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#foodbeast Culture Food Trends Health News Plant-Based Products What's New

Smithfield Foods Enters the Plant-Based Race

Plant-based meat alternatives are on the rise with a new contender entering the ring almost daily. It’s been a pleasure trying out these new alternatives and experiencing the similarities and differences. The latest contender is Smithfield Foods and they’re wasting no time in making their intentions known by announcing a “plant-based portfolio” called Pure Farmland. This portfolio features an array of plant-based options suitable for every meal throughout the day. Alternatives include burger patties, meatballs, breakfast patties, and protein starters. They are soy-based, made with natural flavors, gluten/soy-free, and entirely crafted in the United States. 

Pure Farmland is catered to the “flexitarian” diet which is becoming more common as people are learning about plant-based alternatives. They chose soy protein over pea protein, which many brands use, because studies show that 59% of consumers prefer soy to pea protein’s 41%. John Pauley, Chief Commercial Officer for Smithfield Foods had this to say:

“We’ve been exploring the alternative protein space, and have taken our time to get it right. With this launch, we are bringing together our expertise in creating market-leading food products, our organizational commitment to sustainability, and our deep understanding of ‘flexitarian’ consumers, to deliver a broad variety of flavorful plant-based protein choices that consumers want and can afford at a great value.”

To further cement their mission towards offering quality protein products in an environmentally responsible way, Pure Farmland’s packaging is made of 50% recyclable material. They are also proud partners of The Farmland Trust, a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland. You can find Pure Farmland’s products located in refrigerated sections of your local grocery store beginning mid-September.

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Here Is How To Win An Avocado Grove in Mexico For Free

Do you put avocado on everything like I do? Have you ever thought about owning an avocado grove? I know you’ve at least said yes to one of these questions. If you’ve said yes to both, then tomorrow being National Avocado Day must be marked on your calendar.

In celebration of this amazing fruit, Chosen Foods, the world’s largest supplier of avocado oil, is giving one lucky fan the chance to win their very own avocado grove in Jalisco, Mexico or $5,000 in cash.

This is an avo-maniac’s dream come true. Avocados are native to Mexico, originating more than 10,000 years ago. The ideal conditions of Mexico make for the amazing avocados we enjoy here in the states. If you’re an avocado enthusiast and/or wanna try your luck at scoring $5000, visit avocadoempire.com. The winner will be announced tomorrow on Chosen Foods’ social media channels, and on its website.

Quick thing to note, as I’ve read the fine print of the contest: basically, if you choose the land as the prize, they have 120 days to get it to you, but they choose the land — and you have to pay for all expenses, which includes all taxes, maintenance, regulations and licenses, etc. They literally just provide the land. Which is dope if that’s all  you need. They don’t say you have to plant avocados on the land either so that’s also good depending on the land that’s chosen.

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Health News Now Trending Plant-Based Restaurants What's New

A ‘Beyond Sausage’ Egg and Cheese Is Dunkin’s Latest Addition to Their Revitalized Menu

The plant-based protein takeover continues. 

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. announced this morning that, starting today, July 24th, a breakfast sandwich with Beyond Meat Inc.’s plant-based protein will be available in all of their Manhattan locations.

The new item is a version of the classic sausage, egg, and cheese with a plant-based sausage patty. They throw their hat into the ring of fast food joints using Beyond’s plant-based protein, along with Tim Horton’s, Del Taco, and Carl’s Jr.

It’ll be sold for $4.29, about the running price of a normal breakfast sandwich at Dunkin’. Each franchise can set their own price, but if that’s the price of it in one of the most expensive places to live on Earth then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem when the sandwich goes nationwide. 

When that will actually be is a mystery, though. Dunkin’s representative said that the company plans to bring the sandwich to every location soon, but they’re not sure exactly when. 

The question is, as it is with all plant-based products, does it taste like the real thing? Luckily, fellow Foodbeast Reach Guinto got an early taste.

“I would take it over any other sausage sandwich.” he said. “It tastes exactly like the real deal, except it won’t give me a heart attack.”

If you ask me, that’s about as good as it gets — all the health, none of the heart attack. The meat industry is shaking in its boots.

 

Hopefully, soon all health-conscious Foodbeasts (if I eat plant-based the next morning, it evens out the carne asada fries I had last night, right?) will have a chance to try this plant-based breakfast. Until then, live it up Manhattan.

