Aisling Cullen, Founder, Thanks Plants.

Pictured is Aisling Cullen, Founder, Thanks Plants. Picture by Shane O'Neill, Coalesce.


Thanks Plants: “We Want to Be Known Europe-Wide for Great Ingredients and Clean-Label Products”

Ireland-based Thanks Plants was founded in 2020, with the aim of offering clean-label meat alternatives made from recognisable whole food ingredients. The concept proved hugely popular with Irish consumers, and Thanks Plants’ products — made predominantly from seitan, legumes, and vegetables — are now available at SuperValu and Fresh stores in Dublin, along with some independent retailers. Aldi Ireland also stocked a selection of the meat alternatives for six months this year, and Thanks Plants’ Festive Roast was available at Planet Organic stores in London last Christmas. The brand is now on a mission to expand beyond Ireland, entering countries with a high demand for healthy plant-based options. We spoke to founder Aisling Cullen to find out more about Thanks Plants and future plans for …


Two Spanish scientists have developed a clean label meat alternative using the Mediterranean legume carob and HPP tech.

© iLike Food Innovation

Manufacturing & Technology

Meet Leggie: Spain’s Clean Label Plant-Based Meat Crafted with Carob and HHP Tech

Leveraging the high-pressure processing (HPP) tech developed by the Spanish industrial equipment company Hiperbaric, Marta Miguel and Marta Garcés, two Spanish scientists from CSID and the Francisco de Vitoria University (UFV) have developed a clean-label meat alternative using the Mediterranean legume carob. Launched under the Leggie brand through iLike Food Innovation, the new plant-based meat is made with only six ingredients: rice flour (to texturize the matrix), carob, extra virgin olive oil, vegetable fiber, water, and salt. According to Miguel, Leggie’s plant-based meat is a healthier (promoting good digestion) and more balanced alternative than the similar options available in the market. Carob is richer in fiber than other legumes and contains a natural red color. Regarding sustainability, carob trees grow in arid climates and dry soils …


PerfectSeason beetroot patties

© PerfectSeason

Products & Launches

PerfectSeason Launches Award-Winning Clean-Label Alt Meats at Whole Foods UK

Danish company PerfectSeason has secured listings for what it claims are some of the world’s cleanest-label meat alternatives at Whole Foods Market in London. Three varieties will be available — beetroot patties, mushroom patties, and dill cakes. Rather than replicating the taste and texture of meat, the organic products are said to taste of unprocessed vegetables and spices. The aim is to help consumers make vegetables and pulses the main element of their meals, rather than relegating them to a side dish. Two of the products are award-winning, having been named Best Plant-Based Product of the Year by the Danish Vegetarian Association in 2021 and 2022 respectively. “Transparency is not good enough” PerfectSeason was founded in 2018 in Copenhagen, in response to the lack of …


© Novozymes

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Novozymes Launches New Clean-Label Biosolution for “Perfect Textures” in Plant-Based Meat

Novozymes (NASDAQ OMX: NZYM-B), one of the world’s largest providers of microbial technologies and enzymes, has launched Vertera®ProBite, a new clean-label product that the company claims delivers “perfect textures” in plant-based meat. The Danish company says that its new biosolution addresses consumers’ concerns about the texture and long ingredient lists of alt meat, ultimately encouraging more people to choose sustainable food options. A study conducted by the company shows that 95% of consumers think plant-based meat should improve. According to the 2023 Unmet Needs Discovery Survey by the Plant-Based Food Association, texture is the number one factor dissuading consumers from adopting plant-based alternatives. “Now’s the time to raise the (burger) bar and find perfect textures that consumers will love inside plants,” states Novozymes. Unlocking the potential …


Queen Margaret University develops alternative to palm oil

© Queen Margaret University


Scottish University Develops Sustainable & Clean Label Alternative to Palm Oil

Scientists at Scotland’s Queen Margaret University have developed a healthier and more sustainable alternative to palm oil. Called PALM-ALT, the ingredient is fully plant-based, made from a byproduct of the linseed industry along with fibre and rapeseed oil. Palm oil is considered problematic due to its environmental impact, with palm plantations a key driver of deforestation and habitat destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia. Despite this, the ingredient is still widely used in the food industry and elsewhere, as a replacement with the same properties is currently not available at a competitive cost. The development of a more sustainable alternative has the potential to reduce transport emissions as well as deforestation; PALM-ALT can be made exclusively with ingredients sourced from within the UK and the EU, …


