In a move to further position themselves as a grocery store alternative to ground beef, Beyond Meat is taking a page out of the beef industry’s playbook. They’re going to start selling blends of their plant-based product that vary based on fat content.
The new forms don’t have official names yet, but one is being touted as the “brand’s juiciest patty” while the other is described as the company’s “most nutritious patty yet.” To differentiate, you could almost think of them as “Extra Juicy” and “Lean.”
In terms of ground beef varieties, you could consider Beyond Meat’s regular version to be standard ground beef, “Extra Juicy” to be like 80/20 or Extra Fatty, and the “Lean” one to be like a 96/4 blend of beef.
The “juiciest patty” form still has 35% less saturated fat than 80/20 ground beef, while the “most nutritious” form has 55% less saturated fat than 80/20 ground beef.
For context, Beyond Meat’s current iteration has 5 g of saturated fat per quarter pound, and 80/20 ground beef has about 8 grams of saturated fat per quarter pound. The “juiciest patty” form should have slightly more fat than Beyond’s standard product. Meanwhile, the “most nutritious form,” at 55% less saturated fat than 80/20 beef, would have slightly less than 4 grams of saturated fat per quarter pound based on Beyond’s claims.
Some folks will be sampling the new varieties in a sold-out tasting event in Los Angeles later in 2020. As for everyone else, they can expect to find the new options in stores in early 2021.
McDonald’s has been taking its time when it comes to adding plant-based foods to its menu. Outside of a couple of international tests and launches, the burger chain hasn’t added anything vegan onto its dining options. We now know the reason why: the burger giant was working on making its own forms of plant-based meat.
This new platform of items, called the McPlant, will start with a plant-based burger test that will happen in select markets globally in 2021. The plan is to bring this, along with meat-free chicken and breakfast offerings, to McDonald’s locations over the next few years.
According to USA Today, the announcement was made by McDonald’s International President Ian Borden during the chain’s most recent investor update call.
“McPlant is crafted exclusively for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s,” Borden said. “In the future, McPlant could extend across a line of plant-based products including burgers, chicken-substitutes and breakfast sandwiches.”
Making your own plant-based substitutes is no easy feat, which explains why McDonald’s has been taking so long. According to CNBC, McDonald’s was working with Beyond Meat behind the scenes for a while to make their McPlant lineup happen, but are choosing to not tack the company’s name onto their plant-based offerings.
How their take on a plant-based burger will stack up to what’s already out there, however, remains to be seen.
After McDonald’s big news, the remaining national fast food establishments to have not tested or announced a plant-based or meat-free substitute include Arby’s, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, and Sonic, amongst others.
Switching to a plant-based diet, whether it be for ethical or environmental reasons, often comes with a cost increase. Outside of tofu, there’s not a lot of cost-effective vegan options out there.
Plant-based eggs is a category that’s particularly expensive. A bottle of JUST, equivalent to 8 eggs, costs $4.50 ($6 for a dozen). Follow Your Heart, a powder egg alternative, can cost $7 for a carton that’s equivalent to a dozen.
A new alternative, Zero Egg, has just emerged onto the market and hopes to make vegan eggs a lot more accessible. Their product, a mix of potato, pea, chickpea, and soy protein, costs 11 to 18 cents per egg, or just over $2 per dozen. It claims to have price parity to a dozen cage-free eggs, which sell at retail for about $3-$4 per dozen.
Zero Egg comes in two varieties: a formula ideal for egg replacement in scrambles, and another meant to substitute into baking mixes. The brand’s big selling point is texture, as it claims to be more fluffy than other egg alternatives available. However, it also is more versatile, as not all egg alternatives can be used for both scrambling and baking.
Nutritionally, Zero Egg’s product contains about 40% of the protein of an egg per serving (roughly 2.5 grams), but is a complete protein source. Environmentally, it uses 93% less water to produce than standard eggs.
As for cost, Zero Egg was able to bring that down through working with co-packers. They didn’t need a novel new factory process to make their substitute, making it easier to produce at scale.
Any restaurants that use Zero Egg will have ways to make it identifiable, including toothpick flags that can be stuck into sandwiches, akin to what Impossible Foods did with its initial burger launch.
Zero Egg will be available to restaurants via Gordon Food Service starting on World Egg Day, October 9th. A retail product will be hitting stores some time in the next couple of years, but there is also a “Home Store” option for any consumers who want to try to access the vegan egg through there.