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#foodbeast Adventures Food Trends Health Plant-Based Restaurants What's New

The Makers Of The Viral Watermelon Ham Have Created A New ‘Carrot Dog’

As a vegan I’ve tried many “alternative proteins,” some decent, others horrible. I can say that over the years things have definitely improved and will continue to. Alternative meat options most often come in the form of processed plant stuff: soy, seitan, tempeh and more recently, pea protein. Recently, vegans have definitely become very resourceful. For instance, I just tried a banana peel burger. Yes, a burger that was made from banana peels. When I first heard about it I thought it was a funny vegan joke. Turns out that when cooked, banana peels have a potato-like consistency. Sounds crazy right? Crazy delicious.

Speaking of crazy, this month plant-based brand by CHLOE. launched a CARROT dog in collaboration with Harry & Ida’s Meat & Supply Co. and Guinness World Record holder for competitive eating, Takeru Kobayashi. This dog is made entirely of carrot, New York-style, with no processed plant stuff. The carrot is hand-picked, cured, smoked AND aged for five days. Let that marinate.

Samantha Wasser, founder of by CHLOE., came up with the idea following the success of their smoked watermelon ham. The smoked watermelon ham was in collaboration with Ducks Eatery, another restaurant from Harry & Ida’s owners Will & Julie Horowitz. Wasser said:

“Our goal is to offer our guests clean, yet satisfying plant-based options without any artificial flavors or foreign ingredients, and the Carrot Dog aligns perfectly with our mission. I was completely blown away by Will & Julie’s creativity and knew we needed to work together to introduce The Carrot Dog to the world!”

Each carrot is hand-picked, “perfectly-sized” and cured with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano, then smoked over local oak and maple woods. Five days later, a “natural casing” is created in what mimics the look of a traditional dog. Finally, the carrot dog is grilled. Apparently the dog took 1.5 years and 100 tries of playing with smoked vegetables to get right. 

To give the launch an additional boost, by CHLOE. is teaming with competitive eating legend, six time Guinness World Record holder, Takeru Kobayashi. Kobayashi, who lives a mostly plant-based diet between competitions said:

“As a hot dog master, I’ve seen and tried many vegetarian hot dogs, and personally hadn’t found one that I enjoy until I tried by CHLOE.’s new Carrot Dog. The smoky taste of the carrot in the bun is something really unique and different, and I love that it’s made with only carrots and no processed ingredients.”

The Carrot Dog has been available at all stateside by CHLOE. locations since July 1st, and will be offered for $6.75.

Photos: Meredith Sidman
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Fast Food Health Plant-Based What's New

Arby’s Is Making A ‘Meat Carrot’ As A Middle Finger To The Plant-Based Meat Industry

With Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and more dominating the news waves with their plant-based meats, it was only a matter of time before someone came in with a counter to that trend.

Arby’s has finally added their two cents to the conversation. Instead of making meat out of vegetables, however, they’re making vegetables out of meat as a middle finger to those trying to do the exact opposite.

Photo courtesy of Arby’s

The meat peddler’s latest innovation is the Marrot, a “carrot” made entirely out of turkey. To get the desired shape and color, Arby’s wrapped turkey breast segments in cheesecloth, cooked them sous vide for an hour, rolled them in carrot powder, then roasted them for another hour, adding sprigs of parsley to give them that full carrot look.

By doing this, Arby’s claims they’re “taking a hardline stance as the champion of meats,” according to a press release, while showing that if plants can act as meat, meat can do just the same back to it.

They do look exactly like carrots, but what’s more mind-boggling is that by doing this, Arby’s managed to make meat more nutritious. Typically, a quarter pound of turkey contains 11 International Units (IU) of Vitamin A, not even a percentage of the recommended daily value. However, these Marrots contain 70% of the required daily value of Vitamin A, a massive spike compared to just plain old turkey.

Arby’s might actually be onto something big here as a result. Ninety percent of all Americans miss out on the recommended vegetable intake every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By giving them the vegetables they need (carrot powder, for example) in a form of food they love (meat), it could actually help boost vegetable consumption. Of course, that’s exactly what plant-based meat producers are trying to do anyway, but in a more sustainable fashion.

Could these faux carrots be a way to provide more nutritious pieces of meat to carnivorous consumers? Or, is their usage of plants to make meat better for you just proving what the plant-based industry has been showing us for a hot minute?

In either case, it’ll be interesting to see if this prototype ever gets a market test or launches nationwide in the near future.

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Grocery Health Plant-Based Science Technology What's New

Beyond Meat 2.0 Is Coming To Grocery Stores Nationwide This Month

For the past few months, Carl’s Jr. has been the sole purveyor of Beyond Meat’s new 2.0 burger patties, which have gotten rave reviews as to how close they are to real meat. While they’ve been rolling out in restaurants nationwide quietly over the past few months, we now have an idea as to when everyone will be able to cook the 2.0 patty as well.

