Cell scaffolding at NUS

© National University of Singapore

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

A Deep Dive into the Role of 3D Scaffolds as the Building Blocks for Cultivated Meat

In addition to scaling and cost hurdles, cultivated meat production faces the unique challenge of developing final products that meet the consumer’s expectations of conventional animal-based meat, including larger pieces akin to whole cuts. However, most prototypes are made from ground meat and do not look exactly like whole cuts. Why is this the case? 3D scaffolds Companies in the space are experimenting with 3D structures or scaffolds to recreate the structure and taste of animal tissue to make complex products such as steaks, filets, and even burgers. In animals, the extracellular matrix (ECM), a structure made of proteins and carbohydrates, supports the cells and guides them in their growth journey: differentiation and tissue development to make the different organs and body parts. Scaffolds for …

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Planted man with sausage

© Planted

Health

Is a Plant-Based Diet the Secret to Improved Erectile Function?

Businesses in the plant-based food industry may soon have a new target market: men looking to improve their sexual health. Recent research, carried out by Dr. Stacy Loeb, a urologist at New York University in the Manhattan Veteran Affairs and board-certified in lifestyle medicine, has shown that men who consume more plant-based and less animal-based foods have better scores for erectile function, even patients with prostate cancer. The findings suggest that transitioning to a plant-based diet could potentially improve sexual function in men. Dr. Loeb emphasizes that even small dietary changes can make a difference, from incorporating Meatless Monday to switching some animal products for plant-based alternatives. But more importantly, men who follow more plant-based diets increase their overall sexual health and have a lower …

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Plant Attitude Challenge vote

© Givaudan

Startups, Accelerators & Incubators

Five Startups Compete to Revolutionize Alt Protein Cost Efficiency in Givaudan Plant Attitude Challenge

Five startup finalists — Eat Typcal (Brazil), Meatless Kingdom (Indonesia), Eternal (US), Juicy Marbles (Slovenia), and BVeg Foods (India) — are set to pitch their ideas to reduce the costs of alt-protein recipes by 20% while ensuring a “delicious” consumer experience at Givaudan’s Plant Attitude Challenge on April 17th, 2024. The finalists will also explain how their solutions specifically relate to the findings and recommendations outlined in Givaudan’s recent white paper in collaboration with the University of California Berkeley.  The paper discusses various alt protein production methods and opportunities for improving efficiency in the food industry. In addition, it provides ten actionable pathways to help producers address supply chain issues, resource consumption, production scale-up, and competitive pricing to reduce product costs. Flavio Garofalo, Global Director, …

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Meat Exhaustion Day

© FOUR PAWS

Society

Meat Exhaustion Day Demonstrates Our Planetary Over-Consumption of Animals

FOUR PAWS has calculated the so-called “Meat Exhaustion Day“, i.e. the day on which the maximum recommended meat consumption per year is reached around the world. The concept of Meat Exhaustion Day is established by comparing the average actual meat consumption per capita against the advised levels. This comparison is conducted globally, regionally, and nationally, based on recommendations from the Planetary Health Diet. This proposes daily meat consumption ranges of 0-14 grams for beef, 0-14 grams for pork, and 0-58 grams for poultry. This analysis employs the mean values of 7 grams for beef and pork, and 29 grams for poultry. Critical situation in the Global North According to the findings, global meat consumption significantly exceeds levels considered healthy or sustainable, especially in high-income countries …

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Girl Eating Elote Corn with Vegan NotMayo

©The Kraft Heinz Not Company

Company News

The Kraft Heinz Not Company to Leverage AI and Brand Equity to Fill Plant-Based Market Gaps in 2024

The Kraft Heinz Not Company is gearing up to enhance its footprint in the plant-based foods sector, according to CEO Lucho Lopez-May. Despite reports of a deceleration of plant-based meat sales, the joint venture remains committed to introducing a broader range of plant-based offerings in 2024. In an interview with FoodDive, Lopez-May highlights the company’s unwillingness to confine its initiatives to a singular market niche. The joint venture plans to leverage the dual strengths that set it apart from rivals: Kraft Heinz’s robust brand equity and NotCo’s cutting-edge AI platform, Giuseppe. This unique combination enables the company to replicate the dairy, meat, and egg ingredients used in Kraft Heinz’s signature products. This includes notable introductions such as sliced cheese, Mac & Cheese, mayonnaise, and most …

