Transformed Salami Factory Now Makes Plant-Based Meat and Seafood

Transylvanian salami is world famous, with special protected status in the EU. The region has a tradition of meat processing. Sibiu Salami, a dry-cured pork sausage, covered with a thin layer of mould, is a local delicacy and has been produced since the late 1800s.  But in 2018, the heritage salami factory Salconserv was bought by two entrepreneurs with an ambition to make meat not from animals but from pea protein. 

Raul Ciurtin and Eberhart Raducanu founded a new company: Verdino Green Foods, and transformed the facility into Romania’s first plant-based factory based on pea protein. They began making pea protein salami, sausages, burgers, mince, bacon, mortadella, and breaded cutlets – all 100% plant-based. The company is now well-established in retail and food service and employs 135 people. What began as a start-up, with entirely Romanian capital scaled up in 2021, with finance from Black Peak Capital. The product range has grown continuously. In July 2022, Verdino took over the brands Unfished® and Green Course® from Prefera Foods, adding plant-based seafood and ready meals to their portfolio. With the new diversified range, Verdino became one of the main players in the sector in Europe. The products are available in all main retailers in Romania and in select supermarkets across Europe.  

Raul Ciurtin says: “By taking over Unfished® Verdino now has a plant-based fish and seafood range to reach more market segments. Unfished® is the most extensive plant-based fish range available internationally, with an impressive number of innovative products. We are talking about salmon fillets, white fish fillets, breaded fish sticks, breaded fillets, smoked salmon slices, and salmon and tuna sashimi for sushi – all plant-based and easy to prepare. The star of the Unfished® range is PlantZalmon® Smoked Slices. Not only is it eye-catching, but the salmon-like texture, colour, consistency, familiar bite, and unique taste also make it the perfect treat – with a clear conscience.”  

The dishes have received enthusiastic responses from consumers and clients across the globe. They have won awards for quality, taste, and impact, picking up trophies at the Plant-Based Taste Awards, V-Label Awards, Men’s Health Good Food Awards and PETA Deutschland’s Vegan Food Awards. The company is busy working on a new range of plant-based dairy and cheese and some new ready meals.  

Founder Raul Ciurtin said: “We’ve tried to constantly come up with new products and offer consumers healthier, sustainable food based on vegetable protein. Our ambition is to create a more sustainable and prosperous future for people and the planet and our long-term goal is to become a leading full-range European plant-based food company. We want to work with our stakeholders and help consumers make climate-friendly choices. That is why we produce tasty and healthy alternatives, out of love for consumers and the planet, with the vision of becoming a positive impactful global leader.”  

For more information about Verdino Green Foods plant-based products and company, visit and LinkedIn page

Naturli US Launch, Nestle Ends Plant-Based Brands in The UK and Oxford City Council Goes Plant-Based  

Welcome to our fortnightly business round-up. We have scoured the newspapers, magazines, and digital platforms for the most important plant-based news stories. If you have news for us, why not get in touch? Email us at [email protected] with your stories!  

Company News  

Naturli Butter Launching in US 

Danish plant-based food firm Naturli is launching its plant-based butter in the US. Texas-based retailer H-E-B will start selling the spread in June. US distributor Kehe will also take on the product. Naturli is also in talks about expanding its ice cream sales in the UK via supermarkets.  

Very Good Company in Receivership  

Canadian meat and dairy alternative company The Very Good Food has gone into receivership after failing to secure new finance. The Vancouver-based business will continue to operate while a buyer is being sought.

Nestle Ends Plant-Based Brands in UK and Irish Retail  

Nestle is removing its vegan meat-free Garden Gourmet and alternative-dairy Wunda brands from retail in the UK and Ireland. Garden Gourmet products will still be available for foodservice in the UK and Ireland.  

Market Reports 

Innova’s Top Trends  

Despite inevitable roadblocks, the future for plant-based is rich with innovation and opportunities, according to a report from Innova Market Insights. They list plant-based as one of the top ten trends for 2023. Consumers told Innova that they are concerned about nutritional value, sustainability, global food production, and competitive pricing. 

Sports Nutrition  

The sports nutrition industry is experiencing a trend towards plant-based products in line with more people switching to plant-based eating. The Business Research Company’s Sports Nutrition Global Market Report 2023 notes that manufacturers are introducing plant-based versions of protein bars, powders and drinks. For example, US brand Osage has launched SolvPro, a new line of plant-based protein blends.   

New Foods 

Cultivated Chicken Cleared by FDA 

A second US cultivated meat company has got clearance from the US Food and Drink Administration (FDA). Good Meat, the cultivated meat division of Eat Just, received a “no questions” letter for its cultivated chicken. This follows a similar result for Upside Foods. Good Meat is now working with the US Department of Agriculture to get further approval to enable it to be sold. Good Meat has already launched cultivated chicken in Singapore. 

Demolish Launches Chicken Whole-Cuts 

Indian start-up Demolish Foods has launched plant-based whole-cut chicken breasts. The Bangalore-based alternative-protein company has created protein fibres that mimic the texture and nutritional content of meat. The company was a finalist in the XPRIZE Feed The Next billion competition, where teams compete to make meat alternatives. 

Formo Announces New PF Cream Cheese  

The German precision fermentation company Formo has created an animal-free cream cheese. Formo announced on LinkedIn that the cheese is made with microorganisms instead of milk from cows, “perfect for elevating your bagel, pasta or cheesecake”. 

