Star Wars fans, unite! A new sauce inspired by Darth Vader is coming in hot from Truff. If classic cartoon cats are more up your alley, Garfield finally found something he likes more than lasagna: nacho Popchips. 

And for the pizza lovers out there, Blackbird Foods has announced that it’s making Philly Cheesesteak Pizzas, a winning product idea that fans selected over a few interesting contenders. 

Read on for more. 

Health news

It’s no secret that if you’re looking to live a long and healthy life, following a plant-forward diet is a good way to go and a growing number of scientific studies have continued to uphold this notion. 

This food science is being put into action inside hospitals across New York City, where the Lifestyle Medicine program, initiated by Mayor Eric Adams, recently completed its borough-wide expansion. Now, patients at NYC Health + Hospitals in Staten Island and the Bronx have access to this transformative program, which offers comprehensive tools for managing and preventing chronic conditions through lifestyle changes, including access to plant-based diet resources and one-on-one counseling.

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Meals include Kabocha Squash Curry & Lima Bean Dill Rice, Black Bean Burgers, Garden Bolognese, and a Mexican Lasagna made with chilaquiles, all crafted to be both healthful and culturally familiar.

To ensure patient satisfaction—which is at 90 percent—the team at the system’s Culinary Center in Brooklyn continually innovates with new recipes tested as a “Chef’s Recommendation” and only added to the menu if they achieve a high satisfaction threshold. 

“In all places where New Yorkers receive meals, especially in hospital settings where patients are healing, it is important that the food we serve is healthful and delicious,” Kate MacKenzie, Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Executive Director, said in a statement. 

“We are proud of NYC Health + Hospitals for taking on the challenge of creatively developing delicious and culturally relevant plant-forward dishes,” MacKenzie said. 

Since the onset of the program in March 2022, NYC hospitals have served 1.2 million plant-based meals, slashing their carbon emissions by 36 percent as a bonus. 

Speaking of medicine, is your doctor an avid pusher of fish oil for Omega-3s? It turns out, vegan sources might be better—and don’t require eating animal products. According to a new clinical trial, a type of algae-based omega-3 supplement (AlmegaPL) has shown promising results in supporting cardiovascular health more effectively than traditional fish oil supplements. 

The trial demonstrated that AlmegaPL could decrease triglycerides by 14 percent and reduce remnant cholesterol by up to 25 percent. The study noted no increase in LDL cholesterol levels among participants using AlmegaPL, a common concern with some fish oil supplements. It also reported reductions in body weight and hip circumference over 12 weeks. 

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A comprehensive study has further confirmed that for some of our furry friends, a plant-based diet is a great move for health. Building on past research, this study conducted over a year and published in PLOS ONE, involved 15 dogs on a pea protein-based vegan diet. Analyzing blood, urine, and clinical evaluations, the research confirmed that these diets support healthy weight maintenance and meet all nutritional needs including essential vitamins and amino acids.

The results dispelled concerns about pea protein related to heart health, showing improved cardiac markers instead. 

“Evolutionary adaptations have resulted in a digestive system that enables dogs to maintain health on nutritionally complete omnivorous diets, including those free of animal ingredients,” Dr. Annika Linde of the Western University of Health Sciences said in a statement. 

Business news 

While the investment landscape has been tumultuous for many companies lately, Mosa Meats—a pioneering Dutch company in the cultivated meat space—just got a €40 million boost to continue its mission of improving beef production. This oversubscribed funding round attracted a diverse group of backers, alongside new government-supported partners such as Invest-NL and regional agencies like the Limburg Energy Fund.

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The participation of traditional meat industry players like the PHW Group, one of Europe’s largest poultry producers, underscores a significant cross-industry collaboration. “The overall macroeconomic landscape has been rough in the last two years, which has culled the herd of companies and forced us to be even more strategic and focused on achieving our mission,” Maarten Bosch, CEO of Mosa Meat, said in a statement.

With this fresh capital, Mosa Meat—the first to introduce the world to cultivated beef burgers in 2013—plans to further scale up production and prepare for the first formal tastings of its cultivated beef in the Netherlands. 