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Plant CEO X UnchainedTV

© UnchainedTV

Marketing & Media

PLANT CEO to Broadcast on UnchainedTV: Featuring Industry Leaders Matthew Glover, Bernat Añaños, and Ria Rehberg

PLANT CEO, a London-based podcast platform that spotlights leaders in the plant-based sector, has announced a collaborative venture with UnchainedTV, a Los Angeles-based, plant-based streaming TV network. This partnership is set to amplify the narratives of vegan business leaders, allowing them to reach a global audience. Hosted by Anant Joshi, PLANT CEO has become a notable platform for sharing success stories and insights from key figures in the vegan industry. The roster of interviewees features Ria Rehberg, the CEO of Veganuary; Bernat Añaños, the co-founder of Heura Foods; Louie Psihoyos, director of “You Are What You Eat” and Sam Tucker, CEO of VEG3 and executive director of Open Paws.  “We are elated to join forces with UnchainedTV to broaden the impact of our show,” commented Joshi. …

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Chicken Eggs in Carton

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Politics & Law

Mathilde Do Chi, Expert on Food Law, Part 3: Multi-Regional Approvals in Food Innovation, Or, Why Not to Put Your Eggs in the Same Basket

Mathilde Do Chi is the CEO of Vegan Food Law, a food law and regulatory consultancy in global alternative protein regulations. She is an international food law and regulatory consultant with expertise in alternative proteins, novel foods, the future of food, and much more. A frequent public speaker at numerous food and foodtech conferences, Mathilde helps VCs, startups and multinationals comprehend complex food regulations, assisting the likes of Blue Horizon, Planted, and Formo with their legal matters. In this third installment of the series, Mathilde discusses how simultaneously obtaining food regulatory approvals across multiple jurisdictions is crucial for companies looking to efficiently enter international markets, optimize costs, and gain a competitive advantage in the global food industry. Not putting your eggs in the same basket: the importance of simultaneous food regulatory …

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Isabella Aldridge of Neat

Isabella Aldridge. Image supplied.

Interviews

Neat: “We Aim to Make Neat a Globally Recognized Name Synonymous With Quality, Convenience, and Innovation in Plant-Based Dining”

Plant-based fast food chain Neat Burger has recently announced a rebrand, dropping “Burger” from its name to become simply Neat. The change heralds a new era for the brand, which will now shift its focus towards fresher, healthier dishes in line with evolving consumer demands. Launched in 2019, Neat has four locations in London along with international locations in Milan and New York City. Following the opening of the NYC restaurant last year, Neat reported that sales had beaten expectations, and the company subsequently raised $18 million in Series B funding. Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton is a long-time backer, and the chain has also previously received investment from Leonardo DiCaprio. Isabella Aldridge, Head of Brand & Marketing at Neat, told us more about the …

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oatly organic

©Oatly

Politics & Law

Oatly Agrees to $9.25M Settlement Over Allegations of Overstated Environmental Claims

Swedish oat drink company Oatly has agreed to a $9.25 million settlement following allegations of greenwashing. The lawsuit, initiated by investor Kai Jochims in July 2021, claimed that Oatly’s promotional strategies had led to “artificial” inflation of its share prices by overstating product demand and environmental credentials. This settlement comes after a mediation session held in October, although it is still awaiting final court approval. The lawsuit against Oatly surfaced shortly after the company’s successful $1.4 billion initial public offering (IPO), when the trading price of the company’s US shares dipped approximately 9%. This decline was attributed to accusations from a short-seller, labeling Oatly’s environmental claims as misleading. The consolidated lawsuit encompassed various investor complaints, centralizing around allegations of financial misrepresentation and exaggerated environmental sustainability …

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Pamela Anderson joins vegan skincare brand Sonsie Skin

© Sonsie Skin

Cosmetics & Bodycare

Pamela Anderson Joins Vegan Skincare Brand Sonsie Skin as Owner & Co-Founder

Actress Pamela Anderson has acquired vegan skincare brand Sonsie Skin, and will now join the company as co-founder. Anderson is a longtime vegan, known for her animal rights activism and partnerships with vegan brands. Last year, she attracted attention by attending a fashion show without makeup, and has continued to make appearances barefaced ever since. She is now taking a new approach to beauty, focusing on skin health and self-acceptance rather than perfection. The aim is to inspire consumers who feel pressured by social norms to “embrace their most vulnerable self”. “To me, true beauty is about celebrating authenticity. I want to look like myself, feel like myself, and that means taking care of myself — inside and out,” said Anderson. Minimalist skincare Sonsie Skin …

