MRM Plant-Based: Trends in Meatless and Copper Branch Expands in Time for Veganuary

Please send plant-based news to Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine's Barbara Castiglia at

Meatless Trends

As more meatless options become popular throughout the hospitality scene, Tripleseat released three popular menu options trending this holiday season as restaurants prepare for dinner parties.

According to Tripleseat customers throughout the country, there has been an increase in guests requesting a variety of plant-based or meatless fixings this year, with many new plant-based options being offered. Lime Venue Portfolio recently released research on how event buyers are more inclined to offer plant-based menus as they become more common and popular among guests. Another recent study conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity found that offering earth-friendly catering that focuses on low-carbon, plant-based choices can save wildlife habitat and decrease climate pollution.

Some trends the industry is seeing include: 

To Infinity & Beyond…MEATS

Menus are accommodating dietary preferences and identities, as well as taking various cultures into consideration, and even creating entire vegan menus

Restaurants are serving plant-based burgers, with either Impossible Foods or Beyond Meats

JACK of all trades

Due to its unusual texture, jackfruit is particularly interesting for creating meat substitutes, typically used for taco dishes

Smell something fishy?

Weird, you shouldn't…

Restaurants across the coast, including seafood restaurants, are accommodating vegans and vegetarians by offering fried avocado or eggplant parm dishes to replace meat and/or fish

"Restaurants and event planners are constantly improving and innovating to provide guests with what they want, and by focusing on greener menus that appease many diets, they're able to appeal to more customers," said Jonathan Morse, CEO and Founder. "We can anticipate more meatless menu trends in 2020 as chefs experiment with additional foods to replace animal products."

Mainstream Plant Based

The majority of Americans (71 percent) believe plant-based meats are becoming more mainstream according to new survey data released by Greenleaf Foods, SPC, and its category-leading brand Lightlife® 

Even carnivores (62 percent) agree that plant-based eating has gone mainstream, according to the survey results released in celebration of Lightlife’s 40 years pioneering the category. The online survey of 1,000 Americans was fielded by in September 2019 by Edelman Intelligence for Lightlife to measure perspectives on the plant-based category.

Lightlife analyzed demand and found that 31 percent of Americans expect to try a flexitarian diet in the future. Within the next year, 22 percent of Americans see themselves eating more plant-based protein alternatives and currently, 62 percent of people say they expect to see plant-based protein alternatives in restaurants.

Interestingly, nearly half (49 percent) of carnivores said in survey responses that they eat traditional meat four times a week or less. The reasons why Americans say they aren’t eating traditional meat more often include:

  • 74 percent seek variety in their diet
  • 73 percent believe they can get protein from other food sources
  • 58 percent of parents want to set a “good example” for their kids
  • 55 percent of all Americans say there’s a wide variety of meat alternatives to choose from
  • 40 percent of Americans believe that eating less traditional meat is better for the environment

“Lightlife has been pioneering the plant-based evolution for four decades and is dedicated to delivering options for all occasions across our broad portfolio of delicious products,” said Dan Curtin, President and CEO of Greenleaf Foods. “The survey results are powerful and affirm what we have long held to be true: that America is joining us in seeing the power of plant-based eating now and into the future.”

Plant-Based Corned Beef in Denver

For a limited time, Denver-area Quiznos locations offered plant-based eaters and curious carnivores alike the chance to try its new Plant-based Corned Beef sandwich for a limited time only. Featuring Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli, this deli classic also includes Swiss cheese, pickles, sauerkraut and honey French dressing on a Quiznos bread of choice.

“Given consumers’ growing desire for meatless options and the rise of plant-based foods, we wanted to test this modern twist on a deli classic here in Denver where sustainable green lifestyles are thriving,” said Sheila Zimmerman, Vice President of Marketing, REGO Restaurant Group, owner of Quiznos. “Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli is a delicious alternative to traditional deli meat and a perfect brand fit.

Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli founder Jenny Goldfarb has experienced early success with her debut product, Unreal Corned Beef, which is a hit in select delis and grocers in Los Angeles and is now nationwide.

“Just like burger lovers may seek out plant-based alternatives, corned beef aficionados can now also have a product that is, in the best sense, Unreal,” said Goldfarb.  “As the great-granddaughter of New York delicatessen owners, I’m thrilled to be expanding my brand into Quiznos restaurants with the launch of this delicious and craveable item.”

