THE PACK plant-based pet food

© THE PACK

Pet Food

Plant-Based Pet Food Brand THE PACK Announces Planet Organic Listing & Equity Crowdfunding Campaign

UK plant-based pet food startup THE PACK has announced a listing at supermarket chain Planet Organic, which has nine stores across London. THE PACK’s full range of wet food and oven-baked dried food is now available at all Planet Organic locations, becoming one of very few plant-based pet food brands to be stocked at a UK brick-and-mortar retail chain. The company says the listing represents its increasing focus on an omnichannel strategy. “We are seeing increasing interest from retailers in listing our plant-based dog food,” said Damien Clarkson, co-founder and CEO of THE PACK. “I commend Planet Organic under the visionary leadership of founder Renee Elliot for re-launching their pet food section and putting plant-based proteins front and centre alongside other established brands. THE PACK …

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Research says UK diets could change radically in the coming years

Azolla pasta (AI generated). Image courtesy of Co-op.

Studies & Numbers

Research Predicts Radical Change in UK Diets by 2054, Including Rise in Alternative Proteins

Research conducted by the FixOurFood project and the University of York on behalf of supermarket chain Co-op has predicted a radical change in UK diets over the next 30 years. The research anticipates a significant rise in alternative proteins as consumers become more health-focused and flexitarianism grows in popularity. Urban farming will become more prevalent, and may be used to produce cultivated meat and seafood products. Meanwhile, little-known ingredients such as azolla (aquatic ferns) may become widespread in everything from burgers to pasta. To illustrate these possibilities, Co-op has created a series of AI-generated images of possible future foods. In the coming decades, rising temperatures may mean that produce such as avocados and olives can be grown in the south of England. Traditional preserving methods …

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Xampla's plastic-free Morro coating supplied to Huhtamaki

Image supplied

Packaging

2M Group to Supply Xampla’s Plant Protein-Based Morro Coating to Global Packaging Provider Huhtamaki

2M Group of Companies has announced a multi-year deal to supply Xampla’s plastic-free Morro Coating polymer to global packaging producer Huhtamaki. The biodegradable coating, which is made from plant protein, will replace plastic barrier coatings at scale in takeaway boxes for a range of food service and on-the-go applications. The natural material is food contact safe and said to have excellent grease, water, and oxygen barrier performance. It is also free of polyfluorinated substances (“forever chemicals”) and exempt from the EU’s Single Use Plastic Directive. Xampla and 2M first announced their partnership in November 2023, revealing that 2M would manufacture multiple tonnes of Morro materials at its site in Milton Keynes, UK. The new deal with Huhtamaki is part of the latter company’s goal to …

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THIS plant-based chicken thighs

© THIS

Investments & Finance

THIS Secures £20M in Series C Equity Funding from Planet First Partners

Fast-growing brand THIS, known for its “hyper-realistic” plant-based meats, today announces it has closed a Series C equity funding round of £20 million through a combination of primary and secondary equity financing via Planet First Partners. Planet First Partners is described as a growth equity investment platform dedicated to scaling tech-enabled businesses that blend a purpose-driven mission with profitable growth and a people-centric culture. As an Article 9 fund under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), it invests in organisations making substantial contributions to environmental or social objectives. With Limited Partners’ commitments totaling 450 million euros, the fund is supported by a mission-aligned advisory board comprising global business and political leaders. The news comes amid an E.coli scare in the UK whereby two large-scale …

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Oatly launches larger pack size for barista oat milk

© Oatly

Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

Oatly Launches Extra-Large Cartons of Barista Oat Milk in the UK

Oatly has introduced a new larger pack size for its most popular product, barista oat milk, in the UK. Taking inspiration from the large cartons used for the brand’s regular oat milk in the US, a new 1.5L format will launch at major food service wholesalers from next month. The product provides an option for cafés and coffee shops that use large quantities of oat milk, and the cost per litre will seemingly be lower than for the smaller 1L pack size. The recipe is the same, containing oats, water, rapeseed oil, salt, vitamins, and minerals, along with an acidity regulator to prevent splitting in coffee. “We took inspiration from our normal-sized US packs and made an extra-large pack for all true baristas, pretend-baristas, and …

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The Lancet

© The Lancet

Health

Media Wildly Misrepresents Findings of UPF Study in The Lancet to Slander Plant-Based Foods

