway in December of 2017, following a successful campaign in the London Underground the year prior. The initiative has since witnessed a significant rise in popularity. Growing interest in Veganuary By 2022, the US had the highest number of participants among over 200 participating countries, according to Veganuary’s reports. This growing interest is mirrored in the latest YouGov study commissioned by Veganuary, revealing that 71% of US adults are aiming to …

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Plantega sub promo

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Delivery Services

Plantega’s $5 Vegan Subs: Showcasing Top Plant-Based Brands in NYC

Plantega, known for its innovative plant-based deli-in-store concept, is launching a special promotion for $5 Vegan Subs, available exclusively for online delivery through DoorDash in New York City. This campaign, reminiscent of Subway’s renowned $5 Footlong promotion, features six unique plant-based subs aimed at making plant-based foods more accessible and showcasing the ingredients from top plant-based brands. The $5 Vegan Sub menu features six options: the Wicked Meatball Sub, Chicken Tender Sub, Philly Meatball Sub, Ham & Cheese Sub, BBQ Meatball Sub, and Turkey & Cheese Sub. These sandwiches are crafted using ingredients from leading US plant-based companies such as Pleese Cheese, Prime Roots, WayFare Foods, and Fabalish. Plantega operates in over 50 bodegas across New York City, offering a unique deli-in-store model that provides …

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Mush Foods Grow NYC

Image credit Shalom Daniel on LinkedIn

Company News

Mycelium Producer Mush Foods Receives $250,000 in Grow-NY Food and Agriculture Business Competition

Israeli-based food tech company Mush Foods has been awarded $250,000 in the Grow-NY Food and Agriculture Business Competition. The prize money will support the company’s mission to cut global meat consumption in half by providing alternative meat ingredients made from mycelium.  The Grow-NY competition, funded by Empire State Development and administered by Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement, serves as a platform for innovation and technology in the food, beverage, and agriculture sectors. The event featured twenty global finalists presenting their business plans at the summit, and a total of $3 million in prize money was distributed among seven startups, including Mush Foods, based on judging criteria included the viability of the startup’s business model, customer value, diversity, and agri-food innovation. Mycelium grown through …

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A close up of Daniel Bregman

Image provided

People

Former Impossible Foods Senior Counsel Joins Synonym to Drive the Biomanufacturing Revolution

US biomanufacturing platform Synonym announces the appointment of Daniel Bregman as its new General Counsel and Head of Development in yet another recruitment of a former Impossible Foods expert. Synonym explains that Bregman, former Senior Product Commercial Counsel at Impossible Foods, led important initiatives and gained valuable experience scaling clean technology startups. Previously, he held senior positions at the vertical farming startup Plenty and Cypress Creek Renewables, where he was involved in numerous clean energy projects.  As head of development, Bregman will drive Synonyms’s pre-development projects and focus on the successful growth and expansion of the company’s development engine. He will also work to speed up facility development cycles. “I’m excited to dive headfirst into helping Synonym identify, purchase, and build its first infrastructure sites, and …

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Oshi salmon-inspired fillet

© Oshi

Food Service

Oshi Salmon-Inspired Fillets Make Debut in NYC’s Coletta Restaurant

Israeli startup Oshi announces that its flagship product, Oshi Salmon-Inspired Fillets, will debut at Coletta, an upscale vegan Italian restaurant located in New York City, starting this week. This marks a significant moment for the company as it enters the American foodservice market with its first offering. The fillet will be served for a limited time, and the menu offering includes “Seared Balsamic “Salmon” with velvety “parmesan” & chive polenta paired with roasted broccoli infused with thyme and a touch of zesty lemon.” Formerly known as Plantish, the company underwent a rebrand earlier this year in preparation for its entry into the US market. According to Ofek Ron, CEO of Oshi, the rebrand aimed to encapsulate the company’s mission and its commitment to environmental stewardship …

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Culiraw vegan cheesecake

© Culiraw

Products & Launches

New York-Based Culiraw Introduces Vegan Cheesecake Line Made from Raw Cashews

Culiraw, a New York-based vegan dessert maker, has unveiled a line of seven raw vegan cheesecakes, presenting a healthy and flavorful alternative to traditional cheesecakes. The company’s vegan cheesecakes are crafted utilizing premium, whole, plant-based ingredients to deliver a “guilt-free” dessert experience. Raw cashews serve as the base for Culiraw’s cheesecakes, complemented by natural sweeteners such as dates, agave, and maple syrup. Silvia Vidova, the founder of Culiraw, told vegconomist, “I can never say no to a dessert. But only when I started to care more about nutrition and wellbeing I realized that eating conventional desserts often is not a way to go.” These plant-based creations come in seven flavors: Raspberry Chocolate, Strawberry, Mango, Blueberry, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Chocolate, each carefully designed to mirror …