CKE Expands Partnership with Beyond Meat

CKE, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, will expand its partnership with Beyond Meat®, a leader in plant-based meat, with the introduction of new all-day plant-based protein options during breakfast, lunch and dinner nationwide.


“Since its debut less than a year ago, Carl’s Jr. has sold more than 6.7 million Beyond Famous Star® burgers to-date, making it the most successful product launch in the past two years. We’re continuing to build on this success by expanding our Beyond Meat partnership to Hardee’s,” said Patty Trevino, Senior Vice President, Brand Marketing at CKE Restaurants. “As we head into 2020, the addition of these new options at both restaurants is one of the many ways we’re continuing to deliver the innovation and quality Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are known for while appealing to new audiences including flexitarians, Gen Z and millennials.“

The all-day expansion across the CKE restaurant system comes after a successful year for Carl’s Jr., which contributed to the plant-based trend in late 2018, when the restaurant partnered with Beyond Meat to become one of the first major U.S. quick service restaurants to offer a plant-based burger patty. Since launch, Carl’s Jr. has seen an uptick of new customers, due in part to the partnership. The brands continued this history of firsts as Carl’s Jr. became one of the first quick service restaurants to innovate on its Beyond Burger offering by launching the Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger, while Hardee’s became one of the first to test all-day Beyond Meat offerings for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


“After a successful year with Carl’s Jr. and an initial test with Hardee’s, we’re thrilled to further expand the partnerships across the U.S. and have both brands be among the first to offer Beyond Meat at all times of day,” said Ethan Brown, CEO and Founder at Beyond Meat. “The new Beyond Breakfast Sausage™ is a game changer as it delivers the delicious quick serve breakfast experience that so many of us love and rely on, with the added nutritional and environmental benefits of plant-based meat.”

The new menu options, which draw on Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s signature charbroiled patties and Made From Scratch™ biscuits, include the following:

Carl’s Jr.:

  • Beyond Sausage® Burrito: 100 percent plant-based Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty, scrambled egg, shredded cheese, Hash Rounds® , tomatoes, and fresh salsa, served in a soft, warm tortilla
  • Beyond Sausage® Egg & Cheese Biscuit: 100 percent plant-based Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty topped with a slice of American cheese, and a fluffy folded egg, served on our freshly baked Made from Scratch Biscuit™


  • Beyond Sausage® Burrito: 100 percent plant-based Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty, fluffy folded eggs, shredded cheddar cheese and Hash Rounds® served in a soft, warm tortilla
  • Beyond Sausage® Biscuit: 100 percent plant-based Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty served on our freshly baked Made from Scratch Biscuit™
  • Beyond Sausage® & Egg Biscuit: 100 percent plant-based Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty and a fluffy folded egg served on our freshly baked Made from Scratch Biscuit™
  • Original Beyond Thickburger®: 100 percent plant-based Beyond Burger patty with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, dill pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayo on a toasted premium bun
  • The new menu additions are available at Carl’s Jr. starting December 18, and at Hardee’s starting December 30. Pricing and participation vary by location.

Copper Branch Opens Third U.S. Location

Copper Branch's third U.S. restaurant opened December 11 in the Canal Plaza area of Downton Portland, Maine.

The new restaurant, located in a glass circular building at 1 Canal Plaza, will serve a wide array of 100 percent plant-based, all natural menu items, many of which are organic and non-GMO, as well as several options which are gluten-free. The restaurant will also feature local beer and cider brewed in Maine.

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. 

The restaurant will feature an all-day breakfast starting at 8 am, and an all-encompassing menu that includes power bowls, burgers and sandwiches, soups and chili, and power smoothies and the chain is constantly introducing new and seasonal menu items. The entire menu is whole food plant-based, with many non-GMO, organic, specialty and naturally gluten-free foods. The restaurant will be franchisee-run by Maine residents Chris and Melissa Hooper.

