KANSAS CITY — Plant-based meat makers are turning up the heat for vegetarian and flexitarian consumers. Recent launches feature spicy flavor profiles inspired by global cuisines.

Upton’s Naturals is launching fava taco-style crumbles. Made from a blend of fava bean, pea protein, sea salt, sugar and lime juice concentrate, the heat-and-eat crumbles are spiced with a custom blend of taco seasonings. A quick addition to tacos, burritos, nachos or breakfast scrambles, the spicy meat alternative provides 9 grams of protein per serving and is low in fat and calories, according to the company.

“The success and popularity of our chorizo seitan led us to explore alternative proteins that could deliver a similar taste profile in a new and nutritious form,” said Dan Staackmann, founder of Upton’s Naturals. “Possessing a texture somewhere in between tofu and seitan, we found fava beans were the perfect solution to create a protein crumble appealing to both vegans and meat-eaters alike.”  

Saffron Road is putting a clean label spin on a Chinese staple with the launch of plant-based General Tso’s. A healthier version of the traditional deep-fried chicken dish, the frozen entree features whole plant-based protein with no artificial ingredients or protein isolates.

The star of Saffron Road’s plant-based General Tso’s is batter-free cauliflower and chickpea dumplings, which sit on a bed of white rice, bok choy and red bell peppers swirled into a bold tangy sauce.

“We used a wheat-free, slow-brewed tamari, regionally-specific dried chili and a specially created mirepoix to build an amazing umami that will make your taste buds dance,” said John Umlauf, senior vice president of culinary operations at Saffron Road.

RollinGreens is introducing a plant-based spicy chorizo. Made with a proprietary blend of pea protein and vegetables, the pre-seasoned meat alternative provides 8 grams of protein per serving and is free of soy, grains and nuts.

The meat-free spicy chorizo is the second shelf stable product from RollinGreens, following the launch of plant-based ground taco meat last year.

“Launching our new spicy chorizo is a big milestone for RollinGreens,” said Lindsey Cunningham, co-founder and chief executive officer of the Boulder, Colo.-based company. “We are excited to launch more shelf stable products this year and for many years to come.”


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