It’s often the fresh-faced startups that grab the spotlight with their innovative takes on plant-based cuisine. However, some of the most groundbreaking advancements in the realm of plant-based foods are coming from brands with roots dating back over a century. 

With over 100 years of experience under their belts, these brands have weathered countless culinary revolutions and consumer shifts. Now, these venerable institutions are leveraging their rich histories and expertise to craft plant-based versions of their iconic products to appeal to modern consumers. 

From classic Hershey’s candy bars to beloved Kraft Singles, these legacy brands are proving that when it comes to plant-based innovation, the old guard can lead the way into a deliciously sustainable future.

RELATED: After 140 Years, Oscar Mayer Gives Its Hot Dogs a Meatless Makeover

Plant-Based-MayoDuke’s

1 Duke’s

Since 1917, Duke’s Mayonnaise has been crafting “Southern-style” mayo—a tangy, rich condiment made without the addition of sugar. This month, Duke’s is stepping into the modern era with the launch of a vegan version of its famous mayo which is made with potato protein instead of eggs. 

This ingredient switch allows Duke’s to reach new consumers while offering mayo with the same creamy texture and depth of flavor that has defined Duke’s for more than a century.

“It’s the perfect choice for consumers seeking plant-based alternatives without compromising on taste,” Joe Tuza, President of Duke’s Mayo, said in a statement. 

“Our plant-based mayo represents our commitment to providing options that cater to the diverse dietary preferences of today’s consumers,” Tuza said. 

The product has already been well-received by culinary professionals, such as Chef Trevor Knotts, who praised its authentic taste and texture. “Best vegan mayo I ever had,” the chef said in a statement. “Would never know it was vegan.”

VegNews.VeganIceCream.PerrysPerry’s

2 Perry’s Ice Cream

Perry’s Ice Cream was founded in 1918. A century later, in 2019, the New York-based ice cream company ventured into the plant-based market with its “Oats Cream” line. This dairy-free series was created in collaboration with Elmhurst 1925, a company that has nearly a century of history itself, originally as a dairy processor before transitioning to produce plant-based milks

“For more than 100 years, we have brought innovative flavors to our ice cream line, using only fresh cream and milk,” Perry’s CEO Robert Denning said in a statement at the time. “However, we recognized today’s consumers have a growing desire for great tasting, plant-based frozen desserts.” 

“Simply stated, not everyone has been able to enjoy Perry’s ice cream due to lactose intolerance and other dietary choices until now,” Denning said. 

The Oats Cream line is available in pints at various retailers and can be found at Perry’s scoop shops across New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in flavors such as Vanilla, Peanut Butter & Cookies, Blueberry Pancake, and Cookies & Cream. 

VegNews.OscarMayerVeganHotDog.TheKraftHeinzNotCoThe Kraft Heinz Not Company

3 Oscar Mayer

Oscar Mayer, a brand historically known for its meat-based hot dogs, just entered the plant-based market after 140 years in operation. The brand’s transformation comes courtesy of The Kraft Heinz Not Company, a joint venture that includes The Not Company, a Chilean innovator in plant-based food utilizing artificial intelligence to replicate animal-based products.

In March, Oscar Mayer unveiled its new plant-based NotHotDogs and NotSausages (in Bratwurst and Italian flavors), which leveraged Oscar Mayer’s iconic flavor profiles to maintain the beloved taste characteristics while integrating plant-based ingredients like mushrooms, peas, and bamboo. 

Special attention was given to the texture, with the introduction of an algae-based casing to mimic the traditional “snap” of sausage links.

“Throughout the development of Oscar Mayer NotHotDogs and NotSausages, we leveraged key characteristics from our proprietary Oscar Mayer flavor profile to ensure we were mapping back to the savory and smoky experience fans have known and loved for over 140 years,” Danielle Watts, Associate Director of Marketing at The Kraft Heinz Not Company, previously told VegNews.

The new plant-based meats will be launched nationwide later this year as part of Kraft Heinz’s strategy to revamp its classics for the modern consumer through its joint venture with NotCo. 

VegNews.VeganKraftSingles.KraftHeinzNotCoThe Kraft Heinz Not Company

4 Kraft Heinz

The Kraft Company—now known as Kraft Heinz—was established in 1903 as a cheese delivery service. The company eventually patented a cheese pasteurization process to extend the shelf life of its products, giving rise to its now-famous Mac & Cheese (then called Kraft Dinner) in 1937 and Kraft Singles in 1965. 

The joint venture behind Oscar Mayer’s plant-based hot dogs also helped Kraft recreate these two iconic products using only plant-based ingredients. Kraft NotSingles debuted in NotCheese in American, Provolone, and Cheddar flavors nationwide last summer after a short test run at select retailers. 

Shortly thereafter, the company followed with the launch of Kraft NotMac & Cheese in Original and White Cheddar flavors. 

“At Kraft Heinz, we’re consumer obsessed,” the spokesperson for the company previously told VegNews. “This means we’re continuously innovating through our iconic brands to deliver consistent quality products and respond to the evolving needs and preferences of all our consumers.”

VegNews.VeganLaughingCow.BelGroupBel Group

5 Laughing Cow

French dairy giant Bel Brands had been making dairy cheese for 150 years before it turned its attention to releasing vegan versions of some of its most iconic brands, including the oldest of the bunch The Laughing Cow—which first launched in 1921.

Made by Bel Group USA—the American arm of the French company—the almond milk-based Laughing Cow hit stores in 2022 in Original and Garlic & Herb flavors. This launch closely followed the release of dairy-free Boursin and Babybel cheeses. 