Copper Branch CEO Rio Infantino shares his excitement about making Portland the third location in the U.S. by stating, “We know Portland area residents share our commitment to delicious, health-focused foods and we are excited to open our third U.S. location in the heart of Portland, Maine with such an iconic location. Whether you’re strolling the Old Port, at work downtown, attending an event at Cross Insurance Arena or the State Theater, or even sports fans heading to see a Sea Dogs game at Hadlock Field, we invite everyone to experience and enjoy Copper Branch with our chef-inspired, 100% plant-based menu that will empower, energize, and mark people feels their best.”

The new openings coincide with the start of Veganuary, the movement that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January as a way to promote and educate about a vegan lifestyle. . Infantino adds, “Though all of our menu options are plant-based, the vast majority of our customers are not vegans, but rather those who are looking for a healthier dining alternative by reducing the level of meat and dairy in their diets.” 

Taco Del Mar Rolls Out Beyond Meat Tacos 

Following a successful test earlier this year, Taco Del Mar  has rolled out its new Beyond Meat® Taco across all locations.


Taco Del Mar guests can enjoy the new Beyond Meat Taco, which features plant-based Beyond Beef® Feisty Crumbles sautéed with medium chipotle salsa, diced onions and minced serrano peppers, topped with shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo and jalapeños served on warm corn tortillas. The plant-based Beyond Meat protein is also available for order in other popular menu items such as burritos, enchiladas, taco salads or quesadillas.

Consumers who had the opportunity to taste Beyond Meat at Taco Del Mar during the test period loved the flavor and quality of the new taco, giving rave reviews, including:

“I love the boldness of the spices.”

“Deliciously spicy flavor. I thought it was beef.”

“I could barely tell it wasn’t ground beef.”

“I like the fresh veggies.”

“The flavors! Loved the Beyond Meat.”

“Introducing a plant-based protein to our menu allows us to offer our meat-eating customers looking to reduce their meat intake an option that doesn’t sacrifice on taste, and also expands our vegetarian and vegan options,” said Chef Mike Gieseman, Director of Culinary and Innovation for REGO Restaurant Group, which owns Taco Del Mar. “By introducing Beyond Meat to our guests, we continue our commitment to producing innovative and delicious menu offerings that embrace our signature Baja-style Coastal Mexican flavors.”

Plant-Based Impossible® Meat Sauce

Fazoli’s debuted  Impossible® meat sauce in a test at all five restaurants in its hometown – Lexington, Kentucky.  Starting December 16, Fazoli’s incorporated Impossible® meat – made from Impossible® Burger, a plant-based meat made from potatoes and soy – into two classic Italian menu items. For a limited time, guests can enjoy these  dishes – along with Fazoli’s famous unlimited breadsticks: 

  • Impossible Spaghetti – A bed of hearty spaghetti topped with new Impossible® meat sauce – made with ground Impossible® burger meat – vine-ripened tomatoes, garlic and basil. (Vegan)
  • Impossible Baked Spaghetti – A bed of hearty spaghetti topped with new Impossible® meat sauce – made with ground Impossible® burger meat – vine-ripened tomatoes, garlic and basil, topped with Mozzarella cheese and baked for added indulgence. (Vegetarian)

Director of Culinary Innovation Rick Petralia said Fazoli’s worked on developing a plant-based meat that tastes great to everyone, including meat lovers. The always innovative and evolving Italian chain found that the Impossible® meat sauce both responds to its guests’ ever-changing lifestyle needs and stays true to delivering on the craveable flavors the brand is known for.

“As the first Italian brand to capitalize on plant-based Impossible® meat sauce, we knew we needed a product that didn’t just taste good for being a plant-based product,” Petralia said. “We wanted a product that would taste indistinguishable from beef and be delicious to everyone who tried it. You can’t taste the difference between our meat sauce and the Impossible® meat sauce. As we continue to innovate our menu to match the changes in our guests’ lifestyles, we’ve created a product that everyone will love. Now, we can reach a wider audience because we have a delectable menu full of items that will satisfy everyone who walks through our doors.”

These Impossible® Spaghetti and Impossible® Baked Spaghetti dishes are available at Lexington locations only.

Little Beets Opens in DC Area

Little Beet Brands recently opened its plant-inspired restaurant concepts, The Little Beet in Arlington, VA, and Little Beet Table in Chevy Chase, MD. In an effort to expand across the D.C. area, the company is slated to open The Little Beet at 1100 South Hayes Street on November 14 and Little Beet Table at 5471 Wisconsin Avenue on November 19.

