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It's a Plant Based World
Close to 4,000 were in attendance at the launch Plant Based World Conference & Expo, according to trade show management companyJD Events. The event was supported by founding partners Plant Based Foods Association, Eat for the Planet, The Plantrician Project, and Follow Your Heart. Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine was a media partner for the event.
Perhaps Next Level Burger Co-Founder Matt de Gruyter summed it up best during a forum on trends and opportunities in food service when he said, "The question has changed from–why eat plant-based foods to why not?"
"We had attendees who traveled from all 50 states and countries throughout the world to be a part of this first-of-its-kind event. A healthcare conference, a business conference, an expo open to the general public all rolled into one epic gathering of humans with the common belief that what we eat, how we feel and the world we share are all integrally connected," said Ben Davis, Content & Communications Director, Plant Based World Conference & Expo. "We received positive feedback from exhibitors on the quality of the attendees they met and from attendees on the content in three education tracks and the general keynote presentations. We thank our exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, attendees, media partners, supporting organizations and partners who helped to make this launch event a huge success."
Perhaps Next Level Burger Co-Founder Matt de Gruyter summed it up best during a forum on trends and opportunities in food service when he said, "The question has changed from–why eat plant-based foods to why not?"
The expo hall was packed with professionals and consumers who tasted and sourced plant-based products from 125 exhibitors and sponsors. Delicious plant-based foods were offered, including a chef-created, plant-based seafood from Good Catch; new real cheese and butter made purely from plants from Miyoko's; artisan plant meat from No Evil; creamy faba butter and decadent cookies fromFora Foods; 100-percent plant-based tomato sauce from Otamot; the original coconut ice cream fromNadaMoo!; and so much more.
In addition to the exhibit hall, there were three keynote presentations, three education programs and several feature areas. Nil Zacharias, Founder of Eat for the Planet moderated the Friday and Saturday opening keynotes:
An informative and insightful keynote presentation with leaders from the Plant Based Foods Association, Kroger Merchandising Consulting at 84.51 and Restaurant Associates. These leaders discussed the double digit growth of the industry, catering to the one third of Americans who now identify as "flexitarian's", aiming to reduce their meat and dairy consumption, causing the industry to reach into the mainstream.
A conversation with Seth Goldman, Executive Chair of Beyond Meat on turning a mission driven business into a mainstream revolution. Seth who is also co-founder of Honest Tea, shared his journey, and discussed what's next for Beyond Meat, his thoughts on the growing plant-based food industry and innovative new food trends he expects to emerge in the decades ahead.
The Eat for the Future Business Forum, produced in partnership with Eat for the Planet, featured speakers including executives from StrayDog Capital, Bareburger, Wicked Kitchen/Tesco, The Good Food Institute, and Hain Celestial to name a few. The Forum was designed for retail, food service, product manufacturers, plant-based food companies and food industry professionals to learn about the growth in consumer demand for plant-based foods.
The Food Solutions for Human Health Summit presented by The Plantrician Project, offered a stellar line-up of leading doctors, dietitians, and nutritionists who talked about the biochemical, physiologic, and disease specific effect of a whole food plant-based diet. Speakers included Dr. Joel Fuhrman; T. Colin Campbell, PhD; Dr. Michael Greger, NutritionFacts.org, and more.
At the close of the event, NFL Linebacker Derrick Morgan and his wife Chef Charity Morgan presented a dynamic discussion on their transition to a plant-based lifestyle and the benefits Derrick and his Tennessee Titan teammates experienced. Other speakers who shared their stories with the general public during Community Day included Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President; Keith Tucker of Hip Hop is Green; vegan Olympians and bodybuilders such as Dostie Bausch and Nimai Delgado, and physicians such as Dr. Garth Davis and Dr. Robert Osfeld of Montefiore Health System.
