Oato retail launch

© Oato

Company News

Oato’s “Category-First” Fresh Oat Milk Expands into Retail, Aiming to Become Biggest Brand in UK Alt Milk Category

Lancashire, England-based Oato is expanding into brick-and-mortar retail through a distribution deal with Booths for its 1L Fresh Barista Whole Oat Drink, with bold ambitions, claiming it is poised to become the leading alt milk in the UK. The oat milk is said to be a category first in that it is not UHT (ultra-high temperature)/shelf-stable, but fresh/refrigerated. “Our latest release is a category first to the dairy alternative category, emphasising local sourcing, convenience, and provenance—qualities that matter to British consumers. Being fresh, not UHT sets us apart,” says Oato, explaining that British consumers have always preferred fresh dairy milk over long-life options, though there are very few available counterparts in plant-based milk. Fresh milk simply tastes better, says Oato, and why should oat be …

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Aldi fruit and veg

© ALDI UK

Retail & E-Commerce

Aldi UK Continues Success Trajectory, Drops Fruit & Veg Prices to Encourage Healthy Eating, Creates 5,500 Jobs

Aldi, currently the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket, operates more than 1,000 stores and employs more than 45,000 employees. Yesterday the discounter revealed it is to create 5,500 jobs as it “continues growing at speed throughout 2024”. Furthermore, this week Aldi decided to drop prices for fresh fruit and vegetables to encourage healthy eating in the UK. Prices for berries, grapes, tomatoes, apples and ready-to-eat salads will be lowered in its biggest price cut so far this year, affecting around a quarter of its range, with prices on more than 50 items falling by an average of 7%. Just last month the chain expanded its Plant Menu range with plant-based smoked salmon slices, which have become extremely popular and are selling out around the country, as well …

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Adamo Foods' fungi-based steak

© Adamo Foods

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

UK Government Invests £12M in Fermentation Hub for Alternative Proteins

The UK government has announced a £12 million investment in the Microbial Food Hub, a research centre focusing on fermentation-based foods to develop sustainable and innovative alternatives to animal products. Led by Dr. Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro at Imperial College London, the hub will explore technologies that use microorganisms, such as biomass fermentation to develop mycoproteins and precision fermentation to create bioidentical egg or dairy proteins and other ingredients. The hub will also explore traditional fermentation to improve the nutritional quality of plant-based foods. Experts from various universities, including the University of Reading, the University of Kent, the University of Aberystwyth, the University of Cambridge, and Rothamsted Research, will collaborate on the project along with industrial and food industry partners. The hub will receive the funds from …

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Quorn katsu style chicken

© Quorn Foods

Science

Changing the Game for Vegan Analogs: Study Explores Effects of Iron Fortification in Mycoprotein Products Without Egg Whites

In the ever-evolving landscape of food industry innovations, the spotlight is now on the development of meat alternatives that provide consumers with a sustainable option and meet the nutritional needs of comparable animal proteins. A recent study by Professor Brent Murray from the University of Leeds, funded by Quorn Foods, investigated the effects of iron fortification in mycoprotein products developed with potato protein instead of egg whites. Egg whites are incorporated into mycoprotein products as functional ingredients and binders to create appealing textures. However, the growing demand for plant-based meat alternatives and egg allergenicity are driving the replacement of egg white proteins with plant proteins.  In a related research about the interactions between fungal hyphae and egg white protein the scientists found that that potato proteins offer high …

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Keith Lesser, Vegan Accountants

Keith Lesser Vegan Accountants

veg+ Interviews

Vegan Accountants: “Building a Vegan Team is a Great Way to Ensure Retention and Compatibility with Values”

Vegan Accountants, based in East London, serves the unique needs of ethical and plant-based businesses in the UK, having pivoted around five years ago to a purely vegan business model when partner Keith Lesser became increasingly focused on the vegan lifestyle, wanting to work with mission-aligned founders in the space. Recognising the distinct financial and ethical considerations of vegan businesses, Vegan Accountants offers a comprehensive suite of services tailored to support businesses in navigating the complex landscape of sustainability-focused finance. With a commitment to promoting ethical business practices, the firm offers expertise in tax, accounting, and financial planning to empower clients ranging from startups to established enterprises. What advice can you give to businesses looking to incorporate ethical practices into their financial management? To be …

