It seems that every week in the world of vegan food news is more exciting than the last and this week is no exception. If you miss the feeling of shaking Parm all over your pasta, Good Planet Foods has a new dairy-free solution. New England Stop & Shops will offer a vegan breakfast option with the launch of MingsBings handled pockets stuffed with Just Egg. And Kevin Hart celebrates summer with a new menu at his vegan chain Hart House—which just opened its first drive-thru location in Hollywood. Read on for more.
1Vegan cheese shake-ups
Kraft has had the shelf-stable Parmesan market cornered until now: enter Good Planet Foods’ newest product, a vegan Parmesan shaker that’s perfect for anytime a little sprinkle of cheese is in order.
“We were hearing from our customers that they wanted a vegan grated parmesan option to top their pastas, salads, and snacks like popcorn,” Good Planet Foods co-CEO Bart Adlam tells VegNews. “We also saw that there wasn’t a shelf-stable option available so we made one. [It’s] really versatile and easy to add flavor to any recipe.”
Good Planet Foods
Good Planet Foods’ innovative vegan Parmesan cheese shaker is now available for $3.99 per container at Publix stores.
And if you’re after meltier vegan cheese, Violife Professional unveiled Just Like American Slices Easy Melt at this week’s National Restaurant Association trade show. This means that foodservice providers can now offer meltier vegan cheese on burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and more.
2A better sausage, egg, and cheese
Vegan company MingsBings was created in 2020 by James Beard and Emmy award-winning chef Ming Tsai—who is also an Iron Chef on the most recent installment of the Food Network series. The company offers dips and “bings”—or handheld pockets stuffed with savory fillings.
The company recently launched a line extension of Breakfast Bings that all feature Just Egg in four varieties: Sausage, Egg, and Cheese; Egg and Cheese; Chorizo, Egg, and Cheese; and Veggie, Egg, and Cheese.
This month, the MingsBings breakfast lineup is headed to The Giant Company, Giant Foods, and Stop & Shop, increasing MingsBings’ retail footprint by more than 550 stores in the East and Mid-Atlantic regions. It is also the first time that a breakfast option will be available at these New England stores.
“MingsBings is an example of true innovation in Handheld Frozen and we are pleased to offer them to Stop & Shop customers,” Joel Brissenden, Vice President, Category Management at Stop & Shop, said in a statement.
At The Giant Company and Giant Foods, MingsBings will be offered in another new flavor: Cheesesteak Bing, made with plant protein, vegan mozzarella, and onions.
Tsai developed the vegan bings when his wife Polly transitioned to a plant-based diet after being diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. As such, a portion of sales from MingsBings are donated to cancer charities Family Reach and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
3Wicked Kitchen acquires second vegan seafood company
Derek and Chad Sarno are the chef brothers behind Wicked Kitchen, which is already a major vegan food company in the United States and its birthplace, the United Kingdom, with a wide variety of products from ice cream to convenience meals to sauces and more. And the company is growing with new acquisitions, including Good Catch Foods—a vegan seafood company developed by Chad Sarno.
This week, Wicked Kitchen reeled in its second plant-based seafood acquisition with Current Foods, a San Francisco-based company known for its sashimi-perfect fish. Launched in 2019, the company creates next-level vegan tuna and salmon from plant ingredients such as pea protein, bamboo fiber, and potato starch as ethical and sustainable alternatives to traditional seafood.
“Current Foods is a perfect match for Wicked as a global-impact brand with the same mission and complementary products,” Wicked Kitchen CEO Pete Speranza said in a statement.
“With this deal and the Good Catch acquisition, we’re uniquely positioned as consumers continually learn about the environmental impact realities on sea life,” Speranza said.
Last year, Wicked penned a deal with events organizer ASM Global to become its exclusive plant-based food provider, meaning its products could be on menus at 350 top arenas. This came on the heels of its partnership with NBA and WNBA teams Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx which resulted in a new vegan concession stand at their home arena, Target Center in Minneapolis.
The acquisition of Current Foods will allow Wicked to increase its food service offerings to include sashimi-grade vegan fish, a game-changer for the kind of food available at large events.
“Wicked continues on our mission to disrupt the food space with plant-based culinary-forward solutions for consumers,” Chad Sarno said in a statement. “This synergistic opportunity to bring Current into the family, only amplifies the impact we can have as we continue to push forward in improving ocean health and all that call it home.”
4Scharffen Berger gets into oat milk chocolate
We will never get enough chocolate options, particularly when they come in creamy oat milk varieties. This week, craft chocolate company Scharffen Berger got in the game with a new “breaks” line of vegan oat milk chocolate bark.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a year, with so much innovation and exciting new opportunities to modernize this great and respected chocolate brand,” JP Mackey, President and Chief Sales Officer for Scharffen Berger, said in a statement.
“We have invested heavily in getting new products in the right package formats with on-trend ingredients, like plant-based oat milk, coconut and maple sugars, and inclusions, up and running,” Mackey said.
The company starts with a 43-percent oat milk chocolate, adds coconut sugar, and a variety of mix-ins to create snackable vegan treats in four flavors: Salted Almond, Coconut and Quinoa, Salted Sunflower Seed, and Gluten Free Pretzel.
“Breaks is a perfect example of how we have been re-thinking this brand and where it can bring value for our retail customers while delivering on end-user consumer tastes,” Mackey said.
We’re packing all four of these vegan oat milk barks for all our summer camping trips.
5Summer lovin’ at Hart House
Kevin Hart is all in on vegan fast food. When he first announced the opening of his concept Hart House last year, the comedian was very serious about making the vegan chain as ubiquitous as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King.
In fact, the man who put the Impossible Whopper on the menu at Burger King, chef Mike Salem, is working with Hart to make sure his vegan food becomes a sensation, too.
The menu at Hart House focuses on single or double burgers, chicken sandwiches, a curated selection of sides, and milkshakes.
Starting this week, Hart House is celebrating the season with a special “Summer Lovin’” menu which features three new items: Smokey BBQ Burg’r, Hart House lemonade, and Nashville nuggets.
The new summer lovin’ menu is available at Hart House’s three Los Angeles area locations, including its newly opened drive-thru on Sunset Boulevard.
“Since the inception of Hart House, it’s always been about creating a new option within fast food which is why I’m so excited to bring Hart House to Hollywood,” Hart said in a statement.
“At Hart House, we are in the business of making people feel good and I’m so proud of how fast we are growing and can’t wait til there are Hart House restaurants all across the nation,” Hart said.
True to his word, Hart is continuing the expansion of the vegan fast-food chain to a fourth location near the USC campus this summer.