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Good Food Restaurant Scorecard
Despite skyrocketing demand for plant-based food across the U.S., 42 of the country’s favorite fast food and restaurant chains still don’t offer a plant-based entrée, according to a report released today by The Good Food Institute (GFI). The third annual Good Food Restaurant Scorecard ranks the top 100 restaurant chains in the U.S. on the depth, breadth, and promotion of their plant-based entrées. New GFI-commissioned data also released today reveals the size of the market opportunity on offer and shows that U.S. broadline foodservice sales of plant-based meat have grown 37 percent in the past year. This data covers U.S. shipments of plant-based meat from major broadline foodservice distributors to restaurant chains and non-commercial foodservice operators and was commissioned from NPD, a leading foodservice analytics provider.
Having a strategy for plant-based is now a business imperative–your customers want it and your competitors are doing it.
While some of America’s most beloved brands like McDonald's, Chick-Fil-A, and In-N-Out Burger have been slow to capitalize on the surging interest in plant-based eating in the U.S., 58 of the top 100 restaurant chains are taking advantage of the plant-based market opportunity–even increasing their plant-based offerings from 25 to 50 percent of their menu, like Panera Bread plans to do. Iconic brands like Burger King, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, and Panda Express are just some of the leading restaurant chains that have added plant-based items to their menus over the past 12 months, with Del Taco, Qdoba Mexican Eats, Red Robin, and Yard House adding additional items to their existing plant-based offerings.
Plant-based leaders Del Taco, Qdoba Mexican Eats, and Yard House received perfect marks – scoring 10 out of 10 – for doubling down on their plant-based entrées, alongside Jamba Juice, which has maintained its extensive plant-based smoothie menu. Del Taco was recognized for adding multiple Beyond Meat items to its menu in 2019 and for heavily advertising these offerings to meat-lovers, vegetarians, and vegans alike. Qdoba Mexican Eats’ nation-wide Impossible Foods launch in 2019 made it a standout, with the restaurant chain allowing customers to add Impossible Foods’ plant-based meat to any of its core dishes. Yard House was also recognized for its ten plant-based dishes that feature Gardein’s plant-based chicken.
Burger King and Panda Express made their plant-based market debut in 2019 and have since demonstrated the fastest growth in their plant-based offerings, alongside Carl’s Jr., Del Taco, Qdoba Mexican Eats, and Dunkin’.
Burger King’s April test of the Impossible Whopper in St Louis generated a 28 percent increase in sales, compared with a 2 percent sales increase for McDonald’s in the same market and time period. Burger King’s third quarter earnings report revealed that the Impossible Whopper had driven 5 percent of comparable sales growth in the U.S., with the plant-based burger accounting for up to 10 percent of all Whoppers sold.
Both Burger King and Carl’s Jr. have doubled down on the plant-based opportunity in the past year. Just a few months after Burger King’s successful Impossible Whopper launch in August 2019, the restaurant chain added the Impossible Whopper Jr. to its menu. Carl’s Jr.’s Beyond Famous Star (featured during the 2019 Super Bowl) was launched in January 2019 and the restaurant chain expanded its plant-based menu with a second iteration – the Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger – in October 2019, in addition to offering the Beyond Meat patty as an upgrade on all burgers.
“More top U.S. restaurants are stepping into plant-based or stepping up their existing game to cater to customers looking for more center-of-plate protein variety. Having a strategy for plant-based is now a business imperative–your customers want it and your competitors are doing it,” said The Good Food Institute Foodservice and Supply Chain Manager Zak Weston.
“We’re at the tipping point where consumers are demanding plant-based foods and the industry is willingly responding with delicious options. This is no longer about a niche customer–it’s a major business opportunity,” said Panera Bread Vice President, Wellness and Food Policy Sara Burnett.
“We believe that everyone has the right to craveable, bold, Mexican-inspired flavors – no matter your dietary lifestyle—and we aim to provide more plant-based menu choices than anyone else. We have long been a haven for vegans and vegetarians, who replace meat for beans on almost any of our menu items. We look forward to continuing to innovate and find ways to make ordering plant-based at Taco Bell even more accessible at a great value,” said Taco Bell Corp Chief Food Innovation Officer Liz Matthews.
According to research by The Good Food Institute, 30 percent of Americans are reducing their total meat consumption, and another 2018 Johns Hopkins study has found that 60 percent of Americans are reducing their consumption of at least one type of animal meat. This shift in consumer preferences could see the plant-based meat market capture 10 percent of the $1.4 trillion global meat industry and be worth $140 billion in the next decade.
