Please send plant-based news to Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine’s Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com.

by CHLOE Enhances Guest Experience and Heads North

This fall, plant-based eatery by CHLOE. is opening several new locations in New York City, and expanding into Canada. Launching at 1385 Broadway in Midtown Manhattan August 1, the next NYC-based by CHLOE.debuts improved technologies and brand elements designed to enhance customer experience. The Broadway location features two new and improved technological advancements including digital menus, giving the restaurant the flexibility to introduce culinary innovation and offer more dynamic content to promote timely specials, as well as self-ordering kiosks for quick, efficient ordering.

In October, by CHLOE. will open two more NYC locations, including the first “To-Go” format shop on 54th Street & Lexington Avenue. The midtown location will offer a more extensive takeout program, allowing guests to pre-order and pick-up more efficiently. Additionally, by CHLOE. will open in Union Square at 27 Union Square West, which once housed Coffee Shop, one of NYC’s most iconic restaurants. The interior design will pay homage to the past tenant, with intimate round banquette seating and a nod to the classic neon sign that shined bright on the corner.  

 In September, by CHLOE. will expand to Canada with its first location in Toronto. Located at Yorkdale Shopping Centre (3401 Dufferin Street), by CHLOE. will offer the signature menu as well as seasonally changing specials. To celebrate its arrival to Canada, by CHLOE. will introduce an exclusive “Toronto by CHLOE.” menu that takes inspiration from classic Canadian dishes and local ingredients.

Samantha Wasser, founder of by CHLOE. said, “We’re thrilled to be opening additional locations in New York, the city where it all began for us. by CHLOE. was created to make plant-based food approachable, accessible, and of course, fun! As we expand in New York and Canada, we are continuously striving to share this mission with new audiences.”

“We’re excited to be expanding not only in New York City but also launching in Canada,” added CEO Patrik Hellstrand. “Our new locations will offer advancements that will improve the overall customer experience. We’re eager to reach new audiences in these neighborhoods, as well as welcome in our regulars.”

 Subway’s Beyond Meatball Sandwich

Subway unveiled a new culinary innovation partnership with Beyond Meat® to test exclusive plant-based protein options. Starting this September and for a limited time only, Subway restaurants will test the Beyond Meatball™ Marinara sub in 685 participating restaurants in Canada and the U.S.

Seventy percent of meat-eaters substitute a non-meat protein in a meal at least once a week, according to researchers, the NPD Group. Subway fans in North America can create more than one billion plant-forward sandwich, flatbread, and Signature Wrap combinations. With the addition of the Beyond Meatball™, Subway guests will now have two billion options!

“Subway appeals to so many fans because we truly offer something for everyone. Our guests want to feel good about what they eat and they also want to indulge in new flavors. With our new plant-based Beyond Meatball™ Marinara sub, we are giving them the best of both worlds. And, we are particularly excited about debuting a co-developed product that can’t be found anywhere else: the Beyond Meatball™ made just for Subway,” says Len Van Popering, Subway’s Chief Brand and Innovation Officer.

“We’re excited to partner with Subway and are grateful that the menu team through to senior management has entrusted us as their innovation partner to deliver delicious plant-based proteins to their guests. We look forward to a long-term partnership with Subway as we together serve and delight existing and new fans of this iconic chain,” says Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat Founder & CEO.

Plant-Based Wins High Marks from Aramark

With more consumers looking for plant-based meal options, Aramark chefs are using products, like Beyond Meat’s burgers, sausage, crumbles and more, to expand menu selections and provide the choices that meet individual lifestyle and dietary preferences on college campuses, in hospitals and businesses, at schools and in ballparks nationwide.

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Aramark data indicates 60 percent of consumers want to reduce their meat consumption, with 33 percent identifying health and 17 percent identifying weight management as motivators. In addition to offering guests more choices, developing more plant-based menu options aligns with Aramark’s efforts to accelerate climate-healthy menus that lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“The trick for us is to develop and offer unique meatless options that taste great and appeal to consumers who might want to try something new and those who follow plant-forward diets,” said Heidi Hogan, Vice President of Product Development and Culinary Innovation at Aramark. “Early on, we understood that consumer preferences were driving a need for quality plant-forward offerings and our culinary team has been working with a broad range of plant-based products, to create more enticing menu choices.”