“We’re striving to make a wellness lifestyle easier to adopt and maintain by making nutritious and nourishing food accessible to all,” said Becky Mulligan, CEO of Little Beet Brands. “With the D.C. metro area ranked as one of the healthiest cities in America, it’s an obvious choice for us to continue the expansion of our vegetable-forward concepts to the market. We can’t wait for our new neighbors to fall in love with our wholesome ingredients and flavors.”

The Little Beet, a fast-casual restaurant concept, features thoughtfully sourced ingredients like Organic Quinoa, Sesame Avocado, Delicata Squash, Farmed Maine Kelp, Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Beet Falafel. The restaurant will be located in the Pentagon City Mall, a sophisticated shopping mall located just moments from the nation’s capital and conveniently situated on the Washington D.C. metro system.

The company’s full-service dining concept, Little Beet Table, will be located in The Collection at Chevy Chase, a high-end, walkable retail destination. Little Beet Table features dishes like Wild, Alaskan Salmon, Charred Cauliflower, Sheep’s Milk Ricotta and a Crispy Spirulina Rice Bowl. Little Beet Table also offers a vegetable-forward cocktail program that includes drinks made with rhubarb, hibiscus, fennel, kale and beet syrup. Both restaurants will provide healthful, whole food menus with nutrient-rich ingredients that are 100% gluten-free and sourced from trusted farmers and purveyors. Geoff Kornberg, Director of Culinary for The Little Beet and Matt Aita, Director of Culinary for Little Beet Table are joined by Trevor Kunk, who was recently brought in as Director of Culinary Innovation for Little Beet Brands.

“It’s exciting to promote healthier food choices and overall wellness through creative, vegetable driven dishes that are good for you and full of flavor,” said Kunk. “We’re always working to create new and exciting menu items for our guests. Whether you choose to go to our fast-casual concept, The Little Beet, or prefer to dine at our full-service restaurant, Little Beet Table, you’ll notice we are thoughtful and playful while focused on taste and creativity. Our two new locations will provide guests in the D.C. area with a true culinary adventure.” 

Since Little Beet Brands’ founding in 2014, the New York-based restaurant concepts have grown to 15 locations across the East coast with locations in Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester, Jersey City, Washington, D.C., Arlington, Miami, Chicago and Greenwich. Recently opening its first location in Florida at the Aventura Mall, Little Beet Brands plans to open 15 more restaurants throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions by the end of 2020.

Veggie Grill Opens Fourth Location

Veggie Grill opened its fourth Chicago location in the West Loop on Thursday, November 7. 

“We look forward to expanding in the Chicago community with our new West Loop location, especially given the prominent culinary landscape we join on Randolph Street,” said Veggie Grill CEO Steve Heeley. “Our team is dedicated to supporting the growing mindful eating movement by inviting all to explore the plant-based movement through our delicious food.”

The West Loop location brings a  100 percent plant-based experience to residents, nearby professionals and visitors, offering a standout selection of thoughtfully-curated, chef-driven food that remains approachable to all kinds of eaters. Veggie Grill boasts a 100 percent plant-based menu featuring burgers, sandwiches, tacos, burritos, bowls, salads, shareables, desserts and a rotating selection of seasonal dishes. 

The West Loop restaurant marks the brand’s 36th location since opening in California in 2006, and joins Veggie Grill’s existing Chicago locations in Lakeview (614 W. Diversey Pkwy), River North (629 N. Wells St.) and the Loop (204 N. Wells St.).  Veggie Grill has sold almost 1 million VG Beyond Burgers since the menu item launched in 2015.

Plant-Based Sausage Pizza

Giordano’s,will offer a new plant-based sausage ingredient for pizza orders nationwide, in partnership with Impossible Foods. The Impossible Pizza features Giordano’s signature sausage recipe, but it's prepared with delicious Impossible meat made from plants. The premium ingredient option is available to order with Giordano's thin-crust, extra-thin-crust, and iconic deep-dish pizzas.

Giordano’s is the first pizza chain in the country to roll out the plant-based product as a pizza topping nationwide. 

The new plant-based ingredient will be offered at 70 Giordano’s locations throughout the country beginning today, for dine-in, carry-out, delivery, online ordering and catering. 