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Cheesy scrambled eggs, meatloaf, chicken parmesan and pie. It wouldn’t be an unusual tally of meals consumed by a patient admitted to a hospital for heart disease or stroke. It’s clearly not health food, yet it’s the type of sustenance offered at hospitals every day nationwide.
Fortunately, there’s a movement underway that’s putting the healthy back into health care by ensuring hospitals provide patients with nutritious plant-based food options. In fact, just last month New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed landmark legislation that guarantees hospital patients in New York are offered a healthy plant-based option at every meal.
In 2020, a new coalition will help hospitals not just in New York but nationwide provide patients plant-based food options that combat rather than contribute to cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
The Humane Society of the United States, Oldways, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Health Care Without Harm and Meatless Monday are five nonprofits providing support, resources and hands-on trainings to hospital culinary teams to help them provide more plant-based meals.
Here’s how these groups will be advancing health at hospitals as we begin new year, which is the ideal time for individuals – and organizations – to commit to wellness-enhancing approaches.
The Humane Society of the United States
Since 2015 the Humane Society of the United States has delivered plant-based training to nearly 11,000 culinary staff at large-scale food service operations, including working with over 95 health care facilities to increase availability of plant-based offerings in cafeterias, on patient menus or both. In 2020, the HSUS is ramping up these efforts with a new training created specifically for chefs, dietitians and physicians within healthcare. The enhancement builds on the success the HSUS has seen already in the sector.
For example, Baptist Health South Florida sees over 1 million patients annually. As a result of working with HSUS, after the first year of its launch there was a 93 percent increase in plant-based sales with an average of 40 percent of customers choosing the plant-based options daily. Prior to working with the HSUS, 5 percent of meals at New Jersey’s Valley Hospital were plant-based; now it’s 35 percent. The hospital has committed to work with HSUS to increase its plant-based offerings to become 50 percent of their menu within the next two years. Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital in Washington didn’t offer any plant-based entrees before working with the HSUS; now, approximately 50 percent of the café and patient menu items are plant-based.
The goal is to work with health care systems all over the country and help them commit to 50 percent plant based daily offerings by 2025.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
In 2018 California enacted legislation similar to the new law in New York, and earlier last year, the Washington D.C. Council introduced the Healthy Hospitals Amendment Act of 2019. This bill would require hospitals in D.C. to improve the nutritional quality of their menus by eliminating processed meat such as bacon and hot dogs and making plant-based options available.
These three watershed laws have been bolstered by support from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a national nonprofit health organization with 12,000 member physicians and an emphasis on prevention. PCRM also helps hospitals with implementation of new plant-based menu items. The organization’s registered dietitians, nurses and medical doctors deliver lunch-and-learns and employee wellness programs in hospitals to provide the education on the evidence behind plant-based nutrition. They also offer chef training and a hospital tool kit with marketing materials and recipes to ease the transition.
In 2020 PCRM will help New York hospitals implement their plant-based offerings, and the organization will be working to further the legislation introduced in Washington, DC.
Nutrition nonprofit Oldways has developed the Oldways Plant Forward Plates Healthcare Toolkit, a comprehensive roadmap that hospitals can follow to add high quality, cost effective, 100 percent plant-based meals to their food service programs. Plant Forward Plates features over 40 recipes scaled up to 100 servings, therapeutic menu plans, HACCP instructions, nutritional analysis and food-ordering guides to match the scaled recipes.
The Plant Forward Plates Toolkit fee is being waived to encourage hospitals to make 2020 the year they add healthy and delicious plant-based meals to their menus.
Health Care Without Harm
Health Care Without Harm’s Healthy Food in Health Care Program has been working with health care facilities for over 10 years to reduce overall meat consumption and cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions while serving more plant-forward meals. The organization’s most recent survey found that 69 percent of hospitals in their network are working to reduce meat in patient and retail settings.
In 2018 Health Care Without Harm partnered with the World Resources Institute to bring the Cool Food Pledge to health care. The pledge aims to reduce signatories’ greenhouse gas emissions from food purchasing by 25 percent by 2030. Health care signatories receive technical assistance from Health Care Without Harm in developing their plans to reduce their climate impact by implementing plant-forward menus. To date, 30 health care facilities have signed on to the Cool Food Pledge, representing over 35 million meals annually.