The Siddhi Speaker Series offered standing room only crowds' information from presenters who offered the latest details on a wide range of topics about marketing for vegan business success, health benefits for optimal human performance, and breakthroughs in plant-based nutrition. The Culinary Demo Theater featured live cooking demonstrations that showcased unique plant-based ingredients and inspired home cooks and professional chefs with ideas for new menu items. Vedge co-owner Richard Landau prepared pan seared, peppercorn crusted tofu with ragu of spring vegetables and Vegan Pastry Chef Fran Costigan prepared ganache glazed chocolate cake with vanilla bean pastry cream and spring berries. Local NYC plant-based establishments such as Blossom Du Jour and Candle Cafe participated as well. Attendees also sampled delicious dishes made with seaweed, plant-based butter, seafood, and much more.
The 2020 Plant Based World Conference & Expo will be held June 5-6, 2020 back at the Javits Center in New York City.
Tyson Debuts First Plant-Based Products
As part of efforts to expand its protein offerings, Tyson Foods, Inc. introduced the company’s first plant-based and blended products, along with its new Raised & Rooted® brand. The initiative makes Tyson Foods the largest U.S. meat producer to enter the growing alternative protein segment with its own products.
The Raised & Rooted brand was created to provide great-tasting plant-based and blended foods that are rooted in how people eat today, the company said. The initial products under this new brand, which will launch with several major retail customers this year, include plant-based nuggets as well as blended burgers made with a combination of beef and plants. In addition, the company’s existing Aidells® brand has launched Aidells Whole Blends™ sausage and meatballs, made with chicken and plant-based ingredients.
Tyson Foods expects to introduce additional alternative protein products through multiple customers and sales channels. This includes products under the Raised & Rooted brand and across the company’s portfolio, as well as to foodservice operators.
The initiative makes Tyson Foods the largest U.S. meat producer to enter the growing alternative protein segment with its own products.
“Today’s consumers are seeking more protein options so we’re creating new products for the growing number of people open to flexible diets that include both meat and plant-based protein,” said Noel White, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “For us, this is about ‘and’ – not ‘or.’ We remain firmly committed to our growing traditional meat business and expect to be a market leader in alternative protein, which is experiencing double-digit growth and could someday be a billion-dollar business for our company.”
Earlier this year, White selected Justin Whitmore to lead all aspects of Tyson Foods’ alternative proteins business, channeling Tyson Foods’ capabilities to provide consumers with exciting new protein options.
“The creation of the Raised & Rooted brand is an excellent example of Tyson’s ability to think big and move fast, capitalizing on our existing infrastructure,” said Whitmore. “We began development of our alternative protein products last year and have succeeded in creating a new brand and bringing those products to market in well under a year. Customers tell us they love the taste and nutritional attributes and are excited to partner with us.”
“While most Americans still choose meat as their primary source of protein, interest in plant and blended proteins is growing significantly,” added Noelle O’Mara, Tyson Foods’ chief marketing officer. “These products appeal to a broad cross section of consumers who enjoy food from a variety of protein sources and we expect interest to continue to grow across protein types. The Raised and Rooted launch and our pipeline of innovation will reflect our consumers expectations for 100% plant based, blended, and traditional protein offerings.”
The Raised & Rooted® nuggets will launch through national retailers in late summer and the blended burgers this fall. The products have been developed by Tyson Foods’ innovation, culinary and consumer insights teams in Chicago and Northwest Arkansas.
The Raised & Rooted nuggets are made from a blend of pea protein isolate and other plant ingredients and contain five grams of fiber and omega-3s, and less saturated fat than traditional nuggets. The blended burger is made with Angus beef and pea protein isolate and has fewer calories and less saturated fat than the plant-based burgers sold by several competing companies. Aidells® Whole Blends™ products include a portfolio of fully-cooked sausage links and meatballs made with a blend of high quality, no antibiotics ever chicken and plant-based ingredients such as chickpeas, black beans, quinoa, lentils and barley.
West Hollywood Will Get Fresh
Canadian plant-based eatery Fresh arrives in West Hollywood this fall—the first U.S.-based location from restaurateur and vegan pioneer Ruth Tal and local powerhouse Shereen Arazm, co-owner of Terroni and former “Top Chef Canada” judge. Slated to open in September 2019, Fresh L.A. marks the sixth location of Tal’s boutique restaurant empire known for crave-able, plant-powered cuisine, botanical cocktails, vegan wines and chic, modern interiors.