Chickpea Cheese  

An Israeli company has developed a chickpea isolate that can be used to make plant-based cheese. Green Queen reports that ChickP Protein Ltd is making an isolate that is 90% protein and has a neutral flavour. This follows a prototype creamer ice cream that was released last year. ChickP is currently working on producing Emmental, parmesan and mozzarella. 


Norwich Endorses Plant-Based Treaty  

Norwich has become the third UK city to support the Plant Based Treaty. The local authority will offer plant-based food in council spaces, including markets, events, and leisure centres. So far, over 20 cities and towns worldwide have endorsed the treaty. 

Green Standard Schools Signs Pp  

The Plant Based Treaty has also been endorsed by Green Standards Schools, a global association of language schools committed to protecting the environment. 

Oxford City Council Goes Plant-Based  

Oxford City Council has voted to serve plant-based food at councillor events. Plant Based News reports that the councillors voted unanimously to ban meat at internal catered events. 

Retail and foodservice  

Meat-Free Month at Burger King in Copenhagen 

A branch of Burger King in Copenhagen has ditched meat for a month. Meat items were taken off the menu at the Radhuspladsen restaurant from March 15. Plant Based News reports that patties and fillets from the Vegetarian Butcher will replace the traditional fillings. 

Julienne Bruno in Ocado  

Artisanal vegan cheese brand Julienne Bruno has secured a listing with UK retailer Ocado. The range is made from organic soya and coconut oil using a unique fermenting process that took two years to perfect. 

What’s Hot in Plant-Based? Natural Products Expo West 2023 Has Clues

With thousands of exhibitors across the natural products space and tens of thousands of visitors, the annual Natural Products Expo West, better known simply as Expo West, is among the top must-see shows in the industry. This year’s event, held in Anaheim, CA, March 8-11, was buzzing with energy and new product activity. Here are key plant-based product subcategories to keep an eye on:

  • Whole muscle meat alternatives have been the holy grail for the industry, which to date focused primarily on plant-based ground products. Canada-based Urbani Brands recently introduced its ribeye steak product manufactured from a combination of soybean protein and oil, tapioca, konjac root, and other ingredients. At Expo West, Konscious Foods featured a variety of sushi rolls with whole-muscle fish produced from seaweed, konjac, and pea protein. Current Foods tuna and salmon products are created from pea protein, potato starch, and algal oil and are designed to be consumed “raw” in sushi, sashimi, poke bowls, and other applications. unMEAT offers plant-based canned luncheon meat and tuna and is introducing canned chunk chicken, chilli with beans, and roast beef alternatives.
  • The battle of the burgers continues. Despite a highly saturated marketplace, plant-based burger brands continue to emerge and differentiate themselves from the competition. Nobull brands itself as the “true veggie burger” that is “not meant to be a meat imitator, but a true, whole-food, real food veggie burger” made from lentils, brown rice, quinoa, chickpeas, and vegetables. The ingredient list for burgers from Dr. Praeger’s is almost entirely vegetables, along with starches and flours for binding. Actual Veggies and Big Mountain also focus on their vegetable content rather than trying to recreate a meat-like burger.
  • Global plant-based products offer cultural diversity in authentic recreations of traditional dishes. Triton Algae Innovations, a San Diego-based food startup, launched its “Too Good To Be” Pork dumpling with algae, cabbage, onion, and plant-based pork. Funky Fresh offers a sweet potato and black bean vegan spring roll in addition to its conventional product line. Italy-based Mia Green Food produces a line of Italian-style plant-based deli slices, including protein-rich alternatives to turkey breast, carpaccio, pepperoni, and prosciutto. Wheat gluten is the primary protein; pea and chickpea flour may also be used depending on the variety. Mozzarisella creates its vegan mozzarella and Parmesan cheese alternatives using brown rice sprouts, along with oils and thickeners. Somos has a full line of plant-based classic Mexican dishes – refried beans, black beans, burrito bowl kits, and main dishes. Pea protein is widely used to the brand’s dishes containing plant-based ground meat.
  • Dairy alternative drinks are coming closer to replicating the protein and calcium profile of dairy milk by adding protein and calcium to a base that tends to be low in both. Oat continues to stand out as the most prominent base for dairy alternative drinks, although choices have broadened to include pistachio, macadamia, sesame, and the newly introduced mushroom milk. Animal-free milks made with whey from Perfect Day are trying to win over a consumer base among flexitarians who are interested in dairy alternatives and animal welfare but are not necessarily committed to a vegan diet.
  • Next generation cheeses are incorporating traditional cheesemaking techniques to recreate the texture, flavor, and performance of dairy cheeses. Climax introduced vegan blue, brie, feta, and chevre cheeses that are “high in protein, at parity with dairy, and with better fats and other nutritional properties.” The company website notes that it explores combinations of plant-based ingredients that can be optimized to “produce indistinguishable alternatives to animal-based products.” Mia Parmegan plant-based Parmesan is similar in appearance to a wrapped Parmigiano wedge, can be grated, and also melts. Bel Brands featured its Nurishh plant-based cheeses and its green wax-wrapped Babybel Plant-Based, each with added calcium and vitamin B12.
  • The keto diet is a variation on the age-old meat-rich, high fat, high protein, low carbohydrate diet. This current iteration has fully adapted for the plant-centric consumer, with plenty of nuts, coconut, and non-caloric sweeteners. Super Fat Keto Nut Butters are made with a base of coconut, almond, and macadamia; they are sweetened with erythritol and stevia. Super Fat also offers keto cookies. Madly Hadley markets a keto friendly, gluten free, soy free plant-based coconut bacon. Carbonaut breads and buns are fortified with protein and fiber, raising protein content to up to 12 grams per serving and lowering carbohydrates to 2-3 grams of net carbs. Sola breads, buns and bagels, all labeled keto-friendly, are an excellent source of both protein and fiber. Their high fiber content reduces net carbs significantly. Keto-friendly Catalina Crunch Cereal gets its protein from pea protein; fiber from potato, corn, and chicory root; and fat from sunflower oil, coconut oil, and almonds. Stevia provides sweetness without carbs or calories.
  • Noodles and pasta naturally are plant-based, unless they are made with eggs. Today’s plant-based pasta trends include a broader range of flours, use of vegetables for color and nutrition, and low carbohydrate options. Pastabilities formulates and markets its pasta products for different types of diets: high protein, high fiber, and low calorie. The Wildfare line of organic, vegan pastas are flavored and colored with a range of vegetables, including beetroot, broccoli, olive, sweet red pepper, tomato, spinach, and black carrot. Andean Valley produces pasta from quinoa grown sustainably in Nicaragua. Miracle Noodle plant-based noodles have close to zero calories and carbohydrates as a result of their konjac flour base.
  • Mushrooms loom large in product launches. Functional mushrooms have been added to supplements, beverages, and food products. The company Meati uses mushroom root protein as the base for its product line of cutlets and steaks. Big Mountain offers its Lion’s Mane Mushroom Crumble that supplements lion’s mane with shiitake and portobello mushrooms. The product is high in fiber and protein. Bravo Tea promotes a Mushroom Wonders line with a choice of lion’s mane, reishi, turkey tail, chaga, maitake, cordyceps, or blended mushroom.
  • Soy-free products are becoming more common across a broad range of categories, including burgers, dairy alternative drinks, snack mixes, and even tofu, where one company sampled a tofu made from fava beans rather than soy.