This year Health Care Without Harm will continue working with its network of over 1,200 U.S. hospitals to implement plant-forward menus, and assisting them in tracking, goal setting and promotion of their progress.
Launched in 2003 by The Monday Campaigns in association with the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Meatless Monday promotes a simple message: one day a week, cut out meat for personal health and the health of the planet. The campaign provides free evidence-based resources and creative materials to hospitals and other organizations to encourage people to start with a small change that can influence larger shifts in their diet and can improve their health and help reduce environmental impact.
Meatless Monday is promoted at New York-Presbyterian in New York City and at NYC Health+Hospitals, the largest public health care system in the U.S. as well as in other healthcare systems around the country. The concept has been adopted in more than 40 countries and translated to 22 languages. In 2020, it is expanding its efforts to engage even more organizations in reducing meat consumption.
US Foods to Offer Plant-Based Burger
US Foods will launch a US Foods Exclusive Brand plant-based meatless burger patty on March 2, as part of its Spring Scoop line-up. Molly’s Kitchen® Plant-Based Burger Patty will be the newest addition to our line-up of meat alternative plant-based options that currently includes Meatless Crumbles and Meatless Breaded Boneless Wings:
Stacey Kinkaid, Vice President of Product Development and Innovation at US Foods.
“As the growth of plant-based items on the menu continues to grow in the U.S. – 300+ percent in the past year alone according to Dataessential – US Foods is well-poised to ensure operators have the most innovative and on-trend products that can be easily integrated onto their menus in a variety of ways," said Stacey Kinkaid, Vice President of Product Development and Innovation at US Foods. "We are thrilled with the flavor profile and the way the patty performs on the grill back-of-house. We’ve perfected the savory flavor of a traditional meat patty, and we believe our operators, and their diners, will enjoy each and every bite.”
JUST Partners with Sodexo
JUST partnered with Sodexo to bring JUST Egg to Sodexo’s higher education, healthcare and corporate sites across the United States, top photo.
Crafted by a team of Michelin starred chefs, the plant-based JUST Egg’s key ingredient is protein from the mung bean, a dietary staple in Asia for thousands of years. It is cholesterol-free, non-GMO and packed with as much protein as many animal proteins. While it cooks and tastes like eggs, its ingredients use 98 percent less water, 83 percent less land and emit 93 percent less CO2e than conventional animal sources.
Through this partnership, JUST joins Sodexo’s commitment to sourcing responsibly, encouraging plant-based meals and reducing food waste as part of Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow 2025 strategy to reduce their carbon emissions 34 percent by 2025. Expanding menu offerings to include JUST Egg further speaks to Sodexo’s commitment to quality ingredients, health, sustainability and addressing evolving consumer dietary preferences.
“We’re thrilled to become a preferred supplier to Sodexo, which serves over 75 million consumers each day. Sodexo’s sustainable menu innovation initiative has resulted in hundreds of new plant-based recipes and we’re excited to see a range of delicious JUST Egg dishes arrive at clients’ facilities in the months ahead,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of JUST.
“Sodexo’s Sustainable Diets Strategy in North America has resulted in a number of benefits and innovations for our clients and customers. One specific category of innovation is around plant-based proteins, and one clear product range with immediate benefit is the plant-based egg products available from JUST Egg. Consumers are looking for plant-based items that mimic the foods that they are either not eating any longer or trying to eat less of – for whatever reason – be it wellness, animal welfare or environmental sustainability. JUST Egg products are nearly indistinguishable from their ‘real’ counterparts – they taste like eggs, cook like eggs and can bake like eggs. We’ve done a considerable amount of recipe development for our North America customers and will be working with JUST Egg on the next wave of Sustainable Diets innovation for sure,” said Rob Morasco, senior director culinary development, Sodexo.
Brits Love Meatless Options
From meatless steak bakes to plant-based Whoppers, it seems that vegan food product launches are now in full swing as new research from Mintel reveals a nation hungry for meat-free foods.
Over the past two years, the number of Brits who have eaten meat-free foods* has shot up from 50 percent in 2017 to 65 percent in 2019. Meanwhile, sales of meat-free foods have grown an impressive 40 percent from £582 million in 2014 to an estimated £816 million in 2019. Such is the popularity of meat-free food that sales are expected to be in excess of £1.1 billion by 2024.