Rounding out Fresh’s all-star female team are Cuff Founders Kristi Bender and Wendy Schwartz. Tal and Arazm are collaborating with the Cuff team to convert the 5,000-square-foot former Serafina space into a dreamy, California-chic dining experience with luxe velvet booths, two bars, outdoor seating and private event space.
Rooted in locally sourced and scratch-made ingredients, Fresh’s plant-based menu appeals to vegans, flexitarians and omnivores with soul-satisfying, shareable dishes like Quinoa Onion Rings, Charred Greens & Feta Flatbread, Buffalo Cauliflower, Dragon Fries, Nachos, Poutine and Squash Tacos.
On the beverage side, along with its signature juice bar, Fresh L.A.’s diverse cocktail program will feature cold-pressed margaritas, botanical gins and kombucha prosecco spritzers, along with a few zero-proof libations, micro-brewed ciders, high-protein shakes, superfood hot chocolate, a matcha bar and Intelligentsia coffee program.
Aramark Touts Plant-Forward Ballpark and Campus Menus
Aramark, food and beverage partner of nine Major League Baseball teams and more than 350 colleges and universities, is providing guests with greater variety, choice and access to healthier menu options at ballparks, workplaces, hospital cafés and college and university dining halls.
These plant-forward, vegetarian and vegan menu options are receiving attention and recognition, with two ballparks Aramark serves — Citi Field and Kauffman Stadium – recently recognized on PETA’s 2019 most vegan-friendly ballparks list and three higher education partners — University of Florida, University of South Florida and Arizona State University – appearing on PETA’s most recent list of the most vegan-friendly campuses.
Citi Field, Kauffman Stadium and the seven other ballparks Aramark serves, have expanded vegan and vegetarian menu options, to ensure they are providing the choices that meet individual lifestyle and dietary preferences. Highlights this season include:
- “32 Ingredient Salad” (Rogers Centre) – Thirty two plant-based ingredients including Brussels sprouts, kale, green cabbage, romaine lettuce, carrots, butternut squash, red cabbage, white & red quinoa, sunflower & pomegranate seeds, orange juice, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic and more (vegan, gluten free).
- Beyond Burger (Minute Maid Park) – Plant-based Beyond Burger, served Caribbean-style, with black beans, avocado pineapple relish and Sriracha aioli (vegetarian).
- Beyond Sausage (Kauffman Stadium) – 100% plant-based sausage served with sauerkraut (vegan, gluten free).
- Elote Topped Tots (Coors Field) – Tater tots, street corn, zesty mayo, cotija cheese, cilantro, cayenne pepper and green chili queso (vegetarian).
- Marty’s V Burger (Citi Field) – Dedicated vegan stand.
- Original – Beyond Burger with melted cheddar “cheese”, special sauce, pickles and lettuce.
- Beyond Bratwurst- Vegan bratwurst.
- Nourish (Oakland Coliseum) – A portable concession stand dedicated to serving healthy fare, including build your own salads, rice or quinoa bowls.
- Questlove’s Cheesesteak™ (Citizens Bank Park) – Founded by Questlove, the quintessential Philadelphia cheesesteak, made with Impossible 2.0 Meat™, white cheese sauce, signature pepper relish, served on a 9” Amoroso roll (vegetarian).
- Quinoa Blueberry Salad (PNC Park) – Red quinoa, chopped hearts of palm, spinach, blueberries, cucumbers, carrots, sunflower seeds and balsamic dressing (vegetarian), top photo.
- Veggie Burger (Fenway Park) – Handmade black bean patty with arugula, tomato, cucumber and truffle aioli. Served with a side of sweet potato fries (vegetarian).
While Aramark’s culinary team was developing new plant-forward menu options (dishes that center on foods including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts) for ballparks, chefs in Aramark’s dining operations in Healthcare, Higher Education and Business Dining have also been busy.
In response to the growing demand for plant-forward menus, the company recently launched its first dedicated plant-forward dining concept, The Twisted Beet, that puts a healthy spin on dishes like meatball subs and mac and cheese, and emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, but still offers a proportionately small quantity of animal protein.
