It seems that every week in vegan food news is more exciting than the last and this week is no exception. Babybel’s dairy-free cheeses are making their way to store shelves, including at Costco where eagle-eyed vegans have spotted 32-packs of these plant-based babies. Baseball season is here and the only way to celebrate is with a vegan Dodger Dog—which you can now get delivered nationwide. And Trader Joe’s just won’t quit launching new vegan products and this week, it’s all about dairy-free nacho dip. Read on for more.  

1Babybel dairy-free cheeses come to Costco

We’re finally living in a time when our favorite childhood snacks get vegan makeovers and that’s true for Babybel’s iconic wax-covered snacking cheeses. French company Bel Group is committed to stepping into the modern era of food by reimagining all of its core products—which include Boursin, Babybel, and Laughing Cow cheeses. The company’s first step in this direction was the 2020 launch of a dairy-free Boursin, which it developed in a Garlic & Herbs flavor with the help of vegan brand Follow Your Heart.

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Next, the 150-year-old dairy brand tackled Babybel cheeses with the release of Plant-Based Babybel cheese. The dairy-free cheeses began rolling out in the US in March after they were first introduced in the United Kingdom via major retailer Sainsbury’s in January. This week, the little dairy-free Babybels—which come wrapped in green wax—were spotted by our friend @BigBoxVegan in bulk 32-cheese packs at Costco stores for $12.99.  That’s because the vegan cheeses are now rolling out to select Costco locations in the Southeast, Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, and Sam’s Club with additional retailers to come.  

“Babybel is an iconic cheese brand, so it was imperative that we delivered a plant-based offering that met the expectations our consumers have when it comes to taste, texture and quality,” Melanie Nemoy, Brand Director at Babybel, said in a statement. “At the end of the day, our fans had the final say on this product after numerous rounds of tasting and refinement.”

What’s next? Bel Brands is currently working to perfect a dairy-free version of its Laughing Cow wedges and hopes to bring them to market sometime in 2023. 

2Baseball season starts with vegan Dodger Dogs 

MLB season officially started this week and to kick off the festivities, vegan brand Field Roast and culinary icon Roy Choi are bringing vegan Dodger Dogs to baseball fans everywhere. Together, the duo designed the Vegan “Stadium Dog” Hot Dog Kit ($45.95 plus shipping) which is now available for nationwide delivery via Goldbelly. The hot dog kit was born out of a multi-year collaboration between Field Roast and Choi—a pioneer of the Los Angeles food truck scene with his Korean fusion Kogi Truck. 

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The kit serves six people and is packed with Field Roast’s signature stadium dogs (a double-smoked hot dog the brand released last year), vegan cheese shreds from its sister brand Chao Creamery, vegan hot dog buns, Choi’s original Koji slaw, and Koji sauce. For baseball lovers in Los Angeles, the popular Dodger Dog—served at select stadium concessions—got a vegan makeover during last MLB season and also features Field Roast Signature Stadium Dog with a choice of toppings. 

3Earl of Sandwich gets into vegan barbecue

Earl of Sandwich has a near monopoly on royalty-themed sandwich chains—next to Burger King, the king of burgers, of course—and the noble sandwich shop is becoming much more vegan-friendly. Back in January, the chain added its first plant-based hot sandwich, Vegan Cannonballs!, to its permanent menu. The hearty handheld features ​​vegan meatballs, dairy-free mozzarella, meatless marinara, and Italian seasoning.

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This week, the Earl of Sandwich announced a new (and exciting) limited-time offer: The Vegan BBQ. A sandwich fit for an Earl (or Duke even), this one features vegan chicken, dairy-free pepper jack cheese, vegan slaw, onions, and barbecue sauce. The Vegan BBQ sandwich is now at participating Earl of Sandwich locations for a limited time where it is prepared alongside non-vegan items. 

4Beyond Meat comes to Rite Aid

Starting this week, Rite Aid shoppers at approximately 2,000 locations can pick up Beyond Meat products alongside their toilet paper, household cleaning supplies, and beauty products. The vegan brand’s Beyond Burger and Beyond Meatballs will be sold in the frozen section at Rite Aid, where Beyond Meat hopes to reach a slew of new customers. 

“Our goal is to make plant-based meat available to consumers, wherever they shop. With convenience being key for meal prep, we’re making it easier than ever to incorporate Beyond Meat into your next meal by offering our products at Rite Aid locations nationwide,” Deanna Jurgens, Chief Growth Officer at Beyond Meat, said in a statement. “Expanding our presence across retail channels, including drugstores, is a natural next step as we aim to bring nutritious and sustainable plant-based protein to even more communities across the country.”

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Beyond Meat already cracked the drugstore category with a launch at 7,000 CVS locations in 2020. Its expansion into Rite Aid means that plant-based meat will become even more accessible—a good thing for animals, people, and the planet. 

“We are proud to partner with Beyond Meat to provide our customers with additional healthy food options,” Erik Keptner, Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer at Rite Aid, said in a statement. “By offering the Beyond Burger and Beyond Meatballs across the vast majority of our stores, we are catering to our consumers’ growing demand for products that support their lifestyle.”

5Trader Joe’s gets spicy with vegan nacho dip

From dairy-free Tzatziki to Caramelized Onion to Buffalo, we’re pretty blown away by Trader Joe’s growing collection of vegan dips. This week, we’re welcoming Vegan Nacho Dip to our party platters. The new dip is $3.99 per eight-ounce container and is made with a base of organic cashews, coconut oil, tapioca starch, and is colored using fruit and vegetable juices. 

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Some customers have speculated that this is a direct replacement for TJ’s Cashew Fiesta Dip that the grocery chain introduced in 2018 and discontinued a few months ago. However, this dip is entirely gluten-free, is not made with potatoes (like the fiesta was), and tastes a little creamier. 

6New dairy-free ice cream at Walmart

For a sweet finish, this week we’re celebrating the launch of KLIMON vegan ice cream at Walmart stores nationwide. The brand’s first line of ice cream is made with a proprietary almond-based blend that gives it a dairy-like creaminess without any of the downsides of dairy. 

The new pints are available in five creative flavors: Morning Brew (coffee ice cream base with almonds and a fudge swirl); Caramel Brûlée (salted caramel ice cream with chocolate cookie crumbs and a caramelized sugar swirl); Cherry Bomb (cherry ice cream with real Bordeaux cherry chunks and a cherry swirl); Mint Condition (mint ice cream with mini chocolate chips and a fudge swirl); and Sunrise Bang (a creamy orange ice cream with cream flavored swirl). 

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“We are so proud to be partnering with Walmart for the launch of our brand, and to continue to leave our mark on the plant-based food revolution,” Alex Cotraviwat, CEO and Founder of Jaback Group (Developer of the KLIMON brand), said in a statement.

Walmart is becoming a vegan ice cream destination and KLIMON’s pints will share shelf space with JD Vegan, an Atlanta-inspired vegan ice cream brand launched last year by legendary producer (and longtime vegan) Jermaine Dupri. 

For the latest vegan news, read:
Heard of the McPlant? Why McDonald’s Netherlands Is Getting the “McYam”
New Study Shows How a Vegan Diet Can Lower Diabetes Risk
How Vegan ‘Vikings’ Star Sam Corlett Got So Fit (Mushrooms Were Involved)

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