According to Mintel research, the proportion of meat eaters who have reduced or limited the amount of meat they consume has risen from 28 percent in 2017 to 39 percent in 2019. Women are more likely than men to have limited/reduced the amount of meat in their diets (42 percent compared to 36 percent); this rises to 45 percent among all under-45s. But while the meat-free market is thriving, 38 percent of non-users would prefer to substitute meat with other ingredients such as cheese or pulses, rather than buy meat substitutes
And while the flexitarian diet – comprised of predominantly plant-based food, with some meat and fish – is all the buzz, meat remains a cornerstone of Britons’ diets, with 88 percent of Brits eating red meat/poultry. This comes as research from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) reveals that almost a quarter (23 percent) of all new UK food product launches in 2019 were labelled as vegan, compared to 17 percent in 2018. However, there has been no significant increase in the proportion of consumers who say they are vegan since 2018, according to Mintel research, with those following a vegan diet still only equating to around 1 percent of the UK population.
Kate Vlietstra, Mintel Global Food & Drink Analyst, said: “The rising popularity of flexitarian diets has helped to drive demand for meat-free products. Many consumers perceive that plant-based foods are a healthier option, and this notion is the key driver behind the reduction in meat consumption in recent years.
“As the meat-free market becomes increasingly crowded, brands will need to find more ways to distinguish themselves from their competitors – it’s no longer enough to just be meat-free. Companies will need to be transparent about the healthiness of their products, and also address the quality and quantity of nutrients to win over the discerning consumer. Meat-free products are generally aimed towards young professionals, who tend to be receptive to trying new foods, but we are also likely to see these products targeted at both children and over-55s in the future. As food education within schools improves, it seems that the meat-free food market is missing a trick by not targeting children and families. Meanwhile, over-55s are likely to be attracted to functional health claims and clean labels.
Concerns over the impact of eating meat on the environment
Mintel research highlights strong awareness of environmental issues linked to meat production, as half of British consumers overall (48 percent) see reducing consumption of animal products as a good way to lessen humans’ impact on the environment. Meanwhile, environmentally-friendly packaging would prompt three quarters (75 percent) of meat-free users/buyers to buy one meat-free food product over another.
When asked about the benefits of eating less meat, ‘improving the environment’ is cited by a quarter (25 percent) of those cutting back; but the top reason given by nearly a third of those cutting back (32 percent) is that it ‘helps to improve health’, followed closely by ‘it’s a good way to save money’ (31 percent).
Finally, from vegetable lasagne to bean burgers, Mintel research finds there is a strong ‘feel good’ factor associated with meat-free products: 79 percent of meat-free users/buyers say that eating meat-free foods makes them feel good, rising to 85 percent among those who have actively limited or reduced their meat intake in the last six months.
Vlietstra added: “Whilst the health benefits of eating less meat appear to still be the primary motivation of flexitarian consumers, the environmental impact of the meat industry has also become an important reason for meat avoidance. Gen Z consumers (aged 16-24) are leading the charge here, with over half (54 percent) of under 25s seeing the reduction of animal products as a good way to lessen humans’ impact on the environment. TV documentaries, news coverage and celebrity influencers have all contributed to the growing concern about the impact of meat consumption on the environment. However, there is scope for meat-free brands to be more vocal about their environmental credentials. Creating a USP in holistic ‘green’ credentials, which must include environmentally-friendly packaging, can create a compelling point of differentiation.”
Too Good to Be True
The UK food industry must work together to ensure the latest plant-based and vegan products are authentic, according to food safety certification experts, Lloyd’s Register. From fishless goujons to non-egg spaghetti, January has seen a rise in new vegan-friendly products. However, as these products become more accessible, the scepticism in some consumers appears to have risen.
This year, more than 350,000 people have signed up for Veganuary, a 40 percent increase on last year, and in response numerous brands have revealed their new meat- and dairy-free product offering. But after some brands have revealed that their products aren’t completely vegan or vegetarian (due to ingredients being manufactured on the same production line as meat products or cooked using the same equipment for example), questions may rise on the legitimacy of the claims from household brands.
Vegan diets are on the rise, with 600,000 vegans in the UK, according to the Vegan Society. However, as many as one in five UK consumers described themselves as ‘not confident at all’ or ‘very suspicious’ that the vegan products they consume do not contain meat or dairy, according to a recent report from Lloyd’s Register.
Stuart Kelly, Head of Commercial, Customised Assurance at Lloyds Register, commented: “In an industry built on trust, vegan manufacturers, retailers and restaurants must work together to bolster consumers’ confidence in the food that they eat. For example, our research has shown that only 19 percent of UK consumers are ‘very confident’ that the vegan food products available in supermarkets do not contain meat.
