The global meat alternative market is expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2026.
Beyond Meat, Inc. is planning a late March retail rollout of its new Beyond Breakfast Sausage. Thus far, the plant-based meat has only been featured on select restaurant menus.
Available in classic and spicy varieties, Beyond Breakfast Sausage features 11 grams of protein per serving from peas and brown rice. The sausage is designed to “look, cook and satisfy like traditional pork breakfast sausage,” Beyond Meat said, and it is Non-GMO Project verified, certified kosher and halal, and made without soy or gluten.
“Our Beyond Breakfast Sausage platform delivers on our promise of enabling consumers to ‘Eat What You Love’ while advancing health, environmental and animal welfare benefits,” said Ethan Brown, founder and chief executive officer of Beyond Meat. “It has seen early success at some of the most popular and iconic quick-service restaurants, and we are excited to introduce the first extension of the platform in retail. It’s been a staple in my own household and I’m glad that families can now enjoy this delicious breakfast option at home while feeling great about nutritional wins like 50% less total fat, 35% less saturated fat and sodium and no cholesterol compared to a leading brand of pork sausage.”
Beyond Breakfast Sausage is set to arrive on store shelves by the end of March to early April, and will be available at retailers, including: ACME, Albertsons, Key Foods, Kings, Pavilions, Raley’s, ShopRite, Vons, Wegmans and Whole Foods Market. The sausage will be in the frozen aisle for a suggested retail price of $4.99 for six patties.
ADF Foods’ Nate’s Meatless brand is rolling out Swedish Meatless Meatballs. The Non-GMO Project verified, plant-based meat alternative contains 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat and 90 calories per serving and has no cholesterol. Each 10.5-oz package retails for $4.49.
“Our new Swedish Meatballs are nothing short of delicious, and they cater to the growing plant-based consumer crowd,” said Mike Ryan, vice president of US sales for ADF Foods. “Furthermore, they pack nutrition we know shoppers are looking for and perform well in recipes, all while being extremely convenient.”
El Pollo Loco, Inc. is serving new Mix & Match Street Tacos, a better-for-you lineup, including its first plant-based protein option.
The Chickenless Pollo Taco features non-GMO soy protein developed by El Pollo Loco’s culinary team and provided exclusively for the restaurant by a supply partner, the chain said. To create the meatless taco, the plant-based protein is slow simmered in a sauce of fire-roasted peppers, onions and tomatoes and topped with queso fresco, lettuce and avocado then wrapped in a corn and flour tortilla.
Upton’s Naturals is taking on a grilling staple with its new UpDog, a 100% vegan frank. Made from wheat-gluten seitan, the UpDog is seasoned with yellow mustard seed and onion powder, coated in an algae-based coating and cured. Each frank contains 19 grams of protein and is non-GMO certified and kosher certified. The UpDog will be available in 10-oz packages of four links for a suggested retail price of $5.99.
“As popular as plant-based eating has become, the vegan hot dog category is one that still needed some help,” said Dan Staackmann, founder of Upton’s Naturals. “We’re Chicagoans, our city has a whole hot dog style named after it, and we just couldn’t settle for an adequate, mushy, meat-free alternative to this American-food favorite anymore. The vegan hot dog needed an upgrade, and that’s just what we’ve done with UpDog.”
Sweet Earth Foods, a Nestle SA business unit, continues to expand its plant-based meat alternative line. The new products will be introduced throughout the spring and summer of this year.
New items include deli slices in oven roasted turkey, Black Forest ham and Italian-style pepperoni flavors; such sausage varieties as green chile Chedd’r (featuring vegan cheese), ginger scallion and Chik’n apple; jerkies in sweet Korean barbecue, zesty pizza and spicy kung pao flavors; and entree bowls that feature such globally-inspired flavors as kung pao Chik’n, Chik’n fajita and pasta Puttanesca.
The products were scheduled to be introduced at this year’ s Natural Products Expo West trade show scheduled to be held March 3-7 in Anaheim, Calif., but Nestle opted to pull out of the show due to concerns about travel and the spread of the coronavirus.
“This year is all about providing consumers a wide variety of convenient, flavor-forward and plant-based options from morning to night so they can eat well throughout the day without compromising on taste,” said Ryan Riddle, senior product development specialist - vegetarian meal solutions at Nestle. “Sweet Earth is focused on continuously innovating vegetarian foods that are delicious above everything else — from sausages you can grill, to deli slices you can create a sensationally drool-worthy sandwich with — our end goal is for people to savor the experience of eating plant-based.”