Over the past few years, oatmilk has emerged as one of the top-tier vegan milk alternatives. Renowned for its texture and sweetness, brands like Oatly! have taken off and spread like wildfire across the nation.
As oatmilk’s hype is continuing to grow, many fast food chains are starting to incorporate it into their drinks, including Dunkin’ and Starbucks. Both began testing the plant-based alternative earlier this year, but it was Dunkin’ who beat out Starbucks to launching oatmilk drinks nationwide.
Dunkin’ has teamed up with Planet Oat, a major oatmilk brand from food conglomerate HP Hood LLC, to make their nationwide launch happen. Starting today, customers can select oatmilk in place of almondmilk, milk, or cream as a creamer for their coffee drinks, including frozen ones. An additional upcharge may apply to that substitution.
An official Oatmilk Latte has also been added to Dunkin’s lineup as part of the launch.
Oatmilk had started to test in California for Dunkin’ in January 2020, at the same time Starbucks began serving up oatmilk drinks at 1,300 stores in the Midwest. Starbucks has yet to release oatmilk nationwide, but has expanded its offering to Canada in the interim.
With Dunkin’ oatmilk beating everyone to the national playground, however, it will only be a matter of time before every major coffee chain has an oatmilk alternative available nationwide.
In 2019, IKEA announced that they had begun developing a plant-based version of their iconic Swedish meatball. This was part of efforts to reduce the company’s climate footprint, meat being a big portion of that in the food department.
IKEA is now ready to unveil their plant balls to the world, and will do so starting this summer.
IKEA’s version of plant-based meat is based in yellow pea protein, and also uses ingredients like potato, apple, onion, oats, mushroom, tomato, and roasted vegetable powder. All of this gives a texture and flavor that gets pretty close to what one of the retailer’s original Swedish meatballs tastes like.
In terms of sustainability, IKEA claims that the plant-based meatballs have just 4% of the climate footprint of the meat versions. “If we were to convert about 20% of our meatball sales to plant balls that would mean around 8% reduction of our climate footprint for the food business at IKEA,” added Sharla Halvorson, Health & Sustainability Manager for IKEA’s global food business.
The fact that IKEA was able to develop their own plant-based meatball version is remarkable, and I’m definitely curious to see how it tastes like in a standard Swedish meatball plate.
IKEA will start selling the meatballs in Europe in August of 2020, and they will arrive in the United States on September 28th, 2020. They’ll be sold in bulk frozen bags you can purchase in the grocery section, or as an alternative to the classic meatballs on their Swedish meatball plate — cream sauce, lingonberry jam, potatoes, and veggies all included.
After a brief introduction to KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken last year, the plant-based poultry is getting an expanded test run across Southern California.
Starting July 20th, Beyond Meat’s collab with KFC will be available for a limited time at 59 locations across Southern California. The restaurants are located in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties.
For those unfamiliar, the Beyond Fried Chicken offering consists of nuggets made from a plant-based chicken breast substitute that Beyond Meat has developed. Seasoned like KFC’s fried chicken, it’s sold in a 6-piece or 12-piece order, with combo options available as well. All of these come with your choice of dipping sauce.
The SoCal regional offering marks the third time Beyond Fried Chicken has been made available, suggesting that KFC is looking to ramp this up to a national scale some time in the near future. It first showed up in Atlanta in August 2019, followed by a test offering in February 2020 in Nashville and Charlotte.
Considering its debut in Atlanta drew hour-long lines, there’s definitely a growing appetite for the nuggets that the chain could capitalize on.
Below is a list of all of the locations you can find the plant-based chicken at starting on the 20th:
Impossible Foods has joined yet another fast-food chain by beefing up (apologies for the pun) Starbucks’ breakfast lineup with a new meatless sandwich. The new sandwich features one of Impossible’s newest proteins: the vegan sausage patty.
The new breakfast option features an Impossible Sausage patty, a fried egg, and aged cheddar cheese sandwiched between Ciabatta bread.
It should be noted though, that while the patty is entirely plant-based the sandwich itself is far from it with the egg and cheese rounding it out.
Still, if you’re trying to go for something meatless in your morning commute, this a pretty solid option especially if you’re looking for something more on the savory side of breakfast.