"Giordano’s is thrilled to partner with Impossible Foods to offer this award-winning, plant-based meat as an alternative to our popular sausage ingredient," said Giordano's Marketing Manager Jessica Harris. "It’s flavorful, satisfying and delicious." 

FC Canada announced its latest innovation, KFC Plant-Based Fried Chicken. With the desire to share the Colonel's legendary finger lickin' good taste with every Canadian, KFC Canada partnered with Lightlife®, a leading plant-based protein brand, to create a signature Plant-Based Fried Chicken Sandwich and Popcorn Chicken.  

KFC Canada Introduces Plant-Based Fried Chicken 

KFC Canada's Plant-Based Fried Chicken made its debut during a limited, one-restaurant, one-day test on Wednesday, November 27 in Mississauga, Ontario. 

KFC Canada Introduces Plant-Based Fried Chicken (CNW Group/KFC Canada)

"We believe the Colonel's famous finger lickin' good taste should have no boundaries," said Sam Redman, Chief Marketing Officer, KFC Canada. "So we've created several craveable plant-based options for Canadian's looking for a meat-free meal."

During the limited test release, the Plant-Based Fried Chicken sandwich (available in regular or spicy) was available for $6.99 or in a meal starting at only $8.99, and the Plant-Based Fried Popcorn Chicken bucket is available starting at $3.99. Better yet, fans can try both the plant-based sandwich and popcorn chicken options by selecting a meal for one option for $10.99 (includes fries, salad and a 355ml can of lime Bubly).

Developed in response to Canadian's evolving tastes and preferences for plant-based proteins, KFC's Plant-Based Fried Chicken is made in Canada by Lightlife®, a leading plant-based protein brand whose broad portfolio of products is available in retailers such as Metro, Loblaws, Sobeys, Longo's and Federated Coop. 

"This is a landmark moment for Lightlife. We're proud to join forces with KFC to bring Canadians a plant-based chicken with incredible taste," said Dan Curtin, President and CEO of Greenleaf Foods, SPC, the owner of Lightlife. "With pioneering partners like KFC, we can make plant-based foods more broadly available to the growing number of consumers seeking the option on the go."

In addition to the new KFC Plant-Based Fried Chicken options, KFC Canada has been offering fans vegetarian options since 2009, including a vegetarian sandwich available in restaurants across Canada. Feedback gathered during the limited, one-restaurant, one-day test will determine KFC Canada's plans to roll out the Plant-Based Fried Chicken options nationally in 2020. 

A&W Adds Lightlife

A&W is  exploring new ways to satisfy its customers’ growing demand for plant-based alternatives by adding Lightlife’s new plant-based nuggets to its menu at select locations Ontario and British Columbia earlier this month. Lightlife carefully crafted a unique blend of 100-percent plant-based ingredients and spices to create Canada’s first 100-percent plant-based nugget that delivers the same taste and texture of traditional nuggets. 

More Fatburgers Add Craig's Vegan

FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands Inc. , parent company of Fatburger, added 50 more Fatburger restaurants to the list of those offering hand-scooped Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream shakes topped with vegan whipped cream in the Southern California and Las Vegas areas.

Addtioanlly,  all domestic locations of FAT's Elevation Burger will now carry the plant-based Impossible™ Burger as well as dairy-free Daiya Cheddar Style Slices.

Elevation Burger’s nationwide launch of the Impossible Burger and dairy-free Daiya Cheddar Style Slices demonstrates the brand's commitment to serving customers of all dietary preferences. The Impossible™ Burger handles, cooks and tastes like ground beef — but is made entirely from plants — while each Daiya Cheddar Style Slice delivers the same incredible melt and slight sharpness as dairy-based cheese that pairs perfectly with the Impossible™ Burger or any Elevation Burger for a dairy-free option.

“We have seen the tremendous success of the Impossible Burger and of Daiya’s Cheddar Style Slices and recognize consumer demand within the plant-based and dairy-free space,” said FAT Brands CEO, Andy Wiederhorn. “This partnership was a natural fit that aligns with our brand pillars and we believe that these new menu items will provide consumers more ways to enjoy the delicious offerings of Elevation Burger.”