The concepts Aramark is currently offering, or working to develop, with Beyond Meat products include:

Bowls – Aramark chefs are working to develop a Gumbo bowl for hospital patient menus using Beyond Sausage®, which will be part of its patient bowl pilot program.

Plates – The Twisted Beet, Aramark’s new plant-forward comfort food concept, offers a signature New Orleans-inspired plate, featuring “dirty grains” and greens topped with Beyond Sausage®. Additional offerings include cauliflower mac & cheese and avocado kale salad.

Burgers – Aramark continues to develop exciting new Beyond Burger™ concepts for sports fans, including the Caribbean-inspired option at Minute Maid Park, in Houston, that includes black beans, avocado, pineapple and Sriracha.

Sausage & Brats – For most fans, a day at the ballpark isn’t complete without a hot dog. Aramark offers baseball fans Beyond Sausage® topped with fried shallots at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, and Beyond Sausage® Brat Original at a dedicated vegan stand at Citi Field, in Queens, NY.

Aramark launched a major plant-forward initiative to elevate the role of healthy ingredients on its menus in colleges and universities, hospital cafés and workplace locations. The initiative introduced innovative recipes and aligned with existing efforts to accelerate climate-healthy menus that lower greenhouse gas emissions. Impact includes:

  • More than 200 new plant-based recipes
  • 30 percent of menu offerings that are vegan or vegetarian
  • A 5 percent average reduction in the amount of red meat in Aramark recipes
  • More than 1,200 chefs have been trained in plant-based culinary innovation workshops
  • In addition to Beyond Meat, Aramark has recently partnered with other companies, such as JUST and Ocean Hugger Foods, to offer limited time, plant-based menu items at select locations.

Impssible Foods Adds Co-Manufacturer and Wins FDA Approval

Impossible Foods launched a co-manufacturing collaboration with global food provider OSI Group. The company also received approval  from the US Food and Drug Administration for use of a key ingredient as a color additive, clearing the way for new uses in future plant-based foods.

OSI will begin producing Impossible Foods’ flagship product, the Impossible Burger, starting next month, adding short-term capacity to Impossible Foods’ plant in Oakland, California. OSI will continue to expand production of Impossible Foods’ flagship product throughout 2019 and thereafter.

“We conducted an exhaustive due diligence process to determine how to scale our manufacturing, both in the short term and over the next several years, and we were thoroughly impressed with OSI’s commitment to quality and responsiveness,” said Senior Vice President of Product and Operations Sheetal Shah, who joined Impossible Foods in May and oversees numerous functions including manufacturing, supply chain and logistics. “OSI has already installed equipment to make the Impossible Burger, and we’ll start seeing new capacity every week.”

OSI can source, develop, produce and distribute custom food solutions worldwide. The privately held company based in Aurora, Ill., has more than 65 facilities in 17 countries.

“We look forward to lending our expertise to Impossible Foods as it embarks on one of the most ambitious startups in the food industry,” said Kevin Scott, Senior Executive Vice President, OSI North America. “At the same time, Impossible Foods will help fulfill the OSI Group’s commitment to sustainable food production — one of the core prisms through which OSI management makes operational decisions.”

Since the launch of the 2.0 version six months ago, Impossible Foods’ sales have surged. Growth has come from every sales category in which the company does business — independent restaurants, large restaurant chains such as White Castle, Cheesecake Factory and Qdoba, and non-commercial outlets such as theme parks, museums, stadiums, and college campuses. The Impossible Burger is now on menus in about 10,000 restaurants on two continents.

In many restaurants, the Impossible Burger is a top-selling item and a key driver of new foot traffic. In addition to an increasing number of restaurants that sell the Impossible Burger, chefs are expanding the number of items made from the versatile plant-based meat, with average per-store volume increasing.

