Hey there, my fellow nerds! It’s another Monday news edition of The Modern Health Nerd; thanks for reading. 📑😁
Today, we’re looking at the growing interest in plant-based products 🥗 — and who’s stepping up to meet demand. Some of the names may surprise you…
Unilever Forges Ahead With Healthier, More Sustainable Options
Unilever — the name behind brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Hellman’s and Lipton — is making its mark on the current food movement in four key focus areas:
- Improving nutrition
- Reducing food waste
- Increasing sustainability 🌎
- Developing more plant-based products
They’ve already thrown their hat into the ring with the rapid release of products like dairy-free ice cream and vegan mayo. What’s in store for the future? Plant-based meat could be making its way out of the company’s Hive Food Innovation Centre in the Netherlands — so stay tuned. 📺
Néstle Hatches a New Plant-Based Tuna
Vuna is set to swim into stores in Switzerland, making its debut in jars and sandwiches. With a pea protein base, the product is apparently close to tuna in taste, texture and nutritional value — minus the negative impact of commercial fishing and fish farming.
Meanwhile, Shrimpless Shrimp is Winning Awards
Step aside , shellfish — The Plant-Based Seafood Co. is ready to take over the spotlight. 🌿🍤
Unlike the bigger names making their way into the market right now, this company only makes plant-based products — namely shellfish alternatives like scallops and shrimp — using a starchy Asian herb called konjac.
Their “Mind Blown” breaded coconut shrimp recently grabbed attention (and taste buds) when it landed the Prepared Foods Editor’s Pick award for Most Disruptive Product of 2020. Says CEO Monica Talbert, “This is just the beginning of creating great tasting and healthy products, all while having a positive impact on our oceans.”
Demand for Plant Meat Continues to Grow in China
Starfield, a China-based alt meat brand, has officially raised over $10 million in funding to continue research and development and expand its offerings.
And none too soon. Restaurants and food service companies are already using Starfield’s products, and the company is on track to get on menus at Dicos, a Chinese fast food outlet, in October. Over 100 other brands are waiting to work with them, and those partnerships could go a long way toward helping China hit is goal of eating 50% less meat by 2023.
More Animal-Free Options, Made to Order
With all these new products coming out, it’s no surprise that plant-based is a hot trend at restaurants, too. 🍴 You don’t have to look far to see it happening:
- Panera Bread is transitioning its menu from 25% to 50% plant-based
- Popular chains like Dunkin’, McDonald’s and KFC have either tested or fully adopted plant-based options
- Starbucks has been steadily increasing its plant-based beverage and food options
And let’s not forget Veggie Grill, the completely vegan fast food chain that’s set to expand to 50 locations by the end of the year.
(A quick caveat here: Not all plant-based options are automatically healthier than other menu items. You still have to do some digging to find nutritious meals at your local fast food joint. 🍔🍟)
Has the plant-based boom changed your eating habits? Share your story in the comments! 🌱🥗