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juicy_marbles_basting_closeup

© Juicy Marbles

Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Juicy Marbles Partners With Grocery Delivery Services in the UK & Czech Republic

Plant-based whole-cut producer Juicy Marbles has partnered with rapid grocery delivery service GoPuff, allowing UK consumers to have a two-pack of plant-based steaks delivered to their doors in as little as 30 minutes. The news comes a year after Juicy Marbles’ first major UK supply deal with supermarket chain Waitrose in a trial intended to last just two weeks. When 86% of the stock sold out within four days, the deal became long-term. Juicy Marbles’ steaks have since seen successful launches at Tesco where they retail at a lower price than comparable animal-based steaks, as well as at Whole Foods UK. Sales have reportedly been strong to date. “We love that Gopuff provides home chefs with a fast, convenient way to get their groceries when …

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© H!P

Sweets & Snacks

H!P Launches Upgraded Plant-Based Easter Eggs With Chocolate Buttons

UK-based vegan chocolate brand H!P (Happiness in Plants) has updated its plant-based Easter eggs for 2024, making them 50% bigger with chocolate buttons inside. The eggs and buttons are made from oat milk and sustainably sourced single-origin Colombian cocoa. They are available in two varieties — Salted Caramel and the new Cookies No Cream flavour, which recently won a Great Taste Award. Despite the increase in size, the eggs are priced the same as last year. The packaging of the eggs is plastic-free and fully recyclable, while the chocolate has a 50% lower carbon footprint than milk chocolate (according to an analysis by My Emissions). H!P is a certified B Corp and a member of 1% for the Planet, donating at least 1% of its …

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Sustainable microalgae protein

Image courtesy of the Natural Resources Institute

Algae, Microalgae & Seaweed

UK Project Develops Sustainable Microalgae Protein With Improved Flavour

The UK’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) is collaborating with Imperial College London (ICL) and biotech startup Arborea to develop technology capable of producing sustainable microalgae protein with an improved flavour profile. Algae has attracted significant interest in recent years as a highly sustainable protein source. However, current protein extraction methods are inefficient, expensive, and produce a final product with undesirable off-notes. NRI will work to identify the compounds responsible for these flavours, and examine how they can be altered through changes in growth conditions and extraction methods. Meanwhile, ICL will develop cost-effective and environmentally friendly methods of producing algal protein extract, while Arborea — which has develped patented bioreactor technology — will contribute its expertise in the industrial growth and harvesting of microalgae. The two-year …

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THIS beef burger

© THIS

Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Report Explores Practical Approaches to Achieving Price Parity for Plant-Based Meat

New Food Innovation, an organisation acting as an accelerator for the food industry, has published a new report titled “Plant-based Meats – The Battle For Price Parity”. Authored by food scientist, chef, and author Anthony Warner, the report finds that plant-based meat is still 67% more expensive than animal meat in the UK. It explains how this is a major obstacle preventing consumers from switching to more sustainable options, with the cost of living crisis and rising inflation exacerbating the problem. Warner then discusses how the cost of plant-based meat could be reduced, suggesting an overhaul of supply chains. While soy or pea protein is generally far cheaper than meat, the ingredients added to plant protein to make meat alternatives — such as flavourings, fats, …

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HOWND Pumpkin, Quinoa and Moringa Superfood