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Another player in the meat tech space, Moolec Science, just received approval from the USDA for its innovative product, Piggy Sooy, which are genetically engineered soybeans capable of producing pork proteins. This clearance means that Piggy Sooy soybeans are considered to pose no greater pest risk than conventional soybeans, allowing Moolec to cultivate and transport them without the need for special permits.

This approval marks a significant step forward in molecular farming, where plants are used as bioreactors to grow animal proteins.

“We believe this milestone sets the stage for a revolution in the food-industrial biotech landscape, paving the way for expedited adoption of molecular farming technology by other industry players,” Gastón Paladini, Moolec’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.

Moolec’s Piggy Sooy soybeans have been bioengineered to express porcine myoglobin, achieving high levels of protein expression which makes the soybeans appear pink, similar to pork. This development opens up new possibilities for food manufacturers looking to integrate novel, functional, and ethical ingredients into their products.

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Are you a cheese connoisseur? If so, Daiya Foods might have just the job for you. The company is searching for an honorary MVP (Vice President of Melting) as part of its Dairy-Free Dairy Tour. This unique position targets individuals passionate about advancing dairy-free cheese options, with a focus on achieving the perfect melt.

The selected MVP will be awarded a $20,000 cash prize and a year’s supply of Daiya’s newly formulated cheese, made with its Daiya Oat Cream blend. Responsibilities include perfecting cheese recipes, determining optimal melt times and temperatures, and collaborating with Daiya’s innovation team to enhance product offerings.

“With our new MVP, we’ll develop new recipes and perfect the ultimate dairy-like cheese pull to entice cheese-loving consumers to try our products—regardless of dietary preferences,” John Kelly, Daiya’s Chief Marketing Officer, said in a statement. 

The search will span 190 cities across the US, beginning in Bentonville and making stops in major cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, and Dallas. Interested cheese enthusiasts are encouraged to participate by visiting Daiya’s website for more details. 

Food news

Still not sure how to celebrate Star Wars Day (May 4)? Put down that dairy blue milk and reach for this new Darth Vader-inspired hot sauce instead. Truff, known for its luxurious truffle-infused products, has collaborated with Lucasfilm to launch the Star Wars Dark Side Hot Sauce. This fiery concoction is Truff’s hottest yet, blending the intense heat of ghost peppers with the rich, earthy notes of black winter truffles—a flavor experience as powerful and commanding as Darth Vader himself.

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This limited-edition sauce ($39.99) is presented in a collector’s edition gift box that embodies the essence of the Sith Lord, with design elements that fans will appreciate. The bottle itself is a sleek, matte black, topped with a cap styled after Vader’s iconic helmet, making it a must-have for both hot sauce collectors and Star Wars enthusiasts.

Starting this week, fans can get early access to purchase the sauce exclusively at the IGN Store, followed by its release on Truff’s website starting May 1, just in time for Star Wars Day celebrations.

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For more iconic collaborations, turn to snack company Popchips. Before the days of Grumpy Cat and Lil’ Bub, there was Garfield—the lasagna-loving orange tabby who’s now teamed up with Popchips to promote its vegan nacho flavor ahead of the Garfield Movie release this summer. In anticipation of the film, Popchips has rolled out a limited-edition Garfield-themed Nacho bag, available nationwide.

To engage fans across the country, Popchips is hosting a Hometown Screening Sweepstakes, offering the grand prize of a year’s supply of Popchips and a private movie screening for 150 people. 

Highlighting the partnership, a vibrant mural featuring Garfield with Popchips will be displayed in Los Angeles starting May 3. While the physical mural serves as a local attraction, fans nationwide can participate in the experience through an augmented reality feature accessible via TikTok and Instagram, where they can virtually “feed” Garfield some Popchips in a fun, interactive game.

These nationwide promotions aim to introduce the bold, cheesy flavor of Popchips vegan nacho chips to a wider audience and celebrate Garfield’s big-screen debut

Are you in the market for a new favorite pizza? You’re in luck because this week, Blackbird Foods has announced the winner of its new product contest—and it’s a victory for all of us. The New York City-based food brand already offers plant-based pizzas such as pepperoni, buffalo chicken, supreme, and meat lover’s but there’s a new flavor in the pipeline: Philly Cheesesteak. 

This pie came out on top in a social media contest, beating out other contenders like Hawaiian, pickle, and Pizookie dessert pizzas.

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