The deli slices will be merchandised in the same retail store locations as conventional slices and the products feature 15 to 17 grams of protein. The sausages are formulated with pea protein and the jerkies feature seitan as a primary ingredient. The entree bowl applications incorporate Sweet Earth’s Awesome Grounds and contain 14 to 15 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
Gardein is getting in on the jerky game with a new line of Ultimate plant-based jerky, which Conagra Brands unveiled in February. Hardwood smoked and made with non-GMO ingredients, the jerky provides 11 grams of plant-based protein per serving and comes in teriyaki, hot and spicy, and original varieties.
“Maybe the most disruptive thing that we're doing in jerky is this: Gardein Ultimate plant-based jerky,” Mr. Connolly said. “We marinate it the same way as our beef jerky. We smoke it the same way as our beef jerky. This will blow away any plant-based jerky you can find on the planet. If it doesn't live up to that, just call me, and we'll fix it. But I can tell you, this is that surprisingly good. You won't believe you're not eating meat. We think it'll be disruptive to the category.”
The new Gardein Ultimate plant-based burger is free of dairy and soy and provides 19 grams of plant-based protein per serving. Non-GMO Project verified and vegan, the quarter-lb patties contain 240 calories each.
“Gardein is on fire these days,” Mr. Connolly said. “Everybody knows the plant-based movement has made the world go crazy. We've got a great lineup of products in frozen that continues to grow. That growth is accelerating. But one of the areas where we needed to address was burgers. We've designed this new Ultimate plant-based burger. It's fantastic. It will be in the frozen section.”
In February, Greenleaf Foods SPC, a subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., bolstered its breakfast offerings with three new plant-based breakfast sausage products from its Lightlife and Field Roast Grain Meat Co. brands.
Lightlife is launching Plant-Based Breakfast Sausage Links and Plant-Based Sausage Patties made with pea and rice protein. Both products mimic the taste and texture of traditional pork sausage but contain less saturated fat, Lightlife said. The links provide 10 grams of protein per serving, while the patties provide 11 grams of protein per serving.
New from Field Roast are Plant-Based Breakfast Sausage Patties seasoned with sage, black pepper and rosemary. Made with pea and rice protein, the fully cooked patties are sized for breakfast sandwiches and contain no cholesterol, soy or gluten. Each patty provides 11 grams of protein.
“Breakfast is an important part of the day, and until now, there has not been many plant-based protein options available,” said Dan Curtin, president of Greenleaf Foods. “We’re reinvigorating the plant-based breakfast space with new delicious items from Lightlife and Field Roast. More than 70% of people say they’re interested in a substitute for traditional breakfast sausages. We’re proud to be at the forefront of innovation.”
Plant-based patties and ground products for private label from Cargill will start appearing at retail and foodservice in April. The introduction makes Cargill the latest meat processor to add meat alternatives to its portfolio.
“Cargill has a strong history of providing high-quality protein products to customers,” said Elizabeth Gutschenritter, managing director of Cargill’s alternative protein team. “Producing plant-based products across our global supply chain is the logical next step to expanding our ability to meet consumer needs and bring new value to this category.”
Cargill has invested $7 billion globally in animal protein production and processing during the past five years while making strategic investments in the alternative protein space. This past August, the company invested $75 million in Puris, a pea protein ingredient supplier. The investment allowed Puris to increase pea protein production using an existing 200,000-square-foot facility in Dawson, Minn.
“We need to keep all protein options on the table,” said Brian Sikes, the leader of Cargill’s global protein and salt business. “Whether you are eating alternative or animal protein, Cargill will be at the center of the plate.”
Fungi-based meat startup Prime Roots debuted its meat-free bacon on Feb. 14.
Prime Roots uses koji, a filamentous fungus native to Japan, to make protein-rich analogs that mimic the taste and texture of a variety of types and cuts of meat. Containing no processed ingredients, the products are positioned as an alternative to both conventional meat and processed meat-free substitutes. They contain more protein than traditional meat while offering many of the nutrients found in plants.
“It’s really important to listen to consumers’ concerns about ultra-processed ingredients and mitigate those challenges,” said Kimberlie Le, co-founder and chief executive officer of Prime Roots.
The bacon is made by mixing koji with plant-based fats to create a block of “pork belly,” which is wood smoked and cut into strips.
The meatless bacon may be cooked as a main protein or a topping, Prime Roots said.