“As consumers continue to embrace plant forward eating, we’ve stepped up to the plate and expanded our menu selections, in collaboration with industry-leading partners, to ensure we’re providing choices that meet individual lifestyle and dietary preferences,” said Heidi Hogan, Vice President of Product Development and Culinary Innovation at Aramark. “We’re continuing to lean on the expertise and creativity of our chefs to reimagine and innovate dishes that span the spectrum of plant forward eating; from entrees that emphasize vegetables, to 100% plant-based menus.”
Motivated by the company’s Healthy for Life® 20 by 20 collaboration with the American Heart Association, Aramark launched a major plant-forward initiative to elevate the role of fruits, vegetables and whole grains on its menus. Fueled by the science and research of the Association, Aramark introduced innovative recipes and aligned with existing efforts to accelerate climate-healthy menus available on colleges and universities, hospital cafés and workplace location menus. Currently, approximately 30 percent of the main dishes Aramark serves across its college and university dining, hospital café and workplace locations are vegan or vegetarian.
The Bliss Shake
Burgerville and Coconut Bliss, two Oregon-based companies, have collaborated on a 100-percent plant-based, dairy-free ice cream shake. The Bliss Shake is available at nearly all Burgerville locations throughout Oregon and Washington.
Made with coconut milk and sweetened with organic cane sugar, the soft serve blend was created by Coconut Bliss exclusively for Burgerville. It’s one of the first plant-based shakes to be offered year-round at a restaurant chain.
“Our guests have been requesting plant-based shakes for years,” said Chef Becky McGrath, director of food production at Burgerville. “It was so fun to work side by side with Coconut Bliss to develop this exclusive soft serve delicious shake. We’re thrilled to now be able to offer our guests both dairy and non-dairy options every day.”
For the same price as its traditional dairy milkshakes, guests can order any available shake flavor––including Oregon Fresh Berry Shakes, which will be available in June––by saying, “Make it a Bliss.” The Bliss Shakes will be made on a dedicated Bliss machine in each location that is separate from the traditional dairy milkshake machine.
Coconut Bliss is also excited about this special product launch with Burgerville, as it marks the company’s first foray into the fast-casual restaurant sector. The Eugene-based company strategically chose Burgerville as its partner in this important venture, since the companies share similar customer bases as well as an ongoing commitment to producing high-quality food.
“As a producer of organic, ethically-produced ice cream that’s 100-percent plant-based, Coconut Bliss knows the value of doing the right thing, which isn’t necessarily the easy thing,” said Kim Gibson Clark, president and CEO of Coconut Bliss. “That’s why we believe that we have found the perfect partner in Burgerville for this new plant-based shake. Burgerville is known for its fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, as well as for its commitment to sustainable business practices. We love all that and see Burgerville aligning well with the Coconut Bliss brand, as well as the quality of our ice cream.”
Added Clark, “Coconut Bliss is happy to be part of the movement to add plant-based foods, and other alternative menu items, to more dining options and locations in order to promote healthy living and environmentally-conscious eating practices.”
Bliss Shakes are being served at all Burgerville locations––with the exception of Corvallis and Burgerville Signature in Tigard––across Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Pressed Juicery to Plant Stakes in Texas
Pressed Juicery plans to expand to Texas. Dallas-Fort Worth will be home to the brand’s first locations in Texas with stores opening within Uptown Plaza, and Southlake Town Square this summer. Pressed Juicery has lofty expansion plans for the metroplex, with Fort Worth, North Dallas, Plano and additional Dallas locations on the horizon.
“We’ve been serving the great state of Texas through our e-commerce platform for a number of years and have noticed a significant uptick in growth over the last twelve months,” said Blaine LaBron, Vice-President of Marketing Technology at Pressed Juicery. “As a Texas native, it’s exciting to know we have a built-in audience of customers before opening our first door in the market. It takes the guess work out of where to grow.”
Pressed Juicery’s deep, longstanding relationships with their growers allows for produce to arrive at their production facilities within two days of being harvested, and pressed into a beverage in as soon as just three days. Pressed Juicery recently launched a paid-membership platform which provides even further savings to customers, with juice and plant-based milks available for $5 and a one-day cleanse for $30. While the program is only a year old, the Company is experiencing tremendous adoption with nearly 40% of their sales originating from paid-members.