a plant-based burger

Image courtesy of Kerry

Company News

Kerry Launches Science Research Hub to Find Sustainable Solutions to Food Waste

Leading taste and nutrition solutions company Kerry recently opened an innovation hub for food protection and preservation in Wageningen University’s Food Valley — home to cutting-edge food science research — in the Netherlands. At the innovation center, Kerry aims to unite academia and industry to find sustainable solutions to food waste by researching the microbiological aspects of food loss, waste prevention, and food protection. The new lab and offices will provide faster innovation and validation studies to customers in the region while operating in parallel with other preservation facilities worldwide.  Food waste Food production and waste contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s findings, an estimated one-third of food created for human consumption is lost or discarded, equaling a whopping …


Chewy chocolatey Dirtbag Bar offers consumers a clean-label snack

© Dirtbag Bar

Sweets & Snacks

Dirtbag Bar: A Chewy Wholefood Chocolate Bar With a Mission for Mental Health

Dirtbag Bar is a vegan chocolate bar created by Mark Andrew Gravel for consumers looking for healthier snacks for humans and the planet. The bar is organic, vegan, and free of GMOs and gluten. Based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Dirtbag is a purpose-driven company that raises money for mental and environmental health initiatives. A portion of its sales go to 1% for Mental Health — a social impact project broadening access to mental health care — along with 1% for the Planet, a philanthropic organization working to drive positive change. Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Month, Dirtbag has announced that its website will be live in mid-May, with plans to ship its product nationwide across the US. Clean ingredients Described as “clean and light”, Dirtbag Bar contains …


The Live Green Co - Team Picture

© The LiveGreen Co

Business Insiders

The Plant Revolution: Clean Label Food Needs to Be The Norm, Not the Exception

Priyanka “Pri” Srinivas, founder and CEO of The Live Green Co, here writes a special guest article for vegconomist, putting forth her thoughts on why companies in the health food industry need to get on board with clean label products. Perspectives on healthy eating have been shifting significantly worldwide, inaugurating a general “green” trend moving towards more plant-based and sustainable diets. It was shown that plant-only eating doubled in continental Europe between 2016 and 2020 and another report found the number of vegans in the United States rocketed up by 500% over a similar time period.  While it is important that this “plant revolution” retains its authenticity and credibility, even vegan ‘meats’ can fall into the newly recognized category of ‘ultra-processed’ food, which has been …


The ISH Company

Christie Fleming ©The ISH Company


The ISH Company: “More Than 25 Products in the Works That Have the Same Taste & Texture of Animal Products”

The ISH Company is a US startup taking a unique approach to producing “deliciously disruptive” plant-based seafood. ISH stands for Innovative, Healthy and Sustainable, and the company says it is devoted to creating superior seafood alternatives that don’t compromise on taste or ingredients. Founded by sustainability veteran Bernard David, ISH’s portfolio includes an extensive range of future offerings, from plant-based cod and salmon to lobster and crab. The startup’s flagship product, the ultra realistic Shrimpish, is now available at select US food service locations. We spoke with ISH President and COO Christie Fleming about this impressive startup and its ambitious goals to transform the alt-seafood category. Please tell our readers more about The ISH Company – how did it begin and what kind of products …


Abbot's Butcher plant-based Ground "Beef" and Chopped Chick'n available at Sprouts Farmers Market.

©Abbot's Butcher

Retail & E-Commerce

Abbot’s Butcher Launches Clean-Label Chorizo and Chopped Chick’n at US Sprouts Markets

Abbot’s Butcher, maker of clean-label plant-based proteins, announces the debut of its “Chorizo” and Chopped Chick’n in all 370 Sprouts Farmers Markets across the US.  The natural retailer will carry the products in its refrigerated case. Made with 100% whole food ingredients, Abbot’s Butcher’s proteins are free from soy, gluten, preservatives, natural and artificial flavors, canola oil, and the top nine allergens. The products are also Non-GMO Project Verified and the first plant-based meat line to receive Whole30 approval. “Launching with Sprouts is an incredibly exciting step for us,” said Founder & CEO Kerry Song. “There is an undeniable shift taking place in how consumers are thinking about their food, and they are actively seeking out food made with ingredients that truly nourish their bodies. …


Vegan clean-label mushroom burger


Fungi, Mushrooms & Mycelium

Shroomeats: Disrupting the Status Quo with “Revolutionary” Upcycled Mushroom Meat

