It seems that every week in the world of vegan food news is more exciting than the last and this week is no exception. Australians can finally get a taste of the McPlant at 270 McDonald’s locations in Victoria. Over in the United Kingdom, popular vegan brand THIS is getting its plant-based bacon, chicken, and sausages into freezers at Sainsbury’s for the first time. And in the United States, an outrageous 16-scoop vegan ice cream sundae will soon hit the menu at Dear Bella Creamery. Read on for more.
1McDonald’s McPlant expands to Australia
International fast-food giant McDonald’s has been making progress on the plant-based front thanks to a multi-year partnership with Beyond Meat. The two companies partnered in 2021 to develop the McPlant platform which will result in multiple, region-specific plant-based launches across the globe. Thus far, the partnership has produced the McPlant, McDonald’s first burger made with a plant-based meat patty.
McDonald’s first began testing the McPlant in European markets, including Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Austria. In October 2021, the McPlant landed at MCDonald’s in the United Kingdom where it is served vegan as-is, dairy-free cheese and all. McDonald’s home country, the United States, got its first taste of the McPlant—which is served with dairy products—last November when the fast-food chain put the burger on the menu at eight locations. McDonald’s expanded the test to 600 additional US locations in February of this year but has yet to announce a national rollout.
This week, McDonald’s is continuing its global test of the McPlant, this time in Australia where 270 “Macca’s” in Victoria added the burger for a limited time. Here, like in the UK, the McPlant is served with non-vegan components such as cheese and mayonnaise. “Through this trial, McDonald’s Australia will learn more about customer demand for the McPlant and how this new menu item impacts restaurant kitchen operations, which will inform future menu decisions locally,” McDonald’s Australia said in a statement.
2TMRW Foods’ vegan meat gets $2 million boost
This week, Canadian vegan brand TMRW Foods raised $2 million with the help of investors such as TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good and Philip Donne (former CEO of Kellogg’s Canada). A sister company of vegan pizza shop Virtuous Pie, the Vancouver-based company first came to market in 2020 with a plant-based burger made with a mixture of quinoa, kidney beans, split peas, hemp hearts, and sunflower seeds. Since then, it has developed eight products that serve to replace animal-derived pork, beef, chicken, and fish.
“We feel tremendously fortunate to be able to surround ourselves with values aligned, impact driven investors that fuel our ability to execute on our mission,” Dean Blignaut, Co-Founder and CEO of TMRW, said in a statement. “TMRW believes the key to plant-based success is to relentlessly pursue the creation of plant-proteins that are more flavorful, more nutritious and more accessible than those in existence today. Everything we do is with that goal in mind. It’s only through meeting the fundamental needs and expectations of the masses that we will create a solution that leads to a more sustainable food system.”
This new investment comes after a $3 million funding round last year that helped to fuel its international expansion, making its products available to US consumers through online grocery platform GTFO It’s Vegan. With the new funding, TMRW will launch its eight products across the US with Sprouts Farmers Market in August this year.
3Kourtney Kardashian’s favorite vegan chicken lands at NYC eatery
If you’ve been keeping up with the Kardashians you know that some of them have been big on endorsing plant-based products lately and that’s true when it comes to Kourtney Kardashian and her new husband Travis Barker. Known as “Kravis,” the couple recently partnered with Daring Foods on a steamy advertisement in which they could not keep their hands off its plant-based chicken (or each other).
Ellen von Unwerth
Looking to get your hands on Daring’s chicken, as well? The brand is expanding its presence on restaurant menus and this week, its vegan chicken landed at all four New York City locations of Mexican eatery Jajaja. Daring’s realistic vegan chicken is now part of three new menu items: Mole Tamal, Pollo Fresco Burrito, and Pollo Coco Tacos. In NYC, Daring’s chicken can also be found on the menu at Juice Press, Beauty & Essex, Sugar Freak, Go Vegan, Just Salad, &pizza, and TAO.
Not on the East Coast? The sought-after chicken is hitting menus nationwide, including at Los Angeles area chain Monty’s Good Burger, where its new gluten-free breaded tenders are ready for dippin’ into dairy-free ranch, sriracha aioli, and more.
4UK brand THIS gets more shelf space
British brand THIS has stocked its clever plant-based meat products in the chilled section of grocery stores since it launched in 2019. Now, THIS is expanding into the frozen category for the first time with THIS Isn’t Chicken Tenders, THIS Isn’t Pork Sausages and THIS Isn’t Chicken Nugget, which recently hit Sainsbury’s grocery stores across the United Kingdom.
Shovel and fellow restaurateur Pete Sharman created THIS with the mission of developing hyper-realistic meat to compete with, and eventually surpass, animal meat. The brand’s new frozen offerings allow for more convenience during a time when consumer data shows that younger shoppers are increasingly buying more frozen foods.
“The overall growth of frozen meat-free has been pretty level the last few years,” Shovel said in a statement. “But when you look at how Gen Z-ers are taking to it and how our brand resonates with them it felt like a no-brainer to launch our own frozen range. Plant-based products like ours can help provide a long-term boom for frozen food.’’
When will other regions get a taste of THIS? The company recently surpassed its crowdfunding goal of £4 million on Seedrs with a plan to use its new £6 million in funding to expand internationally.
5Dear Bella’s supersized dairy-free sundae
Have you ever walked into a vegan ice cream shop and thought, “What if I just get a scoop of each flavor and call it a day?” Well, Los Angeles-based shop Dear Bella Creamery’s new creation is making your wildest dreams a reality.
In honor of National Ice Cream Day (July 17), Dear Bella’s co-owner chef Belinda Wei concocted the outrageous Super Scoop Sundae which features 16 scoops of ice cream in every flavor under the sun: Taiwanese Pineapple Cake, Strawberry Fields, Tiki Colada, Sweet Rice Milk Hojicha, Strawberry Yuzu, Bright Champagne Vinegar Peach Crisp, Cookie Monsta, Coffee Chip, Campfire S’mores, Chocolate Brownie, Blueberry Cheesecake, Mint Fudge Cookie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies ‘n Cream, Peanut Butter Cup, and Horchata Latte with Churro Chunks.
Dear Bella Creamery
What about toppings, you say? The sundae comes covered with chocolate sandwich cookie bites, brownie chunks, chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, bee-free honeecomb, hot fudge, magic shell sauce, salted caramel sauce, strawberry sauce, toasted almonds, and whipped cream.
“This is an exciting year for Dear Bella Creamery. We launched national shipping and are gearing up to open our second store,” Chef Wei told VegNews. “We wanted to celebrate National Ice Cream Day in a big way. Our Super Scoop Sundae is the ultimate sampler of all our creative, seasonal scoops and toppings. It’s perfect for sharing but we won’t judge if you want to keep it all to yourself.”
The sundae will be available at Dear Bella’s in Hollywood for $45 for dine-in only on July 17 while supplies last. We’re telling you about it early so you have time to make travel plans with 10 of your closest ice cream-loving buds.
For the latest vegan news, read:
This Cell-Cultured Yogurt Proves We Don’t Need Animals To Make Dairy
Beyond Meat Arrives at Disneyland Paris
The Largest Avocado Study Ever Has Good News for Your High Cholesterol