In addition to cold-pressed juices and plant-based milks, Pressed Juicery offers their signature Freeze – a vegan, plant-based soft serve –, shots, tonics, and healthy grab and go snacks.
Pressed Juicery’s Dallas store will be located at 2222 McKinney, Suite 230, Dallas, TX 75201, and the Southlake store will be located at 222 State Street #046, Southlake, TX 76092.
Lightlife at Kelseys
The Lightlife Burger is now available at Kelseys Original Roadhouse across Canada. The new plant-based burger, which is made in Canada*, will be featured as part of Kelseys’ core menu within the “Burly Burgers” section is at all 70 Kelseys locations across Ontario; St. John’s, Newfoundland; Moncton, New Brunswick; and Calgary, Alberta. The plant-based burger patties contain 20g of protein and are free from GMOs, gluten and soy.
Lightlife® burgers will also be making their debut during the Kelseys 3rd Annual Burger Festival, running through July 14.
"Burgers are a key food pillar for Kelseys. Each year during this festival we celebrate burger innovation to further strengthen this pillar,” says Franco Tascione, Vice President, Kelseys Original Roadhouse. “This year, we’re taking things a step further by offering plant-based burgers alongside our 100% fresh Canadian ground chuck patties.” New offerings include The Bourbon BBQ Lightlife® Burger and The Roadhouse Lightlife® Burger.
“Partnering with Kelseys was a natural fit for the Lightlife brand,” said Dan Curtin, President of Greenleaf Foods, the parent company of Lightlife. “We both strive to provide high-quality food with a lot of flavor to consumers, while maintaining our own personal touch. This partnership underscores our commitment to offer our Canadian consumers a variety of delicious plant-based options when dining out.”
Kelseys plans to explore other Lightlife plant-based options to expand Kelseys menu later this year.
Burger King Takes Impossible Tour
After a successful test in St. Louis, MO, BURGER KING® restaurants is taking the plant-based Impossible™ WHOPPER® sandwich to three new markets. Guests can now visit their local restaurants in Miami, FL, Columbus, GA and Montgomery, AL to try the Impossible™ WHOPPER® and decide for themselves if it delivers the same flame-grilled, juicy craveability of the famous BURGER KING® restaurants WHOPPER® sandwich.
The Impossible™ WHOPPER® is “All WHOPPER®. No beef.” It consists of a flame-grilled patty made from plants topped with freshly sliced tomatoes and onions, crisp lettuce, creamy mayonnaise, ketchup and crunchy pickles on a toasted sesame seed bun.
This April, BURGER KING® restaurants became the first coast-to-coast quick-service restaurant to serve the award-winning, plant-based patty from food startup Impossible Foods, maker of the Impossible™ patty. BURGER KING® restaurants plans on making the Impossible™ WHOPPER® available to all guests nationwide by the end of 2019.
Fatburger Puts Impossible Burger on Menu in Singapore
FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands Inc., parent company of Fatburger, will debut a new menu item, the Impossible Burger at all Singapore locations. The 'bleeding,' vegan-friendly burger is available at Fatburgers across the USA, as well as sister brands Hurricane Grill & Wings and Buffalo's Cafe.
“We have a great relationship with Impossible Foods and have been working closely with them to become one of the first carriers of the Impossible Burger in Asia,” said Andy Wiederhorn, CEO of FAT Brands. “This announcement is not only a huge win for our customers, but also for our franchisees as the item performs incredibly well. We intend for this to be the first of many roll-outs across our international locations.”
More Zoodle Variety
Noodles & Company expanded its lighter menu offerings with two new Zoodles-based menu items. The overwhelmingly positive guest response to Zoodles, which first landed on the menu in May 2018, has allowed guests to enjoy the flavors they know and love as well as discover new ones with all the benefits of a healthier zucchini noodle.