In October, Fatburger debuted Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream shakes at 12 Los Angeles locations and after popular demand, Fatburger is bringing the delicious vegan option to 50 additional stores. The vegan milkshakes are available in two flavors, vanilla and strawberry, and are available starting today.

“Partnering with Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream has been extraordinary, and we are ecstatic to bring a vegan shake offering to additional Fatburger fans in California and Nevada,” said Andy Wiederhorn, CEO of FAT Brands. “Our vegan shakes are the perfect pairing for our plant-based Impossible Burger and dairy-free cheddar cheese offering.”

Meatless Farm Names Chair

The Meatless Farm Co. appointed Jesper Højer as its new chair, one of a series of hires to help grow the plant-based meat alternatives business globally.

His appointment comes as The Meatless Farm Co has started strengthening its management team to build the group and brand globally. Lone Thomsen joined as chief marketing officer from Coca-Cola in September and earlier this month the company appointed Dr. Peter Hynes, who has a background at Unilever, Smith & Nephew and Taylors of Harrogate, as head of research and development.

“The Meatless Farm Co has a great opportunity to be one of the global leaders in this fast-developing food sector,” said Højer. “I am impressed by the quality of both the products and the team, and aim to help build The Meatless Farm Co into an international business.”

Jesper was the global CEO of Lidl until earlier this year and spent 16 years at the fast-growing German supermarket giant.

“Bringing someone on board with the global experience of Jesper is a marker not only of what we have achieved so far, but also the potential of Meatless Farm over the next few years,” said Morten Toft Bech, Founder of The Meatless Farm Co. “The world is waking up to the need to reduce red meat in our diets, and we are ready to feed the growing demand for plant-based alternatives.”

Højer’s appointment follows Meatless Farm’s August 2019 launch into more than 450 Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. Meatless Farm is also available widely in the UK, Canada, Sweden and the UAE, and eyeing further overseas expansion in 2020.

Vegan-Friendly NFL Venues

Aramark noted five of the stadiums it serves were named to PETA’s inaugural list of top ten most vegan-friendly NFL venues, top photo.

U.S. Bank Stadium (#3), Lincoln Financial Field (#4), Arrowhead Stadium (#5), Empower Field at Mile High (#8), and M&T Bank Stadium (#10) were all recognized for their robust vegan menus.

“Aramark is honored to serve as the food partner for five of the top ten stadiums recognized for their vegan-friendly menus,” said Carl Mittleman, President of Aramark’s Sports and Entertainment division. “We continually strive to offer diverse menus that appeal to every fan, no matter their lifestyle or dietary preferences, and increasing vegan, vegetarian and plant-forward options is consistent with our overall commitment to enhancing the fan experience.”

Among the vegan items each of these stadiums was recognized for, include:

  • U.S. Bank Stadium: Chickpea “tuna” salad; BBQ pulled jackfruit sandwich; and Greek salad wrap.
  • Lincoln Financial Field: Vegan po’ boy; Buffalo falafel; and Vegan burger, vegan hot dog, and veggie wrap.
  • Arrowhead Stadium: Vegan sausage made of cauliflower, walnut, and wild rice; Beyond Burger; Deep-fried cauliflower with hot sauce; and Quinoa and corn salad.
  • Empower Field at Mile High: Beyond Burger; Vegetarian street tacos; and Veggie noodle bowl.
  • M&T Bank Stadium: Plant-based frankfurter and Vegan burger.
  • Vegan, vegetarian and plant-forward fare highlights from other venues in Aramark’s NFL portfolio include:
  • FirstEnergy Stadium: Falafel bowl
  • Heinz Field: Quinoa tacos
  • Paul Brown Stadium: Black bean spring wrap
  • RingCentral Coliseum: Impossible Burger
  • Soldier Field: LightLife Burger

Aramark partner locations regularly rank among the best in their industry for plant-forward, vegetarian and vegan fare, with two ballparks Aramark serves — Citi Field and Kauffman Stadium – recognized on PETA’s 2019 most vegan-friendly ballparks list and four higher education partners — Wake Forest University, University of Florida, University of South Florida and Arizona State University – appearing on PETA’s list of the most vegan-friendly campuses.