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Hungry Planet crab cakes

© Hungry Planet

Sustainability / Environment

Hungry Planet Among 65 Global Plant-Based Organizations Nominated for Earthshot Prize

Hungry Planet Foods announces that it has officially been nominated for Prince William’s Earthshot Prize, a global initiative that seeks to discover, celebrate, and scale innovative solutions that address the planet’s biggest environmental challenges by 2030.  The company creates plant-based meat alternatives, such as beef, chicken, pork, and crab, using ingredients like textured wheat protein, soy protein, and other plant ingredients. Hungry Planet states that its products are now served at thousands of food service venues across the US, including fine dining, fast casual, universities, and hospitals, along with various retail outlets and online via PlantX. Through its philanthropic arm, the company has also helped provide over 1 million meals to school children K-12. The Earthshot Prize, established in 2020 by Prince William and The …

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chicken bouillon Lallemand

© Lallemand

Ingredients

Vegan Flavor Market Gains Momentum Driven by Health Awareness of Plant-Based Diets

There is a growing demand for vegan-friendly options in the world of flavors. According to a recent report by Fact.MR, the vegan flavor market is expected to reach $18,324.3 million by 2034, with a projected CAGR of 5.2% from 2024 to 2034. One of the key drivers of the growth is the increasing awareness of the health benefits associated with plant-based diets. Additionally, growing concerns about environmental sustainability and animal welfare are prompting consumers to opt for vegan products, boosting the demand for vegan flavors.  Interestingly, the increasing exposure to diverse global cuisines, which feature plant-based ingredients and flavors, also influences the market’s growth. North America and China In this scenario, the vegan flavor market in North America is expected to experience robust growth in the coming …

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IFF has invested in high-moisture extrusion (HME) technology systems to support manufacturers in creating fibrous plant-based whole cuts.

Image courtesy of IFF

Manufacturing & Technology

IFF Installs High-Moisture Extrusion Systems to Drive Innovation in Plant-Based Meat Market with Whole Cuts

Food and beverage leader IFF (NYSE: IFF) announces that it has invested in high-moisture extrusion (HME) technology systems to support manufacturers in creating fibrous, plant-based whole cuts. The newly acquired HME systems, designed and manufactured by the global leader in extrusion technology, Coperion, feature exact powder and liquid feeders, ensuring high-quality production and remarkable flexibility, explains IFF.  They have been installed and are already operational at the company’s innovation hubs across Europe, the USA, and Singapore. According to the company, this initiative is part of its continuous efforts to offer solutions and services to the plant-based meat and fish industry. “Consumer demand for plant-based products that offer an experience akin to eating meat is huge, and HME is one of the best ways to meet it. …

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Happy Cow vegan cities 2024

© Happy Cow

Studies & Numbers

HappyCow’s 2024 Top Vegan-Friendly Cities Unveiled

Vegan restaurant and business directory HappyCow releases its annual Top Vegan-Friendly Cities list for 2024. This year’s list is a mix of returning players and new entrants, highlighting some reshuffling due to global economic concerns, resulting in the closure of many restaurants in key cities. The report ranks cities based on a multi-faceted approach, considering not only the number of exclusively vegan restaurants but also the presence of vegan-friendly businesses, their density in each city, and year-over-year growth. Additional qualitative factors include the availability of vegan consumer products, public vegan awareness, and the strength of local vegan communities. Bartek Filipowicz, Head of HappyCow, celebrates the list as a testament to the worldwide progress in vegan cuisine. He notes, “We are thrilled to share HappyCow’s annual …

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A picture of a mobil phone showing

Image courtesy of Eatable Adventures

About vegconomist

Reintroducing vegconomist as We Enter a New Year of Vegan Business News

Many readers have only become aware of vegconomist in the last year or so. So, as we enter 2024 with reinvigorated stamina and focus for a fresh year of news, it’s time for a reintroduction that summarises our business magazine, who we are, our editorial focus, and some facts you may not know about us. Our magazine was launched around 5.5 years ago, established in Germany where the German language platform continues, and the English language platform began a few months later, back in 2018. We remain an independent online business publication with a focus on the vegan economy, cultured products, and precision fermentation. Things you may not know about vegconomist We are a female-majority company. The entire team at the Global version is female …