Mushrooms are quickly becoming a top ingredient of choice for many alt-protein brands and startups, thanks to their exploding popularity as a highly functional and sustainable food with a pleasing taste. However, mushrooms currently do not star as the top ingredient in most plant-based meats. Shroomeats, founded by Thai native Dissaya Theerakaosal, seeks to disrupt this status quo and launch a new trend for cleaner-label, mushroom-based meat alternatives.  First launched in 2019 as a frozen product, the US-based Shroomeats now sells a line of shelf-stable vegan meats made from upcycled shitake mushrooms. Containing just six ingredients, Shroomeats’ line includes Mushroom Patties, Meatballs, and Shred-It (a shredded product.)  The brand says its simple list of ingredients – shiitake mushroom, pea protein, sunflower oil, salt, pepper, potato …


Healthy Vegan Burgers

©NoBull Burgers

Food & Beverage

Meet NoBull Burger: A “True” Veggie Burger Leading the Movement for Whole Food Ingredients

In the past decade, countless plant-based burgers have debuted on the global retail market, seeking either to recreate the experience of eating beef or to offer classic garden-style patties made of veggies, grains and legumes. However, many such products have been accused of compromising on quality by containing excessively processed ingredients or lacking in taste and flavor.  NoBull Burger was launched to bring healthy change. Founded by mother and chef Chrissanne Raymond, NoBull burgers are made exclusively from 100% “close-to-the-earth” whole ingredients, such as organic lentils, grains and roasted veggies. Most importantly, the brand claims, its products offer truly delicious flavor, and provides consumers with a clean and versatile source of plant-based protein.  According to the brand, Raymond began making veggie burgers in 1970 using …


Millow woman eating

© Millow

Fungi, Mushrooms & Mycelium

Introducing Millow: “The Purest Meat Analog Ever” Made of Mycelium and Oats

Sweden’s Millow is an alt meat company leveraging the power of mycelium and the nutritional profile of oats to produce a clean-label and versatile meat analog that can be fried, baked, barbequed, or roasted. “The purest analog ever”, “Nothing artificial, non-MO, zero binders, pure wholefood, easily digestible, high protein, high fibre, low water usage, land responsible, cruelty-free,” says Millow on its website. Based in Gothenburg, the company uses a revolutionary in-house biotechnology called MUTE — Mycelium Utilized Texture Engineering — developed by Professor Mohammad Taherzadeh, who has been researching mycelium as a potentially sustainable and nutritious functional food for more than 25 years. A new category of meat alternatives? Millow’s proprietary process differs from solid-state, submerged, or biomass fermentation. Instead, the company’s tech is based on …


Clean-Label Vegan Burger

©Great American Plant Co.

Company News

The Great American Plant Co: A Private Label Helping Retailers and Restaurants to Offer Lower Cost Plant-Based Products

As higher prices for plant-based proteins continue to challenge sales, one company is launching to help retailers and restaurants offer more affordable plant-based meats under their own brands. The Great American Plant Co. (GAPC) is a private-label manufacturer offering a line of plant-based foods, including burgers, meatballs and sausages, to retailers and food service operators.  What sets GAPC apart, the company states, is its focus on clean-label ingredients and lower prices; compared to major competitors, GAPC’s products wholesale for 10-20% less than other leading brands. In addition, GAPC’s proteins are wholly sourced and manufactured in North America, creating what it calls a ‘significantly smaller’ environmental footprint than its competitors.  “Great products that delight consumers” Founded in Dallas in 2020, GAPC offers a line of pea …



Products & Launches

PlantBaby Launches Mac Nut Kiki Milk as First Organic, Clean-Label Macadamia Nut Milk

Innovative nutrition company PlantBaby announces the launch of Mac Nut Kiki Milk, the first all-organic, clean-label macadamia nut milk. Available in shelf-stable 32 oz. cartons, Mac Nut Kiki Milk is made exclusively with organic whole food and superfood ingredients, and contains more macadamia nuts per serving than leading competitors, the company states.  As PlantBaby’s first nut-forward product offering, the new milk is said to boast a healthier nutritional profile and richer flavor than other macadamia-based milks, and is made with naturally nutrient-rich ingredients and dairy-free calcium. Shelf-stable for up to 12 months, the product’s ingredients include organic macadamia nuts, cashews, brazil nuts, sprouted pumpkin seeds, oats, coconut sugar, coconuts, and seaplant vitamin Aquamin™.  Like all PlantBaby products, Mac Nut Kiki Milk is fully organic and …


planetaria's plant ribs

© Planet Ribs

Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Planetarians Raises $6M to Upscale Vegan Meat From Upcycled Ingredients