Expo West is nearly back to its pre-pandemic energy and innovation and likely will continue to be among the go-to shows for plant-based innovation.

SPG Innovation: Shaping The Future of Plant-Based

SPG Innovation is a food tech company creating, scaling and marketing new foods. They have food grade research and development facilities and a focus on sustainable nutrition. They help start-ups make prototypes and scale up and enable bigger well-established companies to add innovations to their ranges. They support clients with navigating regulations, including writing novel food dossiers. They also offer grant writing and project management services. The team of food scientists and chefs work on various projects, some funded by Innovate UK and some privately financed.  

The start-up, based in Nottingham, UK, is the brainchild of chemist Dr Sarah Gaunt. She explains: “We want to create food that is healthy for humans and the planet. For example, we’ve recently worked with clients on re-using waste streams, reducing salt, sugars and fats, avoiding mono crops and using locally grown ingredients.” 

Sarah Gaunt works with business partner Rebecca McDowell, who has a background in chemistry, and with their team advises on a whole range of issues of relevance to plant-based food companies. The team are passionate about waste reduction. For example, they have researched into how bean hulls, a by-product of pea processing, can be returned to the food chain. They also use bacteria to ferment bread waste to make a new probiotic yogurt drink.  

In addition to serving the food industry, the founders have started a new plant-based food enterprise of their own. They have formed a separate spin-off company called Rootiful to produce and sell new foods. One product in development is a textured vegetable protein (TVP) that uses by-products from UK-grown ingredients. They also have something ready for market: New-fu, a tofu-like ingredient made from British-grown beans and pulses rather than soy. New-fu comes in three varieties: Tikka Lentil, Siracha Quinoa and BBQ Pea. New-fu was launched at Plant Based World Expo in London in November 2022. Their aim is to sell New-fu via food service and retail.   

Rebecca McDowell explains the idea behind Rootiful: It came about through a collaboration with the University of Leeds and Baker Perkins Ltd. Our market research identified key opportunities in the plant-based food market: firstly, a need to reduce dependency on the overseas imported protein isolates that are used in most plant-based products on the shelves, contributing to air miles and supply chain fragility; secondly, retailer shelves are full of products pretending to be meat, but lack diversity. Rootiful has developed a consumer range that uses local ingredients to create innovative centre-plate options that celebrate vegetables for what they are, rather than mimicking meat.”  

She adds that the New-fu launch at Plant Based World Expo was a catalyst for getting the product market-ready: “Our team pulled out all the stops to make this possible, and we received some amazing feedback from the event that motivated us to progress further.” The team are now sending out samples to retailers and foodservice. They are talking to universities, schools, leisure centres and restaurants about doing trials: “We’re starting to gather momentum. Everyone who’s tasted it was very positive and liked the concept and the price.”   

The company’s long-term goal is to be a leader in the plant-based sector and to shape its future. Sarah Gaunt is motivated by the desire to support the protein shift from meat to plants. “There are problems that we can sort out. We can’t just keep replicating meat, as the market is flooded with replacements to a point where we need new technologies and innovations and some radical thinking about what goes on our plates. We can support that concept generation. As the sector grows, there are also questions around ingredients, such as why are we importing ingredients and not using more locally grown crops? How can we texturise vegetable protein and make it interesting to eat without extrusion? Extrusion takes a lot of energy, needs protein isolates, and only works at scale. How do we reduce the ingredient list and make healthier, less processed products? These are things we’ve been working on. And we’ve got quite a lot of expertise around those issues.” 