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Investments & Finance

2024 Predictions: Investing in Food System Transformation is Here

Here, Elysabeth Alfano and Dr. Sasha Goodman of VegTech Invest give their predictions for 2024. “I do believe that plant-based and alternative proteins are in the right place at the right time! 2023 was such an odd year, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, at least as it pertains to investing in food systems transformation,” says Elysabeth. Predictions from VegTech Invest Chief Investment Officer, Dr. Sasha Goodman Continued Surge in Health-Conscious Consumer Spending in Plant-based Foods: The Plant-based Innovation sector is poised for substantial revenue growth in 2024, fueled by an expanding health-conscious consumer base. This trend, as seen in companies like Dole plc with a 42.9% sales increase and Vita Coco and Ingredion Incorporated’s strong earnings, reflects a …

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The Body Shop announces that it has become the world's first global beauty brand to offer a fully vegan portfolio certified by The Vegan Society.

© The Body Shop

Cosmetics & Bodycare

The Body Shop Becomes First Global Beauty Brand with 100% Vegan Portfolio Certified by The Vegan Society

The Body Shop announces that it has become the world’s first global beauty brand to offer a fully vegan portfolio certified by The Vegan Society — a milestone in cruelty-free cosmetics and body care. Now, hundreds of the brand’s products, encompassing skincare, body care, hair care, makeup, and fragrance, have 100% vegan formulations and carry the Vegan Trademark (products with old and discontinued formulations will be available for sale until depleted).  To obtain the global gold standard certification on the entire portfolio, over 4000 raw materials, including their suppliers and manufacturers, had to undergo The Vegan Society’s meticulous assessment, explains the vegan beauty retailer. “We did it! Every single product formulation from The Body Shop is now certified by The Vegan Society. We know that vegan …

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Researchers have presented a study with guiding principles to help policymakers accelerate a transition — fair for all— to a more sustainable and healthy food system.

© Вячеслав Думчев-stock.adobe.com

Politics & Law

President of WHO Calls for Shift to Plant-Based Diet to “Protect and Promote the Health of Both the People and the Planet”

In a move to integrate food systems into climate action, the president of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called for a shift toward plant-based diets to tackle the global health and climate crises.  In a declaration at COP 28, Adhanom said that the current food system harms people’s health by contributing to over 30% of greenhouse gas emissions and global diseases, including malnutrition.  He emphasized that delivering plant-based diets could save up to eight million lives annually and made public the organization’s commitment to supporting countries in implementing policies to improve diets and mitigate climate change. “Together, we can protect and promote the health of both the people and the planet,” he said. Anti-beef strategy With this declaration, the WHO has …

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Darko Mandich, CEO Melibio

Darko Mandich ©Melibio

Opinion

Op Ed: Darko Mandich, CEO of MeliBio, Discusses the Dark Side of the Honey Industry

Darko Mandich, as many of our readers will know, is the CEO of MeliBio, the Californian pioneer of bee-free honey. Founded in 2020, MeliBio replaces honeybees with microorganisms to create an award-winning B2B solution for restaurants and food companies looking to offer a more ethical and sustainable alternative to honey made by bees. We reached out to Darko following some recent anti-vegan publicity in the mainstream media and after seeing some negative comments on LinkedIn. We felt MeliBio should have the chance to express its (and the bees’) side of the story. Here is what Darko had to say. Unveiling the Dark Side of Honey: Pollinator Gentrification Threatens Biodiversity By Darko Mandich, CEO of MeliBio In an era of increasing environmental awareness, the honey industry …

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FAO conducted a foresight exercise to explore and evaluate future safety issues of plant-based food products, precision fermentation, and 3D food printing.

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Studies & Numbers

Are Plant-Based, Precision Fermentation, and 3D Printed Products Less Safe to Eat than Conventional Foods?

A recent meeting for food safety assessment on New Food Sources and Production Systems (NFPS) organized by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) conducted a foresight exercise to explore and evaluate future safety issues of plant-based, precision fermentation, and 3D printed food products. After the exercise and the evaluation of the current food safety standards, the meeting concluded that, in general, the food safety hazards of these NFPS are similar to those of conventional foods. However, they emphasize that new production and processing technologies can introduce unique conditions within a specific NFPS, requiring careful monitoring and consideration from a food safety standpoint. They also added that it was important always to consider the intended uses of final products when conducting safety assessments on …

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