Dog Haus Introduces Its First Vegan Item 

 Dog Haus is reinforcing its philosophy to ensure that its values are evident in its offerings with the debut of its first *vegan item – Take Bánh Mì. 

Dog Haus has partnered with Chef Ilan Hall, Top Chef season two winner, TV personality and the mind behind Ramen Hood, to create the craft casual concept’s sixth and final limited-time offer in its 2019 No Kid Hungry Chef Collaboration Series. Made exclusively for Dog Haus’ menu, Take Bánh Mì features an Impossible™ burger patty, topped with pickled vegetables, fresh jalapeños, cilantro, spicy vegan mayo, chili oil and hoisin sauce; served on a vegan ciabatta roll.

Take-Bánh-Mì; impossible patty drizzled with chili oil, pickled vegetables, fresh jalapeños, cilantro, hoisin sauce and spicy vegan mayo; served on a vegan ciabatta roll

This one-of-a-kind creation is available at Dog Haus locations nationwide throughout December and $1 of the purchase price from every Take Bánh Mì sold will be donated to Dog Haus’ national charity partner No Kid Hungry, whose mission is to end childhood hunger in America.

“Having the opportunity to continually work with such an innovative brand has been a career highlight,” Hall said. “To say that I’m excited to work with this team is an understatement. I’m currently focused on creating vegan dishes that will surpass expectations and I’m honored to have the opportunity to use my culinary expertise to create Dog Haus’ very first vegan item.”

Each kick-ass chef featured in this series works closely with Dog Haus’ culinary team and Würstmacher Adam Gertler to craft items showcasing their unique style. It’s an opportunity for guests who may not otherwise be able to enjoy these artists’ work to do so at their favorite Dog Haus location.

Dog Haus has teamed up with Mia Mastroianni, celebrity mixologist and TV personality featured on Bar Rescue, to introduce two limited-time cocktails for Dog Haus’ new Mixologist Collaboration. Available throughout December at Dog Haus Biergarten locations with a full bar, guests can sip on the Patio Crusher, made with vodka, watermelon, lime, mint and cucumber, and at all Biergarten locations, The Gatekeeper, concocted using hefeweizen, lime, raspberry and hibiscus. $1 of the purchase price from each of Mastroianni’s two drinks sold will be donated to No Kid Hungry.

“We always look forward to our Chef Collaboration Series and we are excited to have just launched our Mixologist Collaboration,” said Dog Haus Partner Hagop Giragossian. “These unique partnerships enable celebrity chefs and bartenders to share their individual take with a wider audience. Plus, it adds delicious, elevated variety to our menu and creates exclusive new offerings for our guests to enjoy. All while raising funds for No Kid Hungry’s extremely important mission to end childhood hunger in America. We are sad that this year’s series are coming to an end, but we couldn’t have asked for a better limited-time offer to do it with. Ilan is well-known for his vegan dishes for a reason. Ilan and Mia did a great job with December’s No Kid Hungry specials, I have no doubt that they will be a huge hit among our guests nationwide.”

Take Bánh Mì, Patio Crusher, and The Gatekeeper will only be available during the month of December. While Take Bánh Mì will be available at all Dog Haus locations, Patio Crusher and The Gatekeeper will only be available at Dog Haus Biergarten locations. Future libations will be crafted by celebrity mixologist Lisamarie Joyce.

What Will Happen to the Cultured Meat Industry in 2020?

Will the hamburgers of the future be made from animal cells grown in a lab instead of inside a cow? Cultured meat, also known as “cell-based” or “clean” meat, could soon be making its way to our dinner plates, completely bypassing the need for animal slaughter and overcoming some of the major environmental issues that currently plague the global agriculture industry. Even though no products have yet been released and there are major challenges with cost, regulation and scale up, the industry is growing rapidly, with investment reaching a new high in 2019. 

The recent IDTechEx report, “Plant-based and Cultured Meat 2020-2030”, projects the cultured meat market to reach $514 million in sales by 2030. But what does the immediate future look like for cultured meat? This article looks at what happened in the cultured meat industry in 2019 and explores what’s in store for 2020.