© HOWND

Market & Trends

HOWND Launches Allergy-Friendly Pumpkin, Quinoa and Moringa Superfood for Dogs

UK-based vegan dog food brand HOWND has expanded its Plant Powered Superfood range with a new dry food in the flavour Pumpkin, Quinoa and Moringa. The food also contains ingredients such as sweet potato, cranberry, and Phytodroitin; the latter is an innovative algae-based alternative to chondroitin, a supplement that supports joint health. The recipe is high in protein and low in fat and purines. The nutritionally-complete food is said to provide a “digestive reset” for dogs who have upset stomachs or are recovering from illness. It is also designed to be suitable for dogs with allergies and intolerances, and is free of soy, gluten, dairy, and GMOs. The product is vet-approved and sold in fully recyclable 2kg and 10kg packages. It is available to UK …

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Jenny Chapman

Image credit Marieke de Visscher

Opinion

Op Ed: Churchill Fellow Jenny Chapman on Understanding Nuances Around the Ultra Processed Foods Debate in Plant-Based Meats

Jenny Chapman, Churchill Fellow and food systems researcher, recently published a report to support plant-based meat companies in navigating the “ultra-processed foods” debate. Jenny Chapman has a degree in Biology from the University of Oxford, a Masters in Taxonomy from Imperial College London, and a lifelong love of the natural world. Her desire to solve the world’s most pressing problems and passion for using science and evidence to improve the lives of humans and non-human animals led her to research safe, healthy, sustainable and ethical protein sources. Jenny was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2023 to investigate the adoption, acceptance and trust of plant-based meat. In this piece, Jenny describes why there is so much confusion surrounding the UPF term and what plant-based meat companies …

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A chicken alternative made with ABUNDA

© ENOUGH

Fermentation

UK Mycoprotein Startup ENOUGH Signs Commercial Deal with Cargill

Food tech company ENOUGH announces that it has extended its partnership with agribusiness giant Cargill. Through the deal, Cargill is to sign a commercial agreement to use and market ENOUGH’S mycoprotein ingredient ABUNDA and to invest in its recent Series C round. ABUNDA is described as a highly versatile ingredient that provides all nine essential amino acids and dietary fiber. It is said to have a neutral taste, making it highly versatile in multiple applications. ENOUGH leverages biomass fermentation to produce its signature product at a large scale. The protein is grown by feeding fungi renewable feedstocks to make a sustainable food protein source.  Upscaling in Europe ENOUGH states that its collaboration with Cargill, “benefiting from its global footprint and feedstock technology expertise,” will allow it to …

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Spacegoods products

© Spacegoods

Investments & Finance

Functional Mushroom Brand Spacegoods Raises £2.5M to Solidify Leadership Position in UK & Europe

Spacegoods, a London-based wellness brand specialising in functional mushrooms and nootropics, announces it has secured £2.5M in a seed round led by FoodTech specialist venture capital firm Five Seasons Ventures, with participation from Redrice Ventures, Slingshot Ventures, and G-FUND. Combining adaptogen mushrooms with nootropics such as ashwagandha and lion’s mane, the products are available in a chocolate flavour and are all vegan, cruelty-free, and can be enjoyed with water or milk or added to teas or protein shakes. The company states It has gained significant momentum since its foundation in 2021, gaining impressive growth primarily through DTC sales, and says it has achieved a strong position in the UK as well as in the Netherlands and Germany. The capital will enable Spacegoods to solidify its …

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daring Teriyaki pack shot

© abillion

Packaging

Meat-Eaters in the UK and USA More Likely to Try Plant-Based Meat in Red Packaging

A new study has concluded that meat-eaters are more willing to experiment with plant-based products that come in red packaging. The report, conducted by ProVeg International and titled, “The Power of Colour: Nudging Consumers Toward Plant-Based Meat Consumption,” provides insights into the influence of colours on consumer perceptions around flavour and appeal. ProVeg states that the careful choice of colouring has the “power to reshape consumer behaviour and prompt a shift toward plant-based meat”. The survey included 1,200 participants, predominantly omnivores, from the US and the UK. Participants were questioned on their feelings and opinions when exposed to vegetarian and vegan products packaged in a variety of warm and cool tones (green, blue, purple, yellow, orange, or red). The findings reveal that red was the …