B2B plant-based foods company Planetarians has raised $6 million in a Seed II investment round to produce at a commercial scale its vegan meat blocks and supply the food service industry.  The food technology company has invested seven years in R&D to develop a sustainable, low cost alternative to meat made only from two upcycled ingredients: oil cakes and brewer’s yeast.  The raised funds will be used to build a pilot facility capable of producing tons of vegan blocks per year and move to a commercial production phase. Mindrock led the investment round, joined by Traction Fund, Techstars, SOSV, and AB InBev, the company behind some of the world’s largest beer brands and Planetarians brewers’ yeast supplier, committed to recycling barley and yeast from its brewing …


peanut-based pulled chicken

Peanut-based pulled chicken. Image courtesy of Haofood

Products & Launches

Haofood Launches Umami-Packed ‘Carefree Pulled Chickless’ Chicken Made of Peanuts

Chinese peanut-based chicken brand Haofood has announced the launch of its latest innovation — Carefree Pulled Chickless (轻享素素肌™) — a clean-label plant-based chicken “with a strong umami sensation” at various restaurants and DTC in China. The new peanut-based chicken comes in three flavours — Original, Xinjiang Spices, and Salt & Pepper — and the company claims it is free from artificial additives, preservatives, thickeners, water retention agents, colourings, flavourings, and MSG, offering a high-quality nutritional profile. Astrid Prajogo, Haofood’s founder and CEO, shared: “Clean-label products will be more favourable for consumers, as one of the main reasons to choose plant-based products is for health benefits. The consumer demands the assurance that they are eating the healthiest and safest food product and, at the same time, that it …


Michroma Natural Food Colorings


Investments & Finance

Michroma Closes $6.4M in Seed to Commercialize ‘High Performance’ Natural Food Colorings From Mushrooms

Precision fermentation startup Michroma announces it has closed $6.4M in seed financing to fast-track commercialization of its sustainable, mushroom-derived natural food coloring. The round, led by General Mills-backed Supply Chain Capital, will also help the startup expand research and development capabilities and broaden its ingredient platform.  Founded in 2019, Michroma is working to disrupt the global ingredients industry with high-performance colorants made from fungi through precision fermentation. To achieve this, Michroma focuses on creating ‘fungal biofactories’ to produce small molecules, like colors, more efficiently. “We see compelling market and consumer potential for Michroma’s fungal platform to create next-generation natural ingredients, from colorants to flavors, that are healthier and more sustainable while maximizing production efficiency,” said Noramay Cadena, Supply Change Capital’s Managing Director and Michroma Board …


Veggie Grill Bacon Cup

©Veggie Grill

Gastronomy & Food Service

Hooray Foods’ Crispy Vegan Bacon Now Served at All Veggie Grill Locations

Alt-bacon brand Hooray Foods announces its innovative plant-based bacon is now available at Veggie Grill – the world’s leading fast-casual vegan restaurant chain. The bacon can now be ordered at all of Veggie Grill’s 35 US locations. Veggie Grill is featuring the crispy bacon – made from rice flour, pea starch and coconut oil – in a signature vegan BLT Avocado Croissant, with romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes, Dijonnaise, and mashed avocado on a croissant roll. The bacon is also available as an add-on to a variety of other menu items, such as salads, sandwiches, and sides. “It’s a huge win for us to be able to bring Hooray bacon to a family of restaurants that share our commitment to offering delicious and sustainable plant-based options,” …


Dirty Vegan

© Dirty Vegan

Products & Launches

Matt Pritchard’s Dirty Vegan Launches Alt Meats Made From Fermented Veg

In 2018, vegan athlete and former professional skateboarder Matt Pritchard hosted the UK’s first ever vegan cookery show, Dirty Vegan. Two series (and two cookbooks) later, Pritchard has announced the launch of a plant-based food brand of the same name. The range will feature meat alternatives made with fermented vegetables, designed to promote gut health so that “the more you eat, the better you will feel”. The first products to launch are burgers, sausages, and meatballs. They are free of additives and saturated fat, while also being very high in protein — the burger contains 20 grams. On social media, Pritchard said the brand aims to launch for both retail and food service. Dirty Vegan is also working alongside food service outlets to design plant-based …