Veganuary 2023 Results, Impossible Foods’ Leaner Meat and Eat Just Staff Lay-offs

Welcome to our fortnightly business round-up. We have scoured the newspapers, magazines, and digital platforms for the most important plant-based news stories. If you have news for us, why not get in touch? Email us at [email protected] with your stories! 


Veganuary Results  

Veganuary has published its review of its 2023 campaign. A record-breaking 700,000 people officially signed up, with participants in almost every country in the world. A YouGov survey found that participation was much higher than official sign-ups, with 4% of respondents in the UK, 9% in Germany and 5% in the US taking part. Over 1,610 new vegan products and menu options were launched globally during the campaign.  

You can read the full report here. 

Queen Mary University of London Votes for Plant-Based Food  

Following the Cambridge Students’ Union’s decision to go plant-based, Queen Mary University of London has voted to do the same. The Plant-Based university’s campaign calls on universities and student unions across the UK to adopt plant-based catering.  

Market Research 

Consumers Open to Precision Fermentation  

A new study has found that 77% of those familiar with precision fermentation are likely to buy products made with its ingredients. The survey of 2,500 US adults, by Hartman for Cargill and Perfect Day, found that most consumers had a positive opinion of the benefits of science and technology on our food system. More than half said they would be willing to drastically change their lifestyle to be more environmentally friendly. 

Chinese Attitudes to Plant-Based Food 

Chinese consumers reveal positive attitudes to plant-based meat in a report published in the Journal of Integrative Agriculture. The survey of 600 consumers in four cities in China found that 82% had purchased plant-based meat.  

Company News  

Nex Gen foods Acquire Mwah!  

The Singapore plant-based meat company Next Gen has acquired UK plant-based dairy start-up Mwah! The Mwah! cashew ice cream is currently available in two outlets in London. Next Gen Foods said it would look into expanding Mwah! in the UK, US and Germany.  

Tofurkey Acquired by Morinaga  

Leading US vegan brand Tofurkey has been bought by Morianga Nutritional Foods. Morinaga is part of the Tokyo-based dairy company Morinaga Milk Group, and was previously the tofu supplier for Tofurkey.  

Eat Just Laying Off Staff 

California plant-based company Eat Just has announced job losses in its Just Egg division. The company said the cuts do not affect Good Meat, the company’s cultivated meat division.  

Impossible Foods Launches Leaner Meat  

Impossible Foods has launched a leaner version of its mince. Impossible Beef Lite is designed to be leaner than its animal counterpart with 21 grams of fat and no trans fats or cholesterol.  

Ish and Dot deal  

Vegconomist reports that The ISH Company, a US plant-based seafood supplier has reached a deal with Dot Foods, the largest food distributor in North America. ISH says the deal will enable it to expand across the US.  

Konscious Foods Launch  

New Vancouver-based Konscious Foods™ has launched a range of plant-based sushi rolls, onigiri, and poké bowls at the Expo West in California. The brand, created by Gardein founder Yves Potvin, aims to make plant-based seafood price-equivalent to its fish-based counterpart.  

SunOpta New Factory  

US plant-based dairy company SunOpta has opened a new $125 million manufacturing factory in Midlothian, Texas. The 285,000-square-foot facility will make plant-based milk in different-sized packages for food service, retail and e-commerce.   

Cabbage Protein  

UK company Naylor Nutrition is upscaling its operation that turns cabbage trimmings into protein. The company has got finance worth $37 million from Invest International to build a factory with Dutch company Colubris.  


Hershey’s Launch Vegan Reece’s Cups 

The Hershey Co has announced the arrival of Reece’s Plant Based Peanut Butter Cups. The oat chocolate confectionery will be the company’s first to be sold throughout the US. A second offering: Hershey’s Plant Based Extra Creamy with Almond and Sea Salt will follow in April.  

PlantX Deal With Affirm  

Plant-based shopping app PlantX has announced a partnership with the payment network Affirm. Affirm offers different payment options such as fortnightly or monthly instalments.  


Plant City X Opens at Bryant  

Plant City X has opened a new outlet at Bryant University in Rhode Island, USA. It is the third location for the plant-based fast-food eatery.  

MyGovindas Expansion Plans  

Dubai-based Indian vegetarian chain MyGovindas is expanding throughout the UAE and beyond. Director Sanjit Advani told Arabian Business that the company want to cater to the growing number of customers seeking more sustainable and plant-based meals. MyGovindas is also looking at launching US and European franchises.  

Second Plantude in Seoul 

A second Plantude restaurant is opening in Seoul, South Korea. The eatery, owned by plant-based food company Pulmone, will be in Seoul’s central Yongsan district.  

Mr Meat Goes Meat-Free  

In Eindhoven, NL, the Mr Meat BBQ restaurant has taken meat off the menu. The eatery has rebranded as Mr No Meat and will serve only vegetarian and vegan dishes

Precision Fermentation Alliance – Championing a Resilient and Sustainable Food System

Nine precision fermentation companies have united to form the Precision Fermentation Alliance (PFA). A new trade group to champion the process as a reliable and sustainable food system. The founding companies (Change Foods, The EVERY Co, Helaina, Imagindairy, Motif FoodWorks, New Culture, Onego Bio, Perfect Day, and Remilk) say it will be an industry voice and global association for the sector. 

