Hope you’re in the mood for a spicy Friday, fellow nerds! 🔥 Today’s GreenGut Weekly find is for all of you who love a good charcuterie board but would rather have an animal-free alternative for the robust flavors of smoked meats.
Look no further than Renegade Food, a Bay Area startup specializing in plant-based salami 🥪 made with real ingredients and — wait for it — no bologna. (You know I had to. 😂🤣)
Hello, Premium Plant-Based Smoked Meats
Renegade Food is pretty new player in the plant-based meat space, and it looks quite a bit different than the alt protein startups developing the latest wave of burgers 🍔 and whole cuts. 🥩 Launched in mid August, the brand focuses solely on “premium plant-based smoked meats.”
Co-founders Iona Campbell and Kalie Marder saw a gap in the vegan market and spent a decade working to perfect the authentic European flavors of their products. They even got detailed with appearance. The look is so authentic, it would be difficult to tell the difference in a side-by-side comparison with animal meats.
A Tasty Pivot
When the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in the plan to showcase their products in collaboration with local wineries, 🍷 Campbell and Marder switched gears and began selling directly to consumers instead.
Three flavors are currently available on the renegade food website:
- Calabrian-style Soppressata
- Italian Toscana
- Spanish-style Chorizo
Made to appeal to vegans and omnivores alike, the flavors are crafted largely with whole-food, organic ingredients. 🌿 Each meat features a base of vital wheat gluten and a mixture of savory spices, natural vegetable colors and the all-important umami factor. (Because really, aren’t flavor and deliciousness really the essence of smoked meats? 😋)
To get that truly smoked quality, Renegade Food uses both liquid smoke and smoked paprika. But they don’t stop there. The finishing touch for all the meats is a final traditional smoking process using apple wood.
The result? Authentic vegan deli meats that pair well with crusty bread, grilled veggies and vegan cheese (and can do double duty as pizza toppings 🍕🍕).
Next Stop, Deli Domination!
Ultimately, Campbell and Marder want to take over the deli space with ready-to-eat vegan options. Plans to expand the product line are in the works, and a new production facility is set to open in Petaluma by the end of the year.
So, if you’ve been jonesing for charcuterie or want to put together a really great spread 🥖🍖🧀 as soon as it’s socially acceptable to entertain again, why not be a renegade and make it plant-based?
Honestly, I was never much of a “meat and cheese on crackers” person even before I stopped eating animal products, but I did have a taste for salami. Looking forward to trying Renegade Food’s rendition someday! 👍🏻
Also loving all the startups taking the initiative to fill market gaps for vegans and bridge the flavor gap for people who want to eat less meat but aren’t yet ready for a full-on plant-based diet. What do you think of the wave of new products coming to market? 🤤