The Valentine’s Day launch marks the first time Prime Roots’ products will be available for customers to purchase. The meatless bacon will be sold direct to consumer through the company’s website for a limited time.
Conagra Brands is featuring its Gardein plant-based meat alternatives in a range of new co-branded products unveiled in February. Including Birds Eye meatless Be’f lasagna, Birds Eye meatless garlic Chick’n and Healthy Choice meatless chipotle Chick’n Power Bowls.
“Another place we're leveraging Gardein is co-branding it with our icon brands,” Mr. Connolly said. “In the world of tech, you may remember the phrase Intel Inside. Well, in our world, we call it Gardein Inside. We're basically taking the meat out, and we're putting a plant-based meat in and we're branding that plant-based meat Gardein because Gardein has tremendous credentials for that. But we're doing it in concert with our icon brands because we're convinced that will drive the highest velocities and the fastest trial.”
Donatos Pizza in January began serving three new 10-inch cauliflower crust pizzas featuring plant-based sausage.
The Cauliflower Bruschetta Pizza includes red sauce, smoked provolone, green peppers, onions, tomato bruschetta, spinach and plant-based sausage.
The Cauliflower Garden Pizza is made with red sauce, smoked provolone, green peppers, onions, mushrooms and plant-based sausage.
The Cauliflower Heat Pizza is topped with red sauce, smoked provolone, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, crushed red pepper and plant-based sausage.
“Our menu innovation and culinary team did a tremendous job developing these pizzas,” said Tom Krouse, president and chief executive officer of Donatos. “Donatos strives to bring trending flavors and premium ingredients to our customers, and we are excited to add these delicious options to the Donatos menu as it provides more individual choice.”
Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes expanded its Lifestyle Burger lineup in January with the addition of The Vegan Burger. Featuring a Dr. Praeger’s black bean burger patty, the sandwich is topped with avocado, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, lettuce, tomato and barbecue sauce all served on a non-GMO potato bun.
“We wanted to be able to provide our guests who live a vegan or flexitarian lifestyle with a delicious burger,” said Natalie Anderson Liu, vice president of brand for Mooyah. “Our menu is packed with craveable burgers, so the obvious next evolution is to include a vegan burger that hits that mark. We’ve always had the vegetarian option, but now, we’re able to meet the needs of everyone, including those with vegan preferences.”
In January, Impossible Foods, Inc. added two new products to its portfolio – Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage. The sausage product will make its debut at select Burger King restaurants later this year.
“Impossible Foods cracked meat’s molecular code — starting with ground beef, which is intrinsic to the American market,” said Patrick O. Brown, PhD, chief executive officer of Impossible Foods, Redwood City, Calif. “Now we’re accelerating the expansion of our product portfolio to more of the world’s favorite foods. We won’t stop until we eliminate the need for animals in the food chain and make the global food system sustainable.”
Impossible Pork comes in a ground format and has 16 grams of protein, 13 grams of fat (7 grams saturated fat) and 220 calories per 4 oz serving. The product has a mild, savory flavor, according to the company.
A 2-oz serving of Impossible Sausage has 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of total fat (4 grams saturated fat) and 130 calories. The new product will appear on the menu of 139 Burger King restaurants in Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico and Alabama later this month.
The limited time application is being called the Impossible Croissan’wich and features a toasted croissant, egg, cheese and the Impossible Sausage. Burger King, a business unit of Restaurant Brands International Inc., will be the first quick-service chain to test the new product. In 2019, some Burger King restaurants introduced the Impossible Whopper nationwide after testing the application in seven markets in the United States.
In January, Urban Accents, Inc. debuted plant-based Ground Veggie Meatless Mixes in three globally inspired varieties: Sweet Black Garlic Korean BBQ, Classic Honey BBQ Sloppy Joe, and Smokin’ Chipotle Street Taco. Available in April, the spiced, soy-based protein is packaged in pouches that provide the equivalent of 1 lb of ground meat and retail for $4.99.
“The culinary world and home cooking have evolved so much in the past 20 years since we launched Urban Accents,” said Tom Knibbs, president of Urban Accents. “We are excited about the growing demand for vegetarian options and noticed increased choices in fast food and in the frozen section of grocery stores. We were eager to be the first-to-market with flavorful, shelf-stable, dry meal kits that provide home cooks with satisfying flavor experiences. Our products are never dump and stir; they help people cook with confidence. We remove the intimidating learning curve while still providing room for experimentation and personalization.”