Irina Gerry
Irina Gerry CMO at Change Foods and Vice Chair of the PFA.

Irina Gerry is Chief Marketing Officer at Change Foods and is Vice Chair of the PFA. She told Plant Based World Pulse that setting up an alliance was an obvious and necessary step: “We decided we need to join forces because we’re all commercialising similar applications of this technology. We have a lot of work to do presenting it to consumers, retailers, manufacturers, and regulators. We feel this is very much needed.”   

The idea of a joined-up approach is not new. The main precision fermentation companies have been discussing the need for a common nomenclature, description, and approach to regulation for several years. Irina Gerry explains: “We knew we needed to join forces. The only question was how quickly could we organise something. We have start-ups in different parts of the world with different worldviews, but ultimately, we are one industry and category. As sector leaders, we are engaged in a revolutionary development, and we need to be upfront and lead the conversation.”  

Precision fermentation offers a brand new consumer benefit – the experience and nutrition of animal products made without animals. The PFA recognises the need to communicate overtly, explain how it works, and answer questions. They also need to communicate to consumers with allergies, such as milk or egg proteins, about the potential for allergic reactions, given that the proteins made via precision fermentation are molecularly identical to those from animals. 

The PFA is envisaged as an accelerator that can help reduce barriers to market category entry. Irina Gerry explains: “A lot of developments are happening. Many companies, whether start-ups, large companies, or ingredient manufacturers, want to commercialise this technology, but we need regulatory pathways, investment, and a common language. Failing to sort those could slow down progress to market and consumer adoption. The PFA can prepare the road and give companies a smoother path, so they don’t have to tackle everything independently.”  

The PFA has identified three key pillars with work streams for these key priority areas. The first of these is marketing and communications. Irina Gerry says: “We need the basics: What do you call it? How do we label it? We need to be clear and upfront with consumers about what it is and isn’t.  Retailers need to know where it goes in the store. Manufacturers need to know what to tell consumers. It is a massive undertaking, starting with the basics of what we call it and how we position the category to the industry and consumers.”  

The second pillar is regulatory. Irina Gerry continues: “Food is regulated, so we must follow the requirements within each market. We want to ensure that companies commercialising these ingredients follow the regulations and that the regulators understand the technology. So we need to engage with regulators in different territories and ensure that we are as cohesive as possible.”  

The third pillar is advocacy and policy – engaging with policymakers and government institutions to reinforce the technology’s environmental benefits.  Irina Gerry adds:   “When you think about the huge transformation we need in our food system, many governments see it as a major contributor to climate change. One of the ways to address the problem is to scale this technology which is much more sustainable. But we’re competing with animal agriculture, that’s very well developed. There’s almost no infrastructure for precision fermentation. It hasn’t been used at the scale that we need it to be. So there is a tremendous role for government institutions in building infrastructure and for us in promoting policies. Individual companies can only do so much. The PFA can be a unified voice to help bring this forward with policymakers.”  

The PFA is actively recruiting new members. They are finalising their membership structure with tiers for different types of organisations, including companies and NGOs. Irina Gerry concludes: “We absolutely want to collaborate with companies across the food ecosystem, including plant-based brands. Some might end up using ingredients made via precision fermentation to boost nutritional value or functionality. Impossible Burger is a perfect example of such fusion. It is a predominantly plant-based product that uses heme made via precision fermentation to give it a meaty flavour and colour. Today, I would not characterize products made with precision fermentation proteins as plant-based, given the allergen considerations and consumer understanding of what plant-based means. They’re not the same as plant-based because they contain molecularly identical animal proteins or fats. But they’re made without animals. So it’s a new category.” 

Brand Stories: Captivating Meat Lovers With Plants

At Plant-based World Expo Europe, Redefine Meat™ was noticeable for the constant queues for its signature new-meat and the look of deep satisfaction on the faces of those who’d sampled it.   

Redefine’s new-meat is very realistic. The creators have managed to produce bloody fibrous steaks with creamy marbling that mimics animal flesh and fat. Not only is the product different, so are the intended outlets. The company has focussed on capturing the meat market.  

Redefine Meat is already in nearly 1000 locations in Europe and Israel including steak houses, restaurants, and even butchers’ shops. Before serving Redefine Meat™, most of these outlets had never offered plant-based options.  

Redefine Meat is an Israeli company with offices in Israel, NL, Germany, and the UK. It was founded in 2018 by Eshchar Ben-Shitrit and Adam Lahav. It was funded by leading investors in the food tech and alternative proteins space. The company has around 300 staff. It is currently available in foodservice and from wholesalers in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France and in foodservice and retail in Israel. All products are 100% vegan.  

CEO and Co-founder Eschar Ben-Shitrit explains that their products are designed with meat-lovers in mind: “A key difference between Redefine Meat and other companies is that most of the existing alternative-meat companies appeal to vegetarians and vegans. These two categories of consumers already follow a plant-based diet. Therefore, their environmental impact is limited. Redefine Meat, on the other hand, targets flexitarians and omnivores, giving them a viable, delicious alternative to traditional meat, and helping decrease its consumption – a step urgently needed in the fight against climate change. In the case of our premium cuts, they are the only product in this category in the market, replacing beef or other livestock cuts from the dish – and not competing with others on market share.”  