Investment has been growing rapidly in recent years. Following major successful funding rounds for companies likeBlueNalu, Future Meat Technologies and Wild Type, the total invested reached $80 million in 2019, a 120 percent increase from 2018. This is likely to continue in 2020, with companies channelling the extra funding into R&D. The science behind cultured meat production is relatively well-established; the main challenges are to do with cost reduction and scale up.Both require significant investment into equipment, such as high efficiency, large scale bioreactors, and process engineering, so companies will be keen to secure additional funding.

In response to the growing excitement and investment in the field, many new start-up companies are being founded. In 2016, there were only four companies operating in the space. Now it is more than thirty. We can expect this trend to continue into 2020, with more companies getting involved in the race to bring cultured meat to market.

Alongside this, companies from peripheral industries will begin targeting their output towards the cultured meat industry. A major problem currently facing the cultured meat industry is the lack of an ecosystem around it – no companies are yet producing equipment such as bioreactors or consumables such as growth media designed for the cultured meat industry, as the industry is currently too small for this to be worthwhile. Cultured meat companies are therefore having to do much of this development themselves, which is time-consuming, expensive and risky. However, as the industry grows, so will the size of the opportunity across the cultured meat value chain, drawing interest from companies involved in peripheral industries. In addition to this, we can expect more new companies focusing on specific areas of the cultured meat value chain to emerge. This is already beginning to happen, for example German start-up Ospin Modular Bioprocessing, which produces scalable bioreactors designed for processes such as cultured meat production.

Throughout 2019, arguments have brewing about what to call cultured meat, and whether it even counts as “meat” at all.Cultured meat companies have switched between the terms “clean meat”, “cultured meat” and “cell-based meat”, with industry advocate The Good Food Institute recently announcing that “cultivated meat” is now the preferred term.

Whether cultured meat actually constitutes “meat” is a controversial topic. Bills to prevent plant-based and cell cultured products from being labelled as “meat” have already been put forward in 25 US states and the US Cattlemen’s Association petitioned the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2018 to restrict use of the term “beef” to products derived from slaughtered cattle. In 2020, cultured meat companies are likely to begin the regulatory approval process for their products, and so the arguments over labelling will become increasingly volatile.

Whilst this debate over what to call the products may at first seem trivial, it could have major implications for the cultured meat industry. If the industry is banned from using the term “meat” and forced by regulators to use unappealing terms such as “artificial muscle protein” or “lab grown meat analogue”, it could be very off-putting to consumers and seriously stymie the growth of the fledgling industry.

At the less extreme end, the debate over “cultivated” or “cultured” meat also matters. Consumers are notoriously sceptical of biotechnology, especially within food, and what people call this category could be critical to the success of the industry. Terms like “lab grown” or “cell-based” meat could sound scientific and unappealing, but “cultured” meat may be difficult to understand. The term “clean” meat implies that conventional meat is dirty and could be viewed as unnecessarily derogative towards the agricultural industry, whose support and acceptance may be required to overcome the labelling debate.

Will 2020 see the first products released? In short, probably not. The regulatory battle in the US and EU has not yet properly begun and no companies have yet made a formal application. The regulatory process itself could take at least a year in the US and will likely take more than 18 months in the EU. Whilst the regulatory process is easier in places like Hong Kong and Singapore, which have been touted as likely first markets for cultured meat, it is difficult to see any product releases happening in 2020.

Even with regulatory approval, the question remains as to whether a quick release is even a good idea. At the Cultured Meat Symposium 2019, David Kay from Memphis Meats commented that the first cultured meat products could colour perceptions of the industry for years. He pointed out that the plant-based meat industry has struggled for years to shake off the perception that its products are unappetising, based on consumer perceptions of the first generation of products.The botched introduction of genetically modified food products in the 1990s scarred the industry for decades and the cultured meat industry will be keen to avoid making the same mistakes.

However, getting the first products right could take years, especially if this involves securing supply chains, reducing costs and scaling up production capabilities. This also risks investors getting tired of feeding money into the industry without seeing returns. Nevertheless, this may be the most likely outcome. In the IDTechEx report “Plant-based and Cultured Meat 2020-2030”, we forecast that the first products will not be released until 2023. Growth will initially be slow, as products are released in selected restaurants at premium prices and companies wrestle with scale up and cost reduction. Towards the end the decade, however, we believe that growth will pick up, as cultured meat begins to become a viable alternative to the conventional meat industry.