Noodles also announced the launch of a new personalized nutrition calculator available on the Noodles website and app where users can effortlessly create dishes to meet their dietary lifestyles, from keto to paleo and vegetarian to gluten-friendly, and everything in between. Noodles fans can now enjoy worldly flavors any way they want them.
"We listened to guest feedback after launching Zoodles last year, and because the response was so favorable, we've created a new category on the menu called 'Zoodles and Other Noodles' and expanded the number of unique dishes our guests can order incorporating zucchini noodles," said Jonathan Tress, vice president of marketing at Noodles & Company. "New dishes like Zucchini & Asparagus and Zucchetti expand our plant-based dishes at Noodles to allow guests to truly enjoy our food even when healthy eating is top of mind."
Finding flavorful, healthy options while eating out is high on the priority list for Americans right now. A survey conducted by Wakefield Research with Noodles found 52% of people want to eat more veggies this summer and make steps toward a healthier lifestyle, but 53% feel healthy eating habits often fall apart when dining out. With plant-forward dishes and the ability to customize your meal, Noodles helps keep healthy habits on track.
"Our new spring dishes are fresh, light choices and allow our guests to explore bold new flavors we're confident they'll love," said Nick Graff, executive chef at Noodles & Company. "We're especially excited about the innovation that went into creating the Zuchetti & Asparagus dish, which satisfies pasta lovers and incorporates the extra veggies our guests are looking for."
Two new seasonal dishes will be available beginning May 8. The zucchini noodle dishes and ingredients include:
- Zucchini & Asparagus with Lemon Sauce: Zucchini noodles and fresh asparagus in a tangy lemon cream sauce with Roma tomatoes and roasted zucchini. Topped with toasted breadcrumbs and parsley.
- Zucchetti in White Wine Garlic Sauce with Balsamic Chicken: A 50/50 combination of zucchini noodles and spaghetti noodles in a white wine garlic sauce with balsamic chicken, roasted zucchini, Roma tomatoes, spinach, onion and basil. Finished with Parmesan cheese and lemon.
In addition to the new seasonal dishes, Noodles is introducing a new, gluten-friendly pipette shell, which just like zucchini noodles, can be substituted into any dish on the menu for only $1. Parents and kids alike will love pairing it with Noodles' top-selling dish, Wisconsin Mac & Cheese, for a gluten-sensitive (and kid-friendly) option. Later in the year, guests can look forward to additional light and satisfying plant-based noodles.
Fuji Plant Protein Labs (FPPL), a manufacturer of 100-percent vegan, plant-based, and non-dairy cheese, launched its Nozzarella™ brand into the commercial food service and pizza markets.
Nozzarella is a plant-based cheese alternative for the foodservice and pizza markets in North America. It supports the growing trend of chefs focusing on plant-based recipes. Early seeding has produced some incredible results. Restaurateur Tony Gemignani, a 13-time World Pizza Champion integrates Nozzarella at his Pizza Rock restaurant Pizza Rock in Las Vegas.
Gemignani is incorporating Nozzarella into his pizza creations because of its ease of use in his current kitchen setup. Its creamy consistency and the way it picks up flavor are different from most other vegan and plant-based cheeses. Customers to Pizza Rock now have a better choice from a wide creative variety of pizzas that Gemignani serves.
Nozzarella cheese is a non-dairy, non-GMO, soy-based product produced with FPPL’s patented Ultra Soy Separation process (USS). Targeted toward a growing plant-based food category to offer new possibilities for chefs and foodservice searching for a vegan or vegetarian alternative to dairy products. Fuji Plant Protein Labs achieves their goal to match real cheese in texture, consistency, and flavor using their patented USS process.
Nozzarella is produced from low-fat soy milk that is extracted using Fuji Oil’s Ultra Soy Separation process. Utilizing a method similar to that used to separate fresh milk the soy mash is separated yielding low-fat soy milk and other soy products. Separation is made possible by using Fuji Oil’s unique fractionation technology producing cream and low-fat soy milk. Adding lactic acid bacteria to the low-fat soy milk produces a cheese alternative that is creamy, low-fat and low in cholesterol. This process is not possible using ordinary soy milk. Only Fuji Oil’s USS process yields a cheese with a unique taste, consistency, and flavor.