Since launching in 2021, the company has quadrupled its points of sale and launched another seven products. Today, Redefine Meat offers a portfolio of 13 products for foodservice, spanning beef, lamb, and pork. Eshchar Ben-Shitrit adds: “We are working hard on all fronts but also in a very structured and strategic way, expanding our product portfolio with items that answer the needs of local markets, reaching new countries together with local distributors and partners, and scaling a production facility in Best, Netherlands, to support our growth.”  

The founders are on a personal quest to create plant-based meat that appeals to non-vegans and non-vegetarians. They both came from business leadership roles in global tech companies. They brought to Redefined Meat their broad background in tech and innovation and a passion for good food and for the environment and a desire to tackle one of the most pressing problems of our time.  

Eschar Ben-Shitrit defines what drove the entrepreneurs: “We founded the company out of a passion for meat and a devotion to our planet. We love the experience of cooking and eating meat but are concerned about its environmental effects.  We searched for a way to continue enjoying great meat without harming animals and producing the environmental pollution that occurs in traditional meat production.”  

He continues: “From the beginning, we set our sights on creating new-meat that mimicked traditional meat across all five senses. We studied meat down to its tiniest components and then used advanced food and manufacturing technologies to replicate its behaviour using plant-based ingredients. This enabled us not just to launch a portfolio of minced products but also pulled beef and, most significantly, the world’s first commercially available premium cuts of plant-based meat – long considered technologically impossible. The best response is the wide acclaim by chefs, critics, and diners. Today, new-meat is proudly on the menu of top restaurants, in steakhouses, speciality caterers hundreds of other establishments that, until now, had not offered plant-based meat.” 

Redefine Meat has just released a Bratwurst and a new category of pulled meat: lamb, beef, and pork. They are gearing up to release the next version of their flank cuts and have the additional product in the pipeline.  

Recipes, tips, news, and updated locations can be found on The company’s website and digital channels Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. They would love to hear from diners and industry experts with feedback, requests, or questions. So reach out if you would like to know more.  

Plant Milk Labels, Miyoko Leadership Change, Yeast Meat and More

We have scoured all the news outlets to bring you the most important stories from plant-based businesses across the globe. Here are the top stories from the last couple of weeks.   

Plant Milk Labels 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says plant milks can be called milk, under new proposed guidance. But they must explain the nutritional difference between plant milk and dairy. The guidance acknowledges that consumers understand that plant milk isn’t dairy but recommend plant milks display a label clarifying the difference.   

Company News 

Miyoko’s Leadership Change  

Leading vegan cheese company Miyoko’s Creamery has announced the departure of founder and CEO Miyoko Schinner. Business Wire reports that the founder and company have parted ways as the company enters a new stage of growth. Company CFO Jon Blair has taken the role of interim President.  

Kellogg Keeps Plant-based Range 

The US Food Giant is keeping its plant-based offering rather than separating it into a new independent company. Plant-Based represents 2% of the company’s net sales. Kellogg owns the meat-alternative brand Morning Star Farms and Incogmeato.  

Impossible New Products  

The California food producer has just launched three new chicken items. The nuggets, patties and tenders will be sold frozen in supermarkets across the US. Green Queen reports that Impossible Foods directors say growth is solid, with retail sales up 55%, and strong performance in foodservice and other sectors.  

Fazer Drops Dairy  

Finnish producer Fazer is ending dairy production to focus on oat drinks and products. In a press release the firm, whose products include chocolate, confectionery and baked goods, said it will stop dairy operations at its Koria plant by August 2023. It said the change “will enable the company to focus on the plant-based core business, in which the Koria factory plays an important role in the future.”  

Danone’s Non-Dairy Nutrition Drink  

Danone’s Nutricia nutrition drinks business has created a plant-based medical nutrition drink. Following three years of development it has launched Fortimel Plant Based Energy, a ready-to-drink supplement aimed at those with medical malnutrition who avoid dairy. 

Market Reports 

Vegan Yogurt  

The global vegan yogurt market is expected to be worth $2.1 Billion by 2027, according to a report. The category is predicted to show growth of 18.11% between 2021 and 2027.   

Scaling Up 

Expansion For Olive and Melon Seed Cheese  

Spanish vegan cheese brand Vacka has won funding worth €1.1 Million to expand its products made from olive oil and fermented melon seeds. Vegconomist reports that funders included Capital V, Big Idea Ventures, Leanox Venture capital and private investors. Last year Vacka achieved a turnover of €285,000 with a sales increase of 300%  

New Factory For Brewer’s Yeast Meat  

Californian company Planetarians has raised $6 million to build a factory for its innovative vegan meat. The company uses spent brewer’s yeast from beer production and soy flakes from the vegetable oil industry to make vegan whole cuts. Veg News reports that funders include Mindrock, Traction Fund and beer giant AB InBev who already collaborates with Planetarians on upcycling brewer’s yeast.  

 NH Foods Develops Plant-Based Seafood  

Leading Japanese food manufacturer NH Foods has developed plant-based seafood. The supplier of meat and fish has spent a year creating fish fries and popcorn shrimp from soya beans with seaweed extracts. The company says it wants to expand plant-based protein pre-cooked foods.  