Starting today, Beyond Meat 2.0 will begin rolling out to grocery stores nationwide, and it should be everywhere by the end of June. The burger patties will be available in new packaging, and ground beef should follow soon afterward.

Photo courtesy of Beyond Meat

The new patties are made with cocoa butter and coconut oil to give it the appearance of marbling, like you would find in ground beef. There’s also improvements made to the color, as apple extract has been added to help it brown without getting too much red from the beets inside. Beyond Meat has also changed the protein to be a complete source, meaning you’ll get all nine essential amino acids from eating this meat in adequate amounts. A combination of rice, pea, and mung bean protein is responsible for that nutritional upgrade.

Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown thinks that this version gets close, but still not all the way to animal meat. “I’m a pretty tough critic,” he told Foodbeast. “My number is gonna be lower than many, but I’d say we’re 65 to 70% of the way there.”

Brown isn’t just going to stop at this 2.0 version, however. He feels that plant meat will go the way of smartphones, in that it both provides more function than animal meat and can be continually upgraded.

“We’ve been consuming meat since prior to being homo sapiens, it’s part of the process of evolution that created the bodies we have and the brains we have,” he says. “I don’t think we’re gonna get it in 10 years, and that’s how long we’ve been working at this, so we need some more time, but I think we’re getting closer and closer.”

While the new 2.0 patties still come at a relatively high cost compared to ground beef, Brown also believes that will change rapidly as his company, which just went public, continues to scale.

“As we start to approach scale, we’ll be able to dramatically underprice animal protein,” he claims. When that does happen, it may only be a matter of time before plant-based meats become the norm.

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Food Policy Health Plant-Based Sustainability

Plant-Based Chicken Nuggets Are Coming To School Cafeterias Nationwide

When kids across the United States walk into their school cafeterias to start the 2019-2020 school year, many may find plant-based chicken nuggets as a brand new meal option.

Photo courtesy of Don Lee Farms

Don Lee Farms, one of the top three suppliers of protein for school lunch programs, is adding the vegan chicken substitute to its offerings. They serve most major and many small school districts in the United States, with the total they supply numbering in the thousands. Their decision to start incorporating plant-based nuggets came as both an option for sustainability and cost. “In most cases, our price for these items are at or below what chicken nuggets cost schools today,” president Donald Goodman said in a statement.

These nuggets are apparently comparable in taste and texture to real chicken nuggets, and give schools a plant-based option kids already love that is more environmentally friendly and even cheaper than meat. Given how important it is for vegan replicas to become cheaper than the real thing, the fact that a processed meat like chicken nuggets has a cheaper plant-based substitute now is monumental.

Schools will be able to purchase the plant-based nuggets to add to their cafeteria menus starting this summer.

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Grocery Health Plant-Based What's New

A New Rival To Impossible Foods And Beyond Meat Just Launched Nationwide

In the plant-based burger substitutes game, the two dominant companies for a few years now have been Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. Their replicas come so close to the original that it’s convincing many to adopt more flexitarian lifestyles.

As those diets become more mainstream, rivals are starting to emerge to the two vegan burger giants, one of which just got their competing product in grocery stores nationwide.

Photo courtesy of Lightlife

These substitutes come courtesy of Lightlife, whose new Lightlife Burger, Sausage, and Ground beef replicas are hitting shelves during this month. While the name may sound new, Lightlife is responsible for some vegan products you may already recognize, including Smart Dogs and Smart Bacon.

Lightlife’s version is more similar to Beyond’s Burger than the Impossible Patty, as it is predominantly made from pea protein and uses other similar ingredients like coconut oil and beet powder. There are some slight differences, as Beyond opts for annatto as an additional color source and Lightlife adds onion and garlic powder into its patties, but the similarities are quite notable.

Foodbeast had the chance to recently try this new faux burger at the recent Natural Products Expo West. Based on texture, taste, and color alone, it’s a strong indicator that the rest of the industry is catching up to what Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have to offer. While it seems like Impossible Foods has the intellectual property advantage with their legume-based heme, pea protein-based burger substitutes more like Beyond Meat are coming fast.

With other companies like Nestle and Tyson Foods also working on their own meat substitutes, plant-based’s cost should plummet as its availability increases to an industrial scale as we close out the decade.

LightLife’s replica can be found in stores like Albertson’s, Vons, Sprouts, and Safeway this month. Other retailers, including Whole Foods, will also start carrying them some time this summer.