It seems that every week in the world of vegan food is more exciting than the last and this week is no exception. While the details are still hush, it looks like Starburst will be giving gummy candy fans a gelatin-free option in the coming months. And speaking of sweet treats, TCHO is ditching dairy to become a totally vegan company. Over in Asia, Noble Jerky—a vegan meat company launched by meat industry veterans—is giving China a taste of its plant-based jerky, and massive chain Café de Coral is treating diners to a vegan version of classic dish Pork Claypot Rice thanks to OmniFood’s popular vegan pork. Read on for more.
1Gelatin-Free Starburst is on the way
Starburst was developed in the United Kingdom in 1960 and there, it does not contain gelatin—which is sourced from collagen found in animal bones. While that might sound like an icky thing to have in your candy, Starburst has never offered a gelatin-free version of any of its candies in the United States. But that may soon change.
This week, Starburst took to its Instagram stories with a photo that stopped us in our tracks: a little pink baggie emblazoned with the message “Plant Based Gummies” depicting classic orange, lemon, cherry, and strawberry flavors. While we wait to hear back from its parent company Mars Wrigley, we can’t help but wonder: are vegan pink strawberry chews next?
2 TCHO is going vegan
Chocolate brand TCHO is done with dairy and will be ditching the animal product entirely by 2023 in order to set a new standard in the artisan chocolate industry. Its professional products, used by bakeries and restaurants nationwide, will be ditching dairy even sooner in 2022. Instead of using dairy products—which carry a large carbon footprint compared to their plant-based counterparts—TCHO will focus on new bases such as cashew butter and oat milk. TCHO is showcasing its vegan innovation in six new bars which will eventually replace its dairy chocolate offerings.
“Reducing our reliance on dairy is one of the quickest ways TCHO can lighten our impact on the environment,” Josh Mohr, Vice President of Marketing at TCHO, said in a statement. “While this will not be an easy transition for us, we know it’s the right one.”
To sweeten the deal, TCHO’s packaging is now fully recyclable and made with 100-percent post-consumer waste paper and certified compostable film.
3 Treeline gets into vegan goat cheese
Treeline started its French-inspired vegan cheese business in New York’s Hudson Valley in 2011 and continues to innovate the category with the recent launch of vegan goat cheese. Now, we’d be happy with just one plain ol’ vegan goat cheese—since easily accessible options are few and far between—but Treeline gave us three: a plain and versatile Original, the herbaceous Garlic & Basil, and a fruity Blueberry.
Made with ethically sourced cashews from Brazil that are ground into a cream and then fermented to produce deep and complex flavors, Treeline’s goat cheeses are meant to be used in a variety of ways.
Treeline’s vegan goat cheese is now available through its own website and is scheduled to launch at stores in Spring 2022.
4 OmniFood’s vegan Pork Claypot Rice hits Café de Coral
This week an iconic dish got a vegan makeover thanks to a partnership between two Hong Kong companies: plant-based food-tech company OmniFoods and popular restaurant chain Café de Coral. The duo collaborated to make the dish, swapping pork from pigs for pork from plants (OmniPork). The result is an indulgent dish that doesn’t harm animals or the planet.
“The unprecedented collaboration marks two local brands in Hong Kong introducing an authentic Hong Kong-styled dish, which has been received with great reception from customers, representing another milestone of our group,” OmniFoods founder David Yeung said in a statement. “We share the mission to promote sustainability, to spearhead a revolutionary change in the market … We are eager to launch more collaborations with OmniFoods products, indulging customers with plant-based delicacies while tackling environmental crises together.”
Find the new vegan dish at more than 160 locations of Café de Coral across Hong Kong.
5 Urbani Foods’ vegan jerky lands in China
The Urbani family produced meat products for 50 years until CEO Claudio Urbani realized that feeding a growing world population with animal products was not sustainable. In 2018, Urbani Foods was formed and it now makes vegan jerky using a half century of meat industry expertise. The vegan jerky has been available at various retailers since and expanded into Walmart locations across Canada.
This week, Urbani Foods’ expanded distribution of its plant-based Noble Jerky to serve the steadily growing vegan population of China—where there are more vegans than the entire population of Australia. Urbani Foods vegan jerky is now available at 36 Sam’s Club locations.
“Our desire to make plant-based protein snacks accessible to everyone reflects this new expansion—and it is hardly our last one,” Urbani Foods Co-Founder Jordan Urbani said in a statement. “Noble’s core mission is to help our local and global communities live better and healthier lives—today, we extend a special thank you to Sam’s Club China, together we will make vegan accessible and effortless to everyone in the country.”
6 Beyond Meat gets even meatier in a new way
And for the last bit of vegan news this week, we’ve got something meaty. The two newest C-suite members of Beyond Meat—one of the main companies driving the plant-based revolution—are Doug Ramsey and Bernie Adcock. Who are Doug and Bernie, you ask? They used to work for a little company named Tyson for 30 years apiece. Both executives bring decades of knowledge to Beyond Meat and will help it scale globally.
Also, it turns out that Ramsey was President of Tyson’s McDonald’s business and it’s no coincidence that Beyond Meat is currently working with the fast-food giant to develop plant-based menu items under its McPlant platform. We’re lovin’ it!
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