Retail and Foodservice  

Cambridge Students Vote For Plant-Based Food 

Students at Cambridge University have voted to transition to vegan catering. The students’ union decision was backed by 72% of voters. It follows campaigning by Plant Based Universities, a nationwide initiative calling for universities to introduce plant-based food.  

Veggie Grill Franchise Opportunities  

Vegan burger restaurant chain Veggie Grill will be franchising its model and is reaching out to entrepreneurs  seeking a franchise opportunity. The California-based 35-branch eatery will be launching franchise deals and says it will provide comprehensive training and support for franchisees.  

Ikea Declares End to Dairy  

Swedish retailer Ikea says it aims to remove or replace dairy across its stores. The company also says it plans to make all its main meals in its restaurants 50 percent plant-based by 2025. 

Brand Stories: Palm Oil Replacement Made From Potato Peelings

What if instead of palm oil, a multi-purpose food-safe oil could be made from food waste like potato peelings from the crisp industry? That is precisely what UK start-up Sun Bear Bioworks is doing right now.

The company uses precision fermentation to produce an alternative oil. It has the potential for all the same applications as palm oil: food, cosmetics, and biofuels. The company is motivated by the need to cut the environmental impact of palm oil and the commercial opportunities that a replacement would bring. 

They have just achieved funding of £500,000 from Unruly Capital with backing from Tiny VC and Plug and Play. The money will be used for scaling the lab team and developing more strategic partnerships to validate the viability of the oil, which is produced using yeast. 

The company is named after the sun bear, the world’s smallest bear, which is critically endangered. Due largely to palm oil plantations, fewer than 1000 sun bears are left in the wild. CEO Ben Wilding explains: “We wanted a name that keeps us laser-focused on why we are doing this. 90% of palm oil is produced in Malaysia and Indonesia which has led to deforestation in those regions. That has had a massive impact on biodiversity and wildlife including the sun bear. So every time we say the name, it jogs our memory as to why we’re here.”  

The team uses precision fermentation, the same process being trialled for plant-based dairy, to make the oil. Ben Wilding describes it as like brewing: “We use yeast that naturally produces tiny amounts of oil that closely resembles bleached, deodorised (RBD) palm oil. In palm oil production the fruit is milled and processed into a thick orange crude palm oil that is refined into RBD oil for use in different products. The magic that we bring to the table is that we perform gene editing on the yeast so it can make enough oil to make it commercially viable. We can add different feedstocks such as sugar or starch. We are currently researching potato peel and have partners in the potato industry including a crisp manufacturer. 25% of each potato is lost when put through an industrial peeler – so they have tonnes to spare.”  

The company comprises five staff – three founders and two junior research assistants, based at the Bio Innovation Hub in Oxford. The company has benefited from support and funding from the Carbon 13 accelerator programme. The scheme brought together 71 environmental innovators in Cambridge who spent six weeks discussing ideas and opportunities. Ben Wilding recalls: “At the teambuilding stage I met the other founders Ben Williams and Laura van Marrewijk.  We were really excited about precision fermentation and spent two months developing a business idea and pitching it to Carbon 13. We founded the company officially in 2022. We were chosen to receive an investment of £120,000 from Carbon 13. We have also won five other grants which have created an extra £120,000. We are excited to now have £500,000 to take our business to the next stage.” 

Sun Bear Bioworks has made small quantities in the lab and expects to scale up to produce 50-litre batches by summer 2023. It will then take a couple of years to get a license to sell to consumers. Cosmetics has a lower barrier to entry so might be a starting point although the main goal is food as that is where 70% of palm oil is used. Globally Singapore, Israel and the US are progressive in terms of food innovation and might offer quicker entry to the market. There has been a lot of interest from food producers including big global manufacturers with production facilities. Sun Bear Bioworks is particularly keen to work with plant-based meat companies. Ben Wilding adds: “We see them as ideal partners because many benefit from the functional qualities of palm oil but avoid it because their customers won’t accept it for environmental reasons. So they have a problem that we can solve. They can find us at”  

Palm oil is a $70 billion industry and is expected to grow to $100 billion by 2030. The oil has been used in food and cosmetics since the 1970s and since then, annual global production has grown from 2 million tonnes to 70 million tonnes. There are solid reasons why it is a ubiquitous ingredient. Cost is a big factor but also qualities that give it an edge over other oils. Ben Wilding points out: “As a commodity, it has the highest yield of any edible oil. To produce any other type, you need between five and seven times more land. Olive oil uses a lot more land and a lot more water. Another benefit is that it is odourless and tasteless, so it works well behind the scenes as a functional ingredient. It is semi-solid, which means it doesn’t melt at room temperature and can be used in margarine, for frying and in salad dressings. Palm oil is used in over 200 derivative products so for us to have an impact on the environment we need a replacement capable of making those derivatives.”  

Palm oil production comes at a heavy price, with the destruction of tropical rainforests and the species that inhabit them. The palm oil industry produces over 500 million tonnes of carbon annually. Sun Bear Bioworks estimates their process at scale would enable an 80% reduction in carbon impact on the environment than palm oil production. In December 2022 the EU created a new law banning products connected with deforestation. So companies like Sun Bear Bioworks, that address the urgent need for an alternative to palm oil, are more important than ever. 