Earlier this week, a study was published in The Lancet examining the health impacts of plant-sourced ultra-processed foods (UPFs). The results showed that while unprocessed plant-based foods decrease cardiovascular disease risk, ultra-processed plant-sourced foods may have the opposite effect. However, the study has attracted a slew of misleading coverage from mainstream media outlets, with some articles giving the impression that the UPFs in the study were predominantly meat alternatives. For example, a clickbait headline in The Telegraph falsely declared “Vegans are slowly killing themselves”, with the subheading “There’s nothing healthy about ultra-highly processed fake ‘meat’ products”. Unsurprisingly, the writer of the article is a dairy farmer. In reality, plant-based meats represented just 0.2% of the diets of the study participants, while foods such as packaged …

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McDonald's vegan ice cream

© McDonald's

Fast Food

McDonald’s Trials Vegan Ice Cream in the UK

McDonald’s has announced it is trialling a new “deliciously smooth and creamy” vegan ice cream in the UK, available in two flavours — Choco and Strawberry. Called the Vegan Scoop, the ice cream costs £1.59 and is served in a tub like a McFlurry. It has been certified as vegan by The Vegetarian Society, though McDonald’s warns that it may not be suitable for those with milk allergies as it is made in a facility that handles dairy. Initially, the ice cream will only be available at 52 locations in the North West of England, including several restaurants in Manchester and Stockport. The trial will run until September 3, and if successful, the Vegan Scoop may launch UK-wide next year. McDonald’s is also trialling another …

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Tiba Tempeh new plant-based mince

© Tiba Tempeh

Products & Launches

Tiba Tempeh Announces Sainsbury’s Listing, Launches “Only” Plant-Based Mince With 100% Natural Organic Ingredients

UK-based Tiba Tempeh, on a mission to grow the meat-free category by making tempeh more accessible to mainstream consumers, announces a fresh pack design and new plant-based mince as well as a listing at over 400 Sainsbury’s stores across the country. The brand claims its newly launched Tempeh Mince, first available in Ocado from May 2024, is the only plant-based mince to contain 100% natural and organic ingredients. Along with a “vibrant, fresher and foodie packaging design” that rolls out across the full range, featuring easy recipe suggestions, the brand has launched its Original Tempeh Block and Sweet Chilli Marinated Tempeh Pieces into more than 400 Sainsbury’s stores. The launch is to be supported by a strong activation plan including digital posters, e-commerce, and promotions. …

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Disinformation and Propaganda Meter that is hitting a full scale, showing a very high level of disinformation, overload of it, too much of it. Maximum value, off the charts. ,3d illustration

© GoodIdeas -stock.adobe.com

Health

“Inaccurate and Misleading”: Health Professionals Condemn Meat & Dairy Campaign Backed by UK Government

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) has joined forces with Plant-Based Health Professionals UK (PBHP UK) to call out a government-backed campaign promoting meat and dairy consumption. The organisations have sent an open letter to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to highlight their concerns over the Let’s Eat Balanced campaign. Timed to coincide with Veganuary, the campaign advocates consuming meat as a source of protein, zinc, iron, and vitamin B12. But DAUK and PBHP UK say that promoting animal product consumption is “at odds with established scientific evidence on healthy and sustainable diets”, and have called for the campaign to be retracted. The organisations argue that the campaign’s claims are “inaccurate and misleading”, since …

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Vegan fish and chips by The No Catch Co. Image supplied by PETA

Gastronomy & Food Service

PETA Reveals The “UK’s Best” Vegan Fish and Chips Spots

Animal rights charity PETA has published a list titled “The UK’s Best Vegan Fish and Chips Spots”, highlighting eateries around the country serving plant-based versions of the classic British dish. Among the top-rated spots are: The Good Catch Co — Founded by activist Ed Winters (Earthling Ed) and his business partner Kevyn Bourke, this plant-based fish and chip shop in Brighton has an impressive menu featuring battered “cod” and smoked “haddock”, along with Popcorn Prawnz, lemon “shrimp”, and vegan calamari. In 2021, Winters and Bourke told vegconomist that their aim was to “take on the fish and chip industry”. Harbour Lights — This Falmouth shop has been recognised for its tofu-based vegan fish, which is marinated in brine and lemon juice before being wrapped in …