“There is evidence that adding vegan options to your product offering is working well for companies. As we saw in 2019, the success of Greggs’ vegan sausage roll has meant the business has launched a new range of vegan products and shared its financial success in the form of employee bonuses. But with the rise of meat or dairy substitutes, the industry faces the challenge of removing any consumer doubt that products are indeed suitable for a vegan diet.”
He concludes: “The system of controls, inspections and audits that our food must go through before it reaches the consumer is such that this paranoia is misplaced – if a product says something, then in all likelihood, it probably is. However, it is the responsibility of those working in the food supply chain to cooperate and instil this level of trust in today’s consumer.”
Chicken Plus Blend
To help flexitarian consumers who are hungry for new ways to eat more vegetables without sacrificing flavor, Perdue Foodservice is introducing the first-of-its-kind PERDUE® CHICKEN PLUS™ nuggets and patties blended with vegetables.
Perdue’s latest innovation, PERDUE® CHICKEN PLUS™ blends plant-based ingredients you can pronounce, such as cauliflower and chickpeas, with no-antibiotics-ever white meat chicken that is 100 percent vegetarian fed with no animal by-products. Each serving of this next generation of fully cooked, frozen chicken products is complete with one-quarter cup (half a serving) of vegetables.
“PERDUE® Chicken Nuggets have been a staple for families dining out for years, but we wanted to provide an easy way to round out the meal and help parents put an end to the common ‘eat your vegetables’ battle,” said Eric Christianson, chief marketing officer of Perdue Farms. “By blending plants and vegetables with the Perdue chicken families love, not only are we helping to provide a solution for millions of parents, but also appealing to the growing number of flexitarian consumers who have increased their commitment to getting more plants and vegetables in their diets, even when eating away from home. The better-for-you PERDUE® CHICKEN PLUS™ portfolio isn’t just for kids – they’ll appeal to people of any age who are interested in eating more vegetables without sacrificing taste in the products they already love.”
In fact, 74 percent of people are looking to increase their vegetable intake1. With the addition of cauliflower and chickpeas, the new line of PERDUE® CHICKEN PLUS™ features even more protein, plus fiber and B Vitamins.
PERDUE® CHICKEN PLUS™ nuggets and patties are fully cooked and arrive frozen for added convenience. These on-trend chicken products are the perfect protein for menus as-is, or as an upsell in salads, pastas and more. T
Cauliflower Crust at Copper Branch
Copper Branchofficially launched its new Cauliflower Crust Flatbread program.
Featuring two new flavours: BBQ & Caramelized Onion and Bruschetta & Pesto, the new Copper Branch Flatbreads are a definite hit, combining mainstream flavours with quality and health-focused ingredients. The cauliflower crusts are gluten-free and are topped with fresh vegetables, quality sauces, vegan Chick’n, and vegan Mozzarella.
The Montreal-based company, which currently has locations in Canada, the U.S. and Western Europe, recently passed the 65 location mark and in the midst of an impressive worldwide expansion campaign with developers and franchisees which is projected to reach 100 stores by the end of 2020, a plan unmatched in the plant-based, fast casual category.
Through its Copper Branch Rewards loyalty program, members can not only earn loyalty points, which can add up to free and delicious menu items, but every time customers use their loyalty cards a portion is also directly donated to the Rainforest Trust, an international organization protecting our planet’s most endangered forests and animals.
Copper Branch announced that its newest Ontario location on Argentia Road in Mississauga opened January 29. The new restaurant is in the Smart Centres complex at 3055 Argentia Road and is surrounded by major retailers such as Walmart, Marshall’s, Home Depot, Staples, Tim Hortons, and Real Canadian Superstore.
The chain has an existing location in the city at the Heartland Town Center at 6055 Mavis Road, whose success resulted in the chain focusing on expanding its presence in the city with this new location as well as one planned for an early February opening at 88 Burhamthorpe Road in West Mississauga.
Copper Branch CEO Rio Infantino discusses the timing of the new opening by stating, “In conjunction with Veganuary and the start of a new year and a new decade we felt there was no better time to bring whole food, healthy options that are not only delicious but also good for your health and the health of the planet to the residents of Mississauga who want to turn the page and adopt a healthier lifestyle. “The overwhelming response of our first restaurant in Mississauga showed us that the residents of this area are craving a way to eat healthier while still enjoying the delicious foods they have come to know and love. We also want to thank everyone in the city for sharing our dream to expand in Mississauga and welcoming us into their community.” The company recently passed the 65 location mark and in the midst of an impressive worldwide expansion campaign with developers and franchisees.
