It seems that every week in the world of vegan food news is more exciting than the last and this week is no exception. Impossible Burgers have just joined Applebee’s national menu, making it infinitely easier for plant-based eaters to grab a proper meal. Spring is here and Peet’s is celebrating with new plant-based options. And this year’s Expo West — a massive trade show in Anaheim, CA — is chock-full of new vegan products. Read on for more.
1 Applebee’s is adding Impossible Burger to the menu nationwide
The popularity of plant-based meat has spread to every corner of the culinary world, from classic Americana restaurants and fast-food chains to small town cafes. This week we discovered that Applebee was getting in on the action by adding the Impossible Cheeseburger to its menu nationwide.
Made for “those who crave meat,” Applebee’s Impossible Cheeseburger consists of a plant-based Impossible Burger patty, two slices of milk cheese (optional), lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions, and is served with fries. This burger is based on a brioche bun, which Applebee’s says is vegan.
Applebee’s dipped into plant-based burgers back in 2018 when it added the Impossible Burger at select locations. “We proudly launched the Impossible Cheeseburger nationwide last month as we’re always looking for ways to improve our menu and offer more options for guests who crave variety,” Joel Yashinsky, chief marketing officer at Applebee’s, told VegNews. “Plant-based meat options are becoming a staple on every menu, and we want everyone to have delicious options when they come to Applebee’s.”
The national debut of the Impossible Burger is a big improvement on Applebee’s menu — previously, eaters looking for plant-based options were mostly relegated to the side. At least the chain has a handle Vegan guide to navigate the slim pickins.
2 Peet’s welcomes spring with a new plant-based menu
Peet’s Coffee celebrates spring with a seasonal menu featuring five offerings that are all plant-based food and beverages. In the drinks department, Peet’s emphasizes the creaminess of oat and almond milk with three creations: hazelnut oat latte, vanilla almond latte and cold brew with vanilla oat foam. Peetniks (the chain’s premium members) have exclusive access to a fourth vegan drink: Hazelnut Cold Brew Oat Latte, which can be ordered cold or hot.
When it comes to new bites, Peet’s adds the Mediterranean Flatbread, a wrap made with JUST Egg and Violife’s vegan smoked provolone cheese, served on a hearty mix of pesto, kale, tomatoes and peppers in a crusty lavash bread.
“Plant-based foods are not alternatives or substitutes at Peet’s Coffee,” said Lori Fulmer, senior manager, food R&D at Peet’s Coffee, in a statement. “At a time when most consumers are fortunate enough to be able to find a plant-based option in restaurants, Peet’s is taking our commitment to the next level with a menu that emphasizes high-quality vegan ingredients that taste delicious and taste great .”
Rounding out Peet’s spring menu is the Everything Plant-Based Sandwich with Beyond Meat Breakfast Sausage Patty, folded mung bean-based JUST Egg, melted non-dairy cheddar cheese and served skinny on an all-bagel. Launching as a limited-time item in Spring 2021, the vegan sandwich is already Peet’s second-best-selling hot breakfast item of all time. For that reason—and because it’s genuinely delicious—Peet’s is adding the Everything Plant-Based Sandwich to its permanent menu.
3 Vegan chicken… in a can?
From KFC to Panda Express to AMC and beyond (or impossible?), vegan chicken is cackling everywhere. Store shelves are no different, with plant-based poultry options in every aisle, from Daring Foods chicken in the freezer to Sweet Earth’s Mindful Chik’n in the fridge. One place where vegan chicken has yet to spread its wings is in the middle of the store… until now.
California-based Atlantic Natural Foods (ANF) is launching a new product under its Loma Linda brand: canned vegan chicken. Why a can? All Loma Linda products are shelf stable to maximize their sustainability – as no energy-wasting refrigeration is required for storage and shipping. Vegan chicken in a can also has pandemic-proof benefits, according to Kelly Krause, executive vice president and chief innovation officer at ANF.
“The collapse of the global supply chain that began more than two years ago curtailed food production and impacted go-to-market strategies that forever changed shopping behavior,” Krause said in a statement. “Alternatives to support our traditional food supply are necessary to offer more sustainable nutritional options on a global scale, so we’re excited to bring our Chik’n to market quickly to support these efforts. With chicken being one of the most consumed meats in the world, this durable protein is the perfect addition to your pantry, available at an affordable price that suits any lifestyle.”
The new vegan canned chicken hits shelves in three flavors: Chik’n in Broth (packaged in a neutral vegetable broth); Chik’n BBQ (wrapped in a flavorful barbecue sauce); and Chik’n Buffalo (wrapped in spicy buffalo sauce).
Sarah McLaughlin for VegNews
4 Vegan products dominate Expo West
In more news of new products, the VegNews team is in Anaheim, California this week at Natural Products Expo West – a massive food trade show that brings together vendors, industry experts and hungry diners from around the world. COVID-19 closed Expo West for two years, but in 2022 it’s back with a vengeance and new vegan products are popping up everywhere.
In the meat alternatives category, new plant-based varieties have been added to the left and right. Plantera Foods — the plant-based arm of Brazilian meat giant JBS — cooks vegan bacon and chicken cutlets under its Ozo brand, which already offers vegan ground beef and sausages. Lightlife is expanding its plant-based meat offering with whole chicken breasts and tempeh cubes. Field Roast is expanding its meat selection with vegan Sweet Chile BBQ Chicken Bites.
As for seafood, Hong Kong-based OmniFoods is bringing its non-fish seafood line to the US, and we sampled a breaded fillet that pairs perfectly with fish and chips. Plant-based fish brand Good Catch Foods sampled their vegan salmon, while Current Foods wowed visitors with its fish-free (and sushi-grade) tuna and smoked salmon.
Sarah McLaughlin for VegNews
Dairy free cheese was everywhere too. Field Roast’s new Chao Creamery Queso is the perfect nacho topper and comes with a nice kick of spices. Miyoko’s Kitchen is a constant hit at Expo West and this year the brand has developed a vegan cottage cheese making its debut. Daiya Foods came to the expo with a host of new products ranging from grillable vegan halloumi to flatbreads made from its three flavor cheeses and packs of four cheese mixes that include never-before-seen vegan cheeses like Asiago and Asadero.
Of course we saved room for dessert and the vegan options were seemingly endless. Ripple Foods has previewed its thick and creamy pea protein-based soft serve (to be launched by foodservice providers like IKEA). British importer Wicked Kitchen launched a new line of lupini bean ice cream and the creaminess didn’t disappoint. From Revolution Gelato’s Turtle Gelato Pie (yes, a pie that’s also gelato topped with caramel, chocolate, and pecans) to Dandie’s new jumbo marshmallows, new vegan sweets didn’t disappoint.
Read for the latest vegan news:
Burger King opens vegan location in London with 25 plant-based options
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