Plant-Based Ground Meats are Striving For Sensory and Nutrition Parity

Ground meat alternatives were among the first products to gain attention in today’s plant-based movement. Pioneers BeyondMeat and Impossible utilized groundbreaking technologies to create meat alternatives that were much more meat-like than their predecessors. Competitors followed and ground meat alternatives continue to hold a prominent position in the marketplace because of their versatility and ability to mimic ground meat in functionality and sensory features.

A November 2022 report by Innova Market Insights on meat substitutes describes the landscape for meat alternatives. Europe is the biggest region for total meat substitutes launches tracked globally while North America holds a 14% share of the meat substitutes launches tracks in the 12-month period between July 2021 and June 2022.  Burgers, ground meat and meatballs substitutes comprise nearly half of all launches.

In its 2023 forecast, New York-based Baldor Specialty Foods, a supplier to foodservice, hospitals, retail, and wholesale, named “Plant-Forward” as a top trend for this year. The company observed 46% year-over-year Q3 growth between 2021 and 2022 in ground meat alternatives. It anticipates expanded options this year that incorporate more chickpeas, mushrooms, and other vegetable bases, as well as expanded plant-based menu options and restaurant choices.

Making magic from protein, fat, and starch

Proteins often are blended to optimize both functionality and nutrition. A combination of rice protein and soy protein enhances water solubility, foaming, and emulsification properties. Wheat protein confers gelation properties to soy protein; additionally, the lower protein quality of wheat is enhanced by the high quality of soy. Combining wheat with pea protein also improves protein quality.

Ingredient manufacturer Cargill recently introduced a new textured protein from peas and wheat. Company literature notes that the textured protein blend has a neutral taste and mimics the texture, firmness, and juiciness of ground meat.

The saturated fat in animal-based ground meat is hard at refrigerator temperatures but melts during the cooking process, imparting a characteristic juiciness to burgers. Manufacturers of plant-based burgers typically incorporate highly saturated plant-based fat such as coconut or palm oil and may add a less saturated fat like canola oil.

Starches help bind and stabilize plant-based ground meat products. Many interact with protein and/or help retain moisture. Potato starch and corn starch are common ingredients with the added feature of being gluten-free. Products that include wheat flour also contain gluten.

Going head-to-head on nutrition

Ground beef offers a distinct nutrient profile that has not yet been fully replicated – positively or negatively – in plant-based alternatives. A 4-oz cooked ground beef patty, provides 230-290 calories, depending on the percentage of fat, up to 19 g total fat and 7 g saturated fat, 94 mg cholesterol, no carbohydrate or fiber, and 25-30 g high-quality protein. It has a PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score) of 1.0, the highest possible score. Ground beef is a good source of riboflavin (vitamin B2) and the minerals copper and iron, and an excellent source of niacin (vitamin B3), vitamins B6 and B12, and the mineral zinc. Unseasoned ground beef is relatively low in sodium.

Much of the conversation around plant-based burgers centers around protein and protein quality, referring to its profile of essential amino acids and its digestibility. “Soy protein is a high-quality protein with a PDCAAS of about 1.0,” says Dr. Mark Messina, executive director, of Soy Nutrition Institute. “Researchers have shown that protein quality using a newer measure, DIAAS (Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score), also is high for soy protein isolate, tofu, soymilk, and leading plant-based burgers made with soy protein.” Because of variations in their protein concentration, soy protein isolate has the highest PDCAAS, followed by soy protein concentrate and then soy flour. Pea protein also is high quality but not quite as high as soy protein. Wheat protein has lower quality measures than soy or pea; it often is combined with a higher quality protein. Whole food bases like jackfruit can have little or no protein.

Plant-based burgers can come close to the amount of total and saturated fat in ground beef, depending on their fat source. Coconut oil is highly saturated – the jury still is out regarding whether plant-based saturated fat is less harmful to health than animal-based. The major benefit of plant-based burgers is their lack of cholesterol, which is found only in foods from animals.

Plant-based burgers typically are fortified with nutrients to replicate the composition of ground beef. Market leaders Impossible Beef and Beyond Burger are fortified with several B vitamins and the mineral zinc.* They also provide calcium and fiber, nutrients not present in beef burgers. In contrast, a non-fortified patty with vegetable and/or fiber-rich vegetable or grain-based ingredients may be a good source of fiber but no declarations of B vitamin content.

Burger alternatives are higher in sodium than unseasoned ground meat because they require sodium, typically salt and salt-containing ingredients, to enhance their flavor. In an October/November 2022 article in The World of Ingredients on formulating plant-based meat alternatives, Chef Charlie Baggs notes the importance of balancing flavor using ingredients that collectively address all five tastes — salt, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami. One way he works toward managing the amount of sodium in new products is by manipulating the placement of sodium, for example, in a coating or seasoning; using ingredients with natural umami, and adding high-flavor ingredients that are relatively low in sodium.

It will be interesting to watch the evolution of plant-based burgers in terms of ingredients, sensory qualities, and nutrition. Consumer acceptance also is vital. Additionally, any impact on health status – positive or negative – will depend more on the overall diet than on the individual foods chosen.

*based on website information at the time of writing

Mindy Hermann, MBA, RDN, is a food and nutrition communications consultant in metro New York and a market research consultant for Innova Market Insights, Arnhem, Netherlands.

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Plant Based World Pulse is a go-to resource for the plant-based industry. Offering high-value insights, educational content, and the latest information year-round, it compliments the annual industry events Plant Based World Expo North America in New York City and Plant Based World Expo Europe in London.