Bel is continuing to innovate in the realm of plant-based cheeses, with the help of new technologies, including artificial intelligence and precision fermentation.  

VegNews.HersheysPlantBasedThe Hershey Company

6 Hershey’s

The classic Hershey chocolate bar, introduced by Milton Hershey in 1900 as “a nutritious confection,” underwent a significant transformation this century.

Made with oats, the new Hershey’s Plant-Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt chocolate bars launched in stores last year. Whatsmore, The Hershey Company didn’t stop at just chocolate bars. It also remade its classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in a plant-based format, which also ditches dairy in favor of oats.

“Our purpose is to create more moments of goodness for consumers,” a spokesperson for The Hershey Company previously told VegNews. “We are excited to make those moments more accessible now for chocolate lovers looking for plant-based alternatives.”

The dairy-free Hershey bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups can all be found at major retailers such as Target. 

VegNews.VeganChickenPringlesFries.MorningStarFarmsMorningStar Farms

7Kellogg’s

While some Pringles flavors are accidentally vegan, the brand’s 118-year-old parent company Kellogg’s was very intentional in launching the plant-based Pringles Original MorningStar Chick’n Fries last year. 

This surprise collaboration between Pringles and MorningStar Farms brought forth a new era of vegan snacking in two flavors: Pringles Original and Pringles Scorchin’ Cheddar Cheeze. 

The Original flavor offers a classic potato taste complemented by hints of umami from meatless chicken broth, while the Scorchin’ Cheddar Cheeze delivers a spicy and savory blend with a sprinkle of dairy-free cheddar.

“This partnership with MorningStar Farms brings the well-known and loved Pringles flavor into the plant-based space with chik’n fries, a fun and delicious mashup” Mauricio Jenkins, United States Marketing Lead for Pringles, said in a statement. 

This release built on the launch of Eggo’s first vegan waffles, sold together with MorningStar’s meatless chicken in a frozen sandwich that’s made for dipping in maple syrup. 

VegNews.VeganCreamCheeseArt.PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia

8 Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Also owned by Kellogg’s, Philadelphia has more than a century of cream cheese-making experience. Last year, the company released a plant-based Philadelphia cheese so that everyone can have something to schmear on their bagel. 

Following a successful regional launch, where the Original flavor received positive feedback, Philadelphia introduced its vegan cream cheese nationwide, available in three flavors: Original, Strawberry, and Chive & Onion.

Utilizing coconut oil as a base and complemented by potato starch and fava bean protein, Philadelphia’s research and development team meticulously crafted a product that mirrored the taste and texture of traditional cream cheese. 

“Being the first mainstream cream cheese brand to offer a widespread plant-based option was a significant milestone for us and our loyal consumers,” Keenan White, Senior Brand Manager at Philadelphia, said in a statement.

While Philadelphia is owned by Kraft Heinz, the move into plant-based was not the result of the NotCo joint venture. 

VegNews.CarvelVeganOatDesserts.OatlyOatly

9 Carvel

The baby of the group, Carvel is a nearly 100-year-old ice cream chain that was founded in 1929 in Atlanta, GA. In 1934, founder Tom Carvel is credited for inventing soft serve when his ice cream truck broke down in New York City and could only produce slightly melted ice cream. 

Together, Carvel and oat milk company Oatly introduced a new era of non-dairy frozen treats at Carvel shops across the United States earlier this year, bringing a fresh twist to its storied history. 

“We are thrilled to bring Oatly products to Carvel,” Jim Salerno, Chief Brand Officer at Carvel, said in a statement. “As The Original Soft Serve, we want to ensure guests enjoy the classic flavors and nostalgia of Carvel while we continue to innovate and expand to new guests.” 

“Oatly is the latest way we are breaking through to bring our guests a new offering we know there is a lot of excitement behind,” Salerno said. 

Guests at nearly 300 Carvel shops in 18 states can now indulge in a strawberry flavor of Oatly soft serve; “scooped” Oatly ice cream in peanut butter and cookies & cream flavors; along with novelties such as Oatly frozen dessert cakes and flying saucer sandwiches. 

Select shops offer an extended menu of Oatly soft serve flavors in Chocolate, Mint, and Cold Brew.

Mexican-Style-WrapStarbucks

10 Nestlé

From Toll House chocolate chips to KitKat V, Nestlé—a 158-year-old food giant—has released a variety of plant-based offerings over the years. Its European brand Garden Gourmet is where Nestlé does much of its plant-based innovating, with items such as Voie Gras (vegan foie gras) and Vuna (fish-free tuna) already on the market. 

The latest innovation from Garden Gourmet just hit Starbucks stores across the United Kingdom. There, its foodservice arm Nestlé Professional has introduced a vegan ‘Mexican-Style Wrap’ featuring “Vegan Pulled Fillet”.

“Mexican food was listed as one of the top cuisines that people would like to try outside of home in 2024,” Kate Edley, Brand and Category Lead at Nestlé Professional, said in a statement.

“Teaming up with Starbucks for the ‘Mexican-Style Wrap’ is the perfect opportunity to give tasty options that cater to dietary needs and preferences,” Edley said.

A take on pulled pork, this vegan meat is made from high-quality soy protein and is served inside the hot wrap together with a flavorful blend of chilis, smoked red pepper, and spiced tomato sauce. It also features a coconut oil-based alternative to mozzarella, along with roasted red peppers and spinach.

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