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Vegan Gift Card

© epay

Products & Launches

UK’s First Vegan Gift Card Allows Consumers to Discover & Support Businesses in the Vegan Industry

epay, a division of Euronet, today launches what it claims is the UK’s first vegan gift card. Available in both physical and online formats, the gift card features a carefully curated selection of established vegan-friendly brands such as Honestly Tasty and Grubby. epay states that the product introduces some exciting new vegan-only brands, allowing customers to discover and support growing businesses in the vegan industry. Retail partners can add the new gift card product to their range of prepaid products and generate additional revenue. “As the demand for vegan products and services continues to grow, we took an opportunity to provide the growing vegan community with a convenient and versatile gifting option. We believe the Vegan Gift Card will be a game-changer for both vegans …

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UK's MYCO prepares for launch of oyster mushroom burgers after securing £1.5 million in funding.

© Image courtesy of MYCO

Fungi, Mushrooms & Mycelium

MYCO to Launch “Britain’s Greenest Burgers” Created with Hooba Oyster Mushroom Mince

UK vertical farmer and producer MYCO has unveiled its plans to launch a new line of burgers made with Hooba, a protein mince made from oyster mushrooms.  The anticipated launch comes after an undisclosed £1.5 million investment, that has enabled the company to move into full-scale production.  The UK firm states that the funding will allow it to meet the increasing demand for plant-based products with “Britain’s greenest burgers”. The burger range is expected to be ready by the end of March 2024. “The investment is a real game-changer as it has allowed us to move full steam ahead with our full range. We are currently meeting with buyers and the initial noises are incredibly positive. The goal is a trade launch in March, followed …

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Sandwich Pull Applewood cheese

© NORSELAND LTD

Cheese Alternatives

Applewood Vegan Reformulates Recipe to Closely Emulate Dairy Cheese

Applewood Vegan debuted almost five years ago and has since seen consistent success in the UK market, currently representing 20% of Applewood’s total sales. Now the brand announces a reformulated recipe for the vegan offering, aimed at enhancing its texture to more closely replicate the sensory experience of dairy cheese. “Over the past five years and since the creation of Applewood Vegan, we have witnessed significant advancements in plant-based food technologies. Through rigorous experimentation with numerous base recipes, we have successfully crafted a foundational recipe that closely emulates the richness of dairy. Our refined manufacturing process now mirrors that of our well-established Applewood dairy brand, contributing to a remarkable enhancement in texture,” explains the brand, a subsidiary of Norseland, a leading supplier of speciality blended …

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© Neat

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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Ivy Farm and Finnebrogue partner to bring cultivated Wagyu beef to the UK  

Image courtesy of Ivy Farm

Cultivated Meat

Last Chance for Cultivated Meat Companies to Complete UK Regulatory Survey

A survey inviting cultivated meat companies to provide evidence regarding the future regulatory approval of cultivated products in the UK is set to close on Wednesday (February 14). Conducted by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), the survey is open to all cultivated meat companies worldwide and aims to determine when future applications for regulatory approval may be made. It also asks what technologies are used, and gives companies an opportunity to explain what would help them to better understand the regulatory process. The survey takes an estimated ten minutes to complete. No cultivated meat products have yet been approved for sale in the UK, but at least one company — Ivy Farm — has reportedly been told to expect approval by the end of …

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Valentine's steak recipe

© Grubby/Redefine Meat

Company News

Grubby Partners With Redefine Meat for Premium Valentine’s Steak Recipe Kit

UK recipe kit startup Grubby has joined forces with plant-based meat company Redefine Meat to offer an exclusive Valentine’s Steak recipe. Available until March 22 as a premium option for Valentine’s Day, the dish marks the first time Redefine Meat’s plant-based beef flank has been available to home cooks in the UK. Previously, the product has only been available at top restaurants in the country. Grubby will also launch a Chimichurri steak dish made with the beef flank across March and April. Launched in 2020, Grubby claims to be the UK’s first fully plant-based recipe kit brand. The company has revenues of over £4 million, with customer spend trebling in the last year. In October, Grubby announced its first retail launch at Tesco, with three …

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