It seems that every week in the world of vegan food news is more exciting than the last and this week is no exception. We’re smack dab in the middle of the holiday season and Virgin Atlantic is improving travel with new vegan snacks. On the ground, Divine Chocolate is giving us a new thin, crunchy sweet treat, too.
Plus, from Miyoko’s Creamery to Daiya Foods and Laughing Cow, vegan cheese is having a big news week. Read on for more.
1Snackable chocolate crisps
This holiday season, Divine Chocolate is re-launching its popular Crispy Thins in newly designed packaging. This light, crunchy treat comes in four flavors, including the vegan-friendly Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate with Mint. All varieties combine Divine’s fair-trade chocolate with puffed rice and are available at selected stores, Amazon, and Divine Chocolate’s online store.
“We’re thrilled to bring back our Crispy Thins with a new look that perfectly embodies our brand’s ethos and the delectable taste of these snacks,” Troy Pearley, Executive Vice President and General Manager for North America at Divine Chocolate, said in a statement.
“These addictive treats were worth the wait as our new look beautifully reflects both our brand and how delicious these thins taste,” Pearley said.
Based in the UK, Divine Chocolate has operated for 25 years and is focused on combating exploitation in the cocoa industry, promoting women’s empowerment, advancing adult education, and various sustainability initiatives.
2Vegan chorizo, hot dogs, and jackfruit meat at Publix
Chicago-based Upton’s Naturals is expanding its reach by introducing its vegan meat products in more than 1,300 Publix stores starting January 2024. This self-funded vegan food company will offer Publix customers a range of plant-based options, including Chorizo Seitan, Traditional Seitan, Updog Vegan Hot Dogs, Bar-B-Que Jackfruit, and Chili Lime Jackfruit.
Plus, the vegan brand is increasing its presence in Sprouts Farmers Market, where 400 stores will feature Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan in their refrigerated meat alternatives section from early December.
Daniel Staackmann, a dedicated vegan, founded Upton’s Naturals over 17 years ago. The company has been at the forefront of plant-based food innovation, introducing the first pre-seasoned seitan in 2006 and leading the jackfruit trend.
Upton’s Naturals emphasizes simple ingredients and familiar flavors, making it popular among plant-based consumers.
“Expanding into Publix stores has been a business goal for many years,” Staackmann said. “[This] underscores our belief that delicious foods made with real, recognizable ingredients will always be in demand regardless of trends.”
3Virgin Atlantic’s vegan snacks
Holiday travel is stressful no matter how you slice it. But trips are always better when airlines stock up on vegan treats. At Virgin Atlantic, flights have stocked up on new options, including LoveRaw’s Cream Wafer Bars, a caramelized biscuit now available to Upper Class and Premium customers.
For something heartier, the airline’s Upper Class menu now features a Beyond Burger (served with pickled onions, vegan cheese, and vegan mayonnaise) and new double salted caramel or lemon sorbet flavors of Northern Block’s plant-based ice cream. In the Premium cabin, customers can order panko-coated tofu with katsu vegetable curry.
“We’re delighted to introduce our new onboard menu, marking the return of the season that makes our customers crave some winter sun,” Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said in a statement.
“At Virgin Atlantic we’re always looking to create memorable moments onboard, which is why we strive to offer an unmatched, contemporary, and extensive selection of dishes across our cabins,” Koster said.
4Kraft’s new vegan mac and cheese
Our forks have been ready for this moment for what feels like an eternity: Kraft’s vegan mac and cheese is starting to hit stores this week.
The new Kraft NotMac&Cheese is a product developed by The Kraft Heinz Not Company, a joint venture between the food giant and Chile’s The Not Company—which uses artificial intelligence to develop identical alternatives to animal products from plants.
The Kraft Heinz Not Company
“Through our joint venture with NotCo, we’re able to deliver the creamy and comforting experience consumers have loved for decades, now plant-based with Kraft NotMac&Cheese,” a spokesperson for the joint venture told VegNews earlier this week.
“Nobody knows mac and cheese like Kraft Heinz,” the spokesperson said.
The kicker? We get not one but two flavors—Original and White Cheddar—which we intend to combine for a swirly feast of cheesiness.
5Vegan cheese makes moves
In other vegan cheese news, Miyoko’s Creamery is considering a sale of the company and exploring potential strategic partnerships, current CEO Stuard Kornauge revealed to shareholders in a letter. This development comes after this year’s departure—and replacement—of founder, CEO, and namesake Miyoko Schinner.
Despite doubling its sales to $40 million between 2019 and 2021, the company saw a decline to $33 million in 2022 and $25 million in the third quarter of 2023. Facing market and economic challenges, the company ceased production at its Petaluma facility for efficiency reasons. The company had previous funding successes, including a $52 million round in 2021.
Another vegan cheese pioneer, Daiya Foods, recently appointed a new CEO, Hajime Fujita, a former director with 17 years of global business experience.
Fujita, who played a key role in Daiya’s development under its parent company Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, will lead operations across North America and spearhead international expansion.
“There is enormous potential in the Daiya brand to push the highly competitive plant-based category to new heights, particularly through product innovation and bold marketing,” Fujita said in a statement.
“I’m thrilled to be rejoining Daiya at such a dynamic period in the wider cultural conversation around plant-based eating, and I look forward to working with our fantastic team in writing the next chapter of our amazing brand story,” he said.
Lastly, our vegan cheese-loving friends in the United Kingdom are getting something new to clamor about with the expansion of Bel Group’s plant-based Laughing Cow cheeses to retailers this winter. Look for the almond milk-based cheeses in Original and Garlic and Herb flavors at Asda and Sainsbury’s UK-wide.