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Kelli raised funds to bring to the market its seaweed coating that can replace plastic

© Kelpi

Packaging

Kelpi Secures £4.3M in Oversubscribed Round to Replace Plastic with Seaweed Coating in Food & Cosmetics Packaging

Bristol-based sustainable packaging innovator Kelpi has secured £4.3 million in investment to scale and commercialize its seaweed-based packaging, which can replace single-use fossil fuel plastics in packaging for food, drinks, and personal care products. The round was led by Blackfinch Ventures, with participation from Green Angel Ventures, Kadmos Partners, QantX, Evenlode Foundation, and the South West Investment Fund. Follow-on investors, including Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC), One Planet Capital, and private angel investors, backed the material innovator in this round. The company initially sought £3 million and surpassed that target by raising £4.3 million, marking a significant milestone for Kelpi. The funds will be used to advance manufacturing and gain regulatory approval for the bio-based coatings. Additionally, the company will continue its commercial rollout, having …

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Mycorena's mycelium meat

© Mycorena

Protein

The Role of Science-Driven Alt Protein Startups in Addressing Global Food Security

A recent review article published in Nature Communications explored an ecosystem of alternative protein startups and their science-powered innovations, exploring the potential market penetration of products and their impact on addressing the food security challenge — doubling protein demand by 2050 without relying on animal agriculture. Elena Lurie-Luke and her team at the Department of Biosciences at Durham University, UK, utilized science-driven startups as a data source to assess progress in alternative proteins, emphasizing their agility and innovative capabilities. Translating innovation to the market The researchers categorized the startup ecosystem based on their product development approach to create alternatives to meat and fish proteins into three groups: Replace, Modify, and Make. The study used already-developed products as examples to analyze the potential of products to …

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veg-net intro talk

© veg-net

Fairs & Events

Inaugural veg-net Event Unites Plant-Based Founders to Discuss Insights for Category Growth

veg-net, a one-day business meeting and networking event for the UK plant-based food sector, took place today at Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport, bringing together brands and buyers for focused one-to-one meetings as well as hosting clinics with industry experts on branding, finance, sales and marketing, and the sharing of brand new sector insight via panels. A total of 20 founders of plant-based brands such as Better Nature Tempeh and US-based Tofurky, together with 17 buyers from UK and European retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice companies such as Suma, Pro-Green International from the Netherlands, and Uplegger from Germany. The one-day event kicked off with a keynote session featuring a panel of industry experts; Ben Davies, CEO of Vypr; Melissa Bradshaw, editor of The Plant Base; …

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Pete Speranza, Sarno brothers

© Wicked Kitchen/Good Catch

Company News

Wicked Kitchen Acquired by Ahimsa Companies in Strategic Industry Consolidation

Wicked Kitchen, a global plant-based food brand, along with its associated brands Good Catch and Current Foods, has been acquired by the Ahimsa Companies, becoming part of its plant-based industry consolidation effort.  Pete Speranza, CEO of Wicked Kitchen, stated, “We are aligned in our mission, and we believe that Wicked Kitchen is stronger today and better positioned to serve the health and environmentally conscious consumer who does not want to sacrifice on taste or convenience.” Wicked Kitchen, founded by chefs Derek and Chad Sarno, offers a wide range of plant-based foods, including frozen meal solutions, desserts, ingredients, and snacks. Its products are available in over 20,000 retailers and online, with over 50 products in the US and more than 150 in the UK. Industry consolidation …

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Heura launches at Esselunga

© Heura

Retail & E-Commerce

Heura Launches at Leading Northern Italian Retailer Esselunga, Expands Presence in UK & Netherlands

Spanish plant-based meat brand Heura has announced that it is launching at Esselunga, a leading supermarket chain in Northern Italy. Heura products will be available at 173 Esselunga stores, expanding the brand’s Italian presence. The country is currently Heura’s third-largest market after Spain and France; total turnover reached €800,000 last year, and this figure is expected to double in 2024. Additionally, Heura has strengthened its partnerships with UK supermarket chain Waitrose and Dutch retailer Jumbo, gaining listings for its plant-based burger. The three new collaborations total 1,200 points of sale, and are part of Heura’s plan to establish strategic alliances with leading retail chains. In the past year alone, Heura has formed agreements with France’s Intermarché, Portugal’s Auchan, Italy’s Pam, and Belgium’s Colruyt. Heura’s turnover …