Impossible Foods Brings on Chief People Officer
Impossible Foods has hired biotech executive Brian Miller as Chief People Officer.
Miller began yesterday and reports directly to Impossible Foods’ President Dennis Woodside. Among his many responsibilities, Miller will oversee recruiting, development and retention as the food tech startup embarks on one of the most audacious ramp-ups in the food sector.
Brian joins Impossible Foods after a decade at Foster City-based biotechnology company Gilead Sciences, where he served in numerous leadership roles, most recently Vice President for Talent, Development & Inclusion. Before that, he worked for Amgen, where he was the Global Head and Director Learning & Development. He was previously Founder and CEO of E3-Services, a consulting firm specializing in how to integrate digital strategies into human resources departments.
“Brian has a long track record of helping ambitious, mission-driven companies scale up quickly while keeping employees highly motivated,” Woodside said. “In addition to his experience at some of the world’s biotech pioneers, Brian also has put in the hard work of being a founder and CEO. We’re confident that he has the stamina and ambition to help Impossible Foods as we enter ‘hypergrowth’ mode.”
Miller is a California native with a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. He received his undergraduate degree from University of the Pacific.
Miller is the latest executive to join Impossible Foods, Inc. Magazine’s company of the year and one of Time Magazine’s 50 Genius companies. Recent executive hires include:
- Jessie Becker, SVP of Marketing
- Dan Greene, SVP of US Sales
- Sheetal Shah, SVP of Product and Operations
- Ravi Thakkar, VP of Product Management
Donatos Delivers Three Cauliflower Crust Signature Pizzas
Donatos Pizza is now delivering on these demands in a big way with the introduction of three new cauliflower crust signature pizzas featuring savory plant-based sausage.
The new cauliflower crust, which has 30 percent fewer carbs than the Donatos famous thin crust, features three new 10-inch signature pizza recipes:
Cauliflower Bruschetta: Red sauce, smoked Provolone, freshly cut green peppers and onions, tomato bruschetta, spinach and plant-based sausage
Cauliflower Garden: Red sauce, smoked Provolone, freshly cut green peppers and onions, mushrooms and plant-based sausage
Cauliflower Heat: Red sauce, smoked Provolone and 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 CEO 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."
In addition to the three new signature cauliflower crust pizzas, customers can "create their own" pizza with the new 10-inch cauliflower crust and plant-based sausage. These pizzas will be available to order online at Donatos.com, on the Donatos app, and at every Donatos location beginning Jan. 27.
According to a study conducted by the third-party delivery company Grubhub, cauliflower pizza was named the top food of 2019 as it rose in popularity by 650 percent.
Getting Awesome at Ruby Tuesday
Ruby Tuesday is the first-ever national restaurant partner for the Sweet Earth Awesome Burger. Ruby Tuesday will continue to offer the Sweet Earth Awesome Burger as an off-menu plant-based protein through mid-March, with the potential to become a permanent menu item. Customers can also substitute the meatless Awesome Burger patty as part of any of the restaurant's wide variety of signature burger offerings.
"At Ruby Tuesday, our focus is to provide freshly prepared, high-quality meal options that are full of flavor at an affordable price," said Jenifer Boyd Harmon, Chief Marketing Officer for Ruby Tuesday. "We know many of our customers have an appetite for delicious meat-free options, which is why we're excited to partner with Sweet Earth Foods to offer a plant-based, meatless burger that not only mimics the look and taste of a traditional burger but also boasts great flavor every burger lover can appreciate."
The Sweet Earth Awesome Burger was developed by the Sweet Earth culinary team with Nestlé R&D support with no GMO ingredients and U.S.-sourced yellow pea protein. It is high in protein (22 grams, iron and a good source of calcium. Ingredients like pea protein, natural plant extracts and coconut oil can be appealing to consumers, also giving the Sweet Earth Awesome Burger a distinctive raw appearance that transforms when cooked, just like a beef burger.
"Burgers are a staple in the American diet. We are thrilled to increase access to a delicious plant-based option through this partnership with Ruby Tuesday, a restaurant industry leader known for innovative burger creations," said Fleur Veldhoven, VP of Food Marketing at Nestlé Professional. "Many consumers are looking to cut back on meat despite how much they enjoy eating it, and a plant-based protein option like our Sweet Earth Awesome Burger is the perfect no-compromise way to balance their diets."