Brand Collaborations, Conferences, EU School Schemes, Funding and Expansions, and more
Welcome to our round-up of plant-based news. We have been keeping across what has been happening in the sector and scouring newspapers, magazines, and digital platforms to bring you the most interesting and important plant-based news. If you have news for us, why not get in touch? Please email us at [email protected] with your stories!
Launched in January, Australian alt-seafood brand is formally launching its product portfolio at Chicago’s National Restaurant Association Show (May 20-23). The brand, which claims its vegan seafood range is the largest of the kind on the market, makes vegan whitefish, salmon, tuna, crabsticks, calamari steaks and rings, jumbo prawns and shrimp bites from konjac and/or soy protein. These are designed for the US foodservice industry.
Cracked x This and Applewood
The UK vegan market has seen a significant brand collaboration. Plant-based egg brand Crackd has partnered with alt-meat startup This and cheese producer Applewood to offer plant-based quiches, which will launch exclusively at Tesco stores at the end of May.
The product range consists of Quiche Lorraine (which uses This Isn’t Bacon), Cheeze & Broccoli, and Caramelised Red Onion (all using Applewood’s smoky vegan cheese). This comes a month after the quiches won silver and bronze awards at the 2023 Farm and Deli Awards at the Food & Drink Expo. Crackd also won Product of the Year 2023 in January.
Funding and expansions
US mushroom-based vegan deli meat manufacturer Prime Roots has raised $30 million in its latest financing package, taking its total funding to $50 million with a Series B round. The consortium of investors includes Quorn parent company Monde Nissin. Prime Roots makes charcuterie products like turkey, ham, salami, pepperoni, bacon, pâté and foie gras from mycelium.
The Vurger Co
UK vegan burger chain The Vurger Co has been acquired out of administration in a pre-pack sale by a new company formed by its founders alongside new and existing investors. The development will see the brand’s Canary Wharf location close, but it saves three sites in Shoreditch, Brighton and Manchester.
Founded in 2016, the company says it was heavily impacted by Covid-19, Brexit and the cost-of-living crisis. It had allegedly found a buyer at the end of last year, who pulled out at the last moment, but it has now raised the additional funds it needed to stay afloat.
Canadian fast-food chain Odd Burger has announced its international expansion plans. It aims to open 150 locations in Asia – 145 in India and five in Singapore – and will open a flagship store in Mumbai by the end of the year. With 90 locations already in operation or under development in Canada, the brand also plans to expand into 25 US states and some countries in Europe.
Global non-profit ProVeg International has opened its first office in Nigeria to promote the benefits of climate-friendly diets and plant-based food and help transform the food system of the world’s third fastest-growing population. The charity will serve vegan regional dishes in markets streets, schools and hospitals across the country. This follows the launch of its African accelerator programme in 2021.
Legislations and conferences
While the EU parliament has voted to adopt a report implementing a school scheme focusing on unprocessed, locally produced and organic food, it has rejected amendments calling for plant-based beverages to be included in the scheme. Member of European Parliament Carmen Avram (from Romania) created the report and called for a vote in favour of a motion to “end the exclusion of children with intolerances, allergies and food restrictions”, but this was rejected.
However, ProVeg International, which campaigned to include alt-milks in European schools, said the EU Commission is now working on a new proposal to make lawmakers reconsider.
Dutch event management company Bridge2Food is hosting the Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Summit Europe The Hague, Netherlands on June 7 and 8. The conference will feature over 75 speakers and panellists – including representatives from Nestlé, Unilever and Danone – as well as more than 40 exhibitors.
The summit will cover three main topics – Consumer & Industry Challenges, Delicious Foods, and Sustainable Processing Innovations – all keeping the UN’s sustainable development goals in mind.
Vegan Women Summit
The Vegan Women Summit 2023 ran from May 18-20 in New York City, featuring over 100 speakers and panellists. It was hosted by founder Jennifer Stojkovic and Miyoko’s Creamery founder Miyoko Schinner.
Topics of discussion included The State of Women in Business, Why Politics Belongs at the Dinner Table, Is the Media Fair to the Plant-Based Industry?, and How Science Will Make a More Compassionate Food System.
Discontinuations and bankruptcy
UK sausage maker is cutting down its vegan range due to a lack of consumer appetite. While it originally had 10 plant-based products in its portfolio, it is discontinuing all but two, with chipolatas and burgers being the only items it’ll keep making. This follows the withdrawal of several high-profile products in the British vegan market, including Oatly’s ice creams, Nestlé’s Garden Gourmet and Wunda lines, and Innocent’s dairy-free smoothies.
Raw Indulgence, the US brand behind the Raw Rev protein bars, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York. The court filing states that the company has estimated assets between $500,000 and $1 million, and liabilities between $1 million and $10 million. It also cites that funds will be available to unsecured creditors.