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Oato in fridge

© Oato

Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

Oato Launches its Fresh Oat Milk into Waitrose Nationwide with Ambitions to Become the UK’s Leading Dairy Alternative

Oato, based in Lancashire England, is the producer of what it says is a category-first product with its refrigerated, fresh oat milk (as opposed to shelf-stable, UHT), created in a factory that produces more solar power than it uses. This February Oato announced its launch into Booths stores across Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria, and Cheshire, marking its debut in brick-and-mortar retail and first departure from its home delivery model. Now, the company celebrates its first fully nationwide launch as its 1L Fresh Barista Whole Oat Drink made with 100% British oats lands on shelves at 229 Waitrose stores throughout the country. Made exclusively with British Oats, Oato claims its carbon footprint and associated carbon miles are among the lowest of any plant milk on sale today. …

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Woman eating vegan pizza

Image courtesy of ProVeg International

Marketing & Media

Winning Over Tastebuds: Strategies for Promoting Plant-Based Foods

Promoting plant-based food brands in today’s competitive market can be challenging, but your business can stand out and make a lasting impact with the right strategies. In its latest New Food Hub article, ProVeg International collaborates with Joe Hill, co-founder of One Planet Pizza, who shares his top tips for marketing plant-based products. Drawing from his experience building a plant-based pizza brand, Joe offers essential tips to capture consumers’ attention, win over sceptics, and create a buzz around plant-based offerings. Taste is still king It’s easy to forget just how important a role taste plays in food. And in the plant-based world, it’s even more crucial to nail great taste. “Research now shows that most consumers will try something new plant-based once, and if they …

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Hownd wellness treats roll out into Pets at Home

© Hownd

Pet Food

HOWND’s Functional Treats Land on Shelves of Britain’s Largest Pet Retailer

HOWND this week announces the launch of three lines of its hypoallergenic functional treats into Pets at Home stores across the UK. The news shortly follows the March launch of the brand’s Superfood range into Pets At Home online. Three flavours, in fully recyclable packaging, will be available from August 5th: Keep Calm with Camomile, Lavender and Valerian Root for stress relief; Got an Itch? with Shiitake Mushrooms and Turmeric for healthy skin & coat; and Yup You Stink! with Mint, Parsley and Lovage herbs for bad breath. Founded in 2015, HOWND has evolved into a multi award-winning ethical lifestyle brand for dogs in the UK and overseas. This January, the company was named as one of the most ethical businesses in the world by …

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Hellmann's

© Unilever/Hellmann's

Products & Launches

Hellmann’s Rebrands Vegan Mayo to Appeal to a Wider Consumer Base

Hellmann’s UK has announced it is renaming its vegan mayo to “Plant-Based Mayo” with the aim of appealing to a broader range of consumers. The company said its consumer research had shown that the word “vegan” deters some flexitarians, who feel that the product isn’t intended for them. The term “plant-based” is reportedly seen as more inclusive. The mayo’s recipe has also been altered; it now contains less rapeseed oil, while sunflower oil and xanthan gum have been added. The updated product is currently rolling out at supermarkets in 400ml glass jars and 430ml and 750ml squeezy bottles. Some other brands are also moving away from the word “vegan”. Magnum — which, like Hellmann’s, is owned by Unilever — has previously launched several plant-based ice …

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Spicy Beyond Burger Jalapeño

© Beyond Meat

Products & Launches

Beyond Meat Launches Spicy Beyond Burger Jalapeño in the UK

Beyond Meat has launched a new product, the Spicy Beyond Burger Jalapeño, at retailers across the UK. The launch comes as Europe continues to be Beyond Meat’s strongest market and a focal point for the business. The burger is described as “irresistibly juicy and delivering a spicy kick”. High in protein and made without soy, the NPD is aimed at all consumers who want to “continue eating what they love, no sacrifice required”; this includes meat-eaters, flexitarians, and vegans. The patty is said to be ideal for grilling, with Beyond Meat research indicating that 42.5% of respondents now serve or eat more plant-based foods at barbecues than they did five years ago*. “There is a growing trend for spicy foods in the UK,” said Ellie …

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