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Image courtesy of OmniFoods

Food Service

OmniFoods & Neat Burger Launch Seafood Menu with Sustainable Twist in NYC

OmniFoods announces a new foodservice partnership with plant-based fast food chain Neat Burger to launch a seafood menu at the chain’s store in Nolita, New York City, from the 18th of October. As part of the collaboration, Neat Burger is introducing two plant-based seafood options: Neat Fish & Chips, a classic British delicacy, and Crispy Fish Sandwich, a favorite garnished with Neat Burger’s unique toppings.  Both menu items will feature OMNI Golden Fillet, a vegan alternative that is said to perfectly replicate the taste and texture of traditional battered fish. Made with pea protein, shiitake mushroom powder, and rice protein, Omni’s fish fillet received the Monde Selection Silver Award from the International Quality Institute in 2022. It has also been voted best vegan fish by PETA UK.  …

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Beyond Meat GO BEYOND GRILL Madison Square Garden

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Food Service

Beyond Meat Becomes the First Official Plant-Based Meat Partner of Madison Square Garden

Beyond Meat announces the opening of a first-of-its-kind dedicated concession stand at Madison Square Garden in NYC – the GO BEYOND GRILL. Part of a larger partnership with MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment, Beyond Meat is making history as the first official plant-based meat partner of Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks, and the New York Rangers. Akerho “AK” Oghoghomeh, senior vice president of global marketing at Beyond Meat, commented, “Madison Square Garden is one of the world’s most iconic venues, reaching millions of consumers each year through their robust schedule of sports, music, and live entertainment events. We are proud to partner with The Garden to bring increased choice to their fans and make it even easier for event attendees to Go Beyond …

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Chunk Foods chunk steak sandwich

© Neat Burger

Fast Food

Chunk Foods Partners with Neat Burger to Launch Chunk Steak Sandwich in Manhattan

Chunk Foods has unveiled its newest foodservice partnership, this time collaborating with Neat Burger, a vegan fast-casual restaurant headquartered in London UK. The centerpiece of this collaboration is the Chunk Steak Sandwich, now available exclusively at Neat Burger’s Nolita location in the heart of Manhattan.  This partnership represents a significant step forward for Chunk Foods, as it marks the introduction of Chunk Steak to the fast-casual dining landscape. Founder and CEO of Chunk Foods, Amos Golan, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “We’re thrilled to partner with Neat Burger to introduce the Chunk Steak Sandwich. This marks a milestone as Chunk steak becomes available at a fast-casual dining establishment for the first time.” The Nolita location opened earlier this year, making it the first …

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shake shack and zero acre farms

© Zero Acre Farms

Gastronomy & Food Service

Shake Shack Transitions to Zero Acre Farm’s Cultured Sugarcane Frying Oil

US burger chain Shake Shack announces its new partnership with Zero Acre Farms, a food company focusing on creating environmentally conscious cooking oil made from cultured sugarcane. The collaboration was announced this morning, coinciding with the kick-off of Climate Week NYC. Two Shake Shack locations in New York City, at Hudson Yards and Battery Park City, will exclusively use Zero Acre oil for frying, replacing traditional soybean oil. Last year, Zero Acre Farms received a series of investments from notable figures like Robert Downey Jr. and Richard Branson, along with further sum from fast-casual chain, Chipotle earlier this year. Cultured sugarcane oil The world currently devotes 20–30% of all agricultural land to vegetable oil crops. But Zero Acre’s mission is to end the food industry’s …

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Lookup NYC

Supplied by Eat Differently

Fairs & Events

1000 Drones to Light Up NYC Skyline Advocating Plant-Based Diets

A light show powered by 1,000 drones is scheduled to take place against the backdrop of the New York City skyline on the evenings of September 15 and 16, 2023. The event, which is being called “Look Up NYC,” is organized by Eat Differently, and directed by Academy Award-winning director Louie Psihoyos, renowned for his work on “The Cove” and CEO of Projecting Change. Psihoyos stated, “Our creative teams have programmed a thousand drones to dance over the New York City skyline to form magical creatures that deliver messages on how to save the planet—you won’t want to miss this show.” Backed by its collaboration with an extensive list of sponsors and supporters, this artistic display seeks to educate and advocate for plant-based diets through …

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Emanuel Storch of Blackbird Foods

Image supplied by Blackbird Foods

Interviews

Blackbird Foods: “Our Focus on Fun and Familiar Favorites Has a Strong Appeal to Everyone”

While most plant-based protein companies focus on popular formats like meat-free burgers, sausages and nuggets, one New York City startup has decided to take a completely different approach. Blackbird Foods, founded in 2020, specializes in plant protein of a different sort: artisanal seitan, a versatile wheat-based protein that can be used to make everything from Philly cheesesteaks and meaty cutlets to gyro pitas and pulled pork sandwiches. Blackbird Foods crafts its seitan using proprietary techniques to achieve flavors and textures that are unlike anything else found in most other seitan products.  Having conquered seitan, Blackbird Foods then turned its talents to recreating New York’s iconic pizza with an authentic crust, dairy-free cheese and premium toppings. Their frozen pizza line became a huge hit with customers …

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