In January, the Hershey Co. moved its Krave meat snacks brand into the plant-based category with the launch of Krave Plant-Based Jerky.
Marking the brand’s first departure from meat products, the plant-based jerky is made from peas and fava beans and “features a taste and texture similar to that of Krave Gourmet Meat Cuts,” the company said. The vegan jerky is Non-GMO Project verified, provides 8 grams of protein per serving and comes in smoked chipotle and Korean barbecue flavors.
“With the growing number of snacking occasions and evolving nutritional expectations placed on those snacks, consumers are dramatically altering the way we think about innovation,” said Jimmy McClain, brand manager for Krave Pure Foods, Inc. “Nowhere are these changes more evident than the demand for plant-based products. Krave Plant-Based Jerky is a direct response to what our consumers have been asking for: more portable snacks tailored to their specific diets that provide clean fuel throughout their busy days."
Krave Plant-Based Jerky is available in 2.2-oz bags for a suggested retail price of $5.99.
On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina in January joined forces with Beyond Meat to add ground Beyond Beef to its menu. The plant-based product is seasoned identically to the restaurant chain’s seasoned ground beef and may be added to enchiladas or nachos.
Beyond Beef also stars in the new Beyond Meat Taco, featuring ground Beyond Beef, shredded cheese and pico de gallo.
“The Beyond Meat Taco and Beyond Beef offer our guests even more protein options for our classic menu items,” said Edithann Ramey, chief marketing officer for On the Border. “Guests are incorporating more plant-based protein options into their diet, and we want to meet their needs with the same bold border-style flavors.”
In January, Tofurky introduced a plant-based beef-style burger at over 600 Target stores in the United States. The new product is formulated using soy protein, vegetable protein, wheat gluten and seasonings.
The company highlighted the new product’s sustainable footprint in marketing materials, noting, for example, that the burger’s soy base is more sustainable given the use of all parts of the bean in formulation when compared to pea protein. The products are also non-GMO and vegan, according to the company.
The beef-style burger is available in two-patty packs and has a suggested retail price of $5.99.
Kroger Co. in January threw its hat into the ring of the plant-based meat alternative market with the launch of Simple Truth Emerge plant-based meats.
Simple Truth Emerge patties and grinds offer the “same taste, texture and sizzle on the grill or in a pan as beef,” Kroger said. Free of GMOs, dairy, gluten and soy, the products provide 20 grams of pea-based protein per serving.
“Kroger continues to be at the intersection of plant-based curiosity and culinary innovation,” said Gil Phipps, vice president of Our Brands for Kroger. “As more of our customers explore and embrace a flexitarian lifestyle, Simple Truth Emerge is a fresh innovation that provides a flavorful meat alternative that cooks comparably. Kroger believes that everyone deserves to have access to fresh, affordable and delicious food, no matter who you are, how you shop or what you like to eat. And Simple Truth Emerge is an illustration of the commitment that Kroger has to providing our 11 million daily customers with new choices that fit their evolving eating styles and preferences.”
Outstanding Foods in February expanded its reach in the better-for-you snack category with the launch of PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds. Containing 25 grams of plant-based protein per 3.5-oz bag, the baked snacks are free from gluten, soy, GMOs, cholesterol and trans fats. PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds are certified vegan and kosher and come in Original, Nacho Cheese, Hella Hot and Texas BBQ varieties.
“We’ve all bought a bag of chips with the intention of having just a few,” said Bill Glaser, co-founder and chief executive officer of Outstanding Foods. “Fast forward to an empty bag and a guilty aftertaste full of fat and salt, but no nutrition. Our PigOut Rinds have solved this problem. Now you can enjoy a salty, savory snack that’s packed with flavor and nutrition. With a whopping 25 grams of protein in every full size bag, you can pig out with zero guilt.”
In January, Beanfields introduced Vegan Cracklins, made with beans, cassava flour and chickpea protein. The gluten-free snacks provide 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving and come in two flavors: Chile Limon and Spicy Nacho.
“At Beanfields we’re trailblazing and creating new sub-segments in food and snack along the way,” said Arnulfo Ventura, chief executive officer of Beanfields. “We continue to push the envelope and hopefully raise the bar for our loyal fans and for snackers everywhere who are looking for bold flavors and better-for-you options. Vegan Cracklins signify our first venture outside of chips, and we couldn’t be more excited to share the news. Our Cracklins add a bold new texture and flavor to our existing lineup of chips with a great taste that’s made of clean, guilt-free ingredients.”