In April, the world’s second largest burger chain, Burger King, debuted the Impossible Whopper in a regional test in St. Louis. The 59-unit regional test of the Impossible Whopper at Burger King restaurants in St. Louis has gone exceedingly well; the Miami-based restaurant chain intends to bring the Impossible Whopper to all 7,200 U.S. restaurants.

Since launching in Singapore in March 2019, sales have more than quadrupled in Asia. Impossible Foods’ plant-based meat is sold in a wide range of restaurants and cuisines throughout Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau — including internationally celebrated establishments by David Myers, Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck.

Impossible Foods plans to launch the Impossible Burger in retail outlets later this year. Impossible Foods has tripled the weekly production rate and has doubled headcount hired at its plant in Oakland, Calif., since March 2019. The 68,000-square-foot plant produced an all-time record volume of product in May 2019, then another record amount of product in June 2019, thanks to increased staffing and operational efficiency improvements.

In July 2018, Impossible Foods received a no-questions letter from the FDA, which agreed with the unanimous conclusion of a panel of food-safety experts that its key ingredient — soy leghemoglobin — is safe to eat.

Soy leghemoglobin is a protein that carries “heme,” an iron-containing molecule essential for life that occurs naturally in every animal and plant. Impossible Foods’ scientists discovered that heme is the “magic ingredient” that makes meat taste like meat, and enables the Impossible Burger to satisfy meat lovers’ cravings.

Before issuing its July 2018 no-questions letter, the FDA reviewed comprehensive test data about soy leghemoglobin to assess its status as “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS. As a standard process, the FDA posted Impossible Foods’ full 1,066-page report of evidence for its safety on its website for public review. FDA researchers also reviewed the evaluations of top food safety experts, who unanimously concluded multiple times that soy leghemoglobin is safe to eat and compliant with all federal food-safety regulations.

In issuing the no-questions letter last year, the FDA noted that soy leghemoglobin could be considered a “color additive” in some potential future applications. Federal regulations require color additive approval on all ingredients, with limited exceptions, used to impart color to food — from synthetic substances to fruit extracts.

Even though the FDA had already reviewed and concurred with the evidence for the safety of soy leghemoglobin, federal regulations require a specific regulatory process, separate from its GRAS process, to approve the use of an ingredient as a color additive. Impossible Foods submitted a color additive petition to FDA to ensure maximum flexibility as its products and business continue to evolve. The FDA accepted that submission in early November 2018.

“We’ve been engaging with the FDA for half a decade to ensure that we are completely compliant with all food-safety regulations—for the Impossible Burger and for future products and sales channels,” said Impossible Foods Chief Legal Officer Dana Wagner. “We have deep respect for the FDA as champion of US food safety, and we’ve always gone above and beyond to comply with every food-safety regulation and to provide maximum transparency about our ingredients so that our customers can have 100% confidence in our product.”

Plant-Based is Comfort Food

North America’s fastest-growing vegan festival brought comfort food from across the continent to Toronto on August 10.! For its fifth season, the vendor line up at Vegandale Festival showcased more than 100 confirmed vendors.  

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Menu items included:

  • Beer Cheeze Battered Beyond Burger (Southern Fried Vegan, Los Angeles)
  • Nashville Hot Chicken (Berben and Wolff’s, Albany), top photo
  • Lobster Roll (Main Vegan Deli, Glencoe) 
  • Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls (Cinnaholic, Toronto) 
    Cinnaholic
  • Southern Fried Chicknuns  (V-Eats, Dallas)

Vegandale President, Hellenic Vincent De Paul, said: “People often think that veganism is a diet with only salads. We’re out to prove that Veganism is rooted in justice for animals and that you can still enjoy all of your favourite comfort foods without exploiting animals.”

Meatless Farm Goes to Whole Foods

The Meatless Farm Co, the plant-based food company known for its meat-free burgers, ground and sausage products—today announces the debut of its meatless burgers and ground in over 450 Whole Foods Market locations across the U.S. The UK-based company has also established its U.S. headquarters in New York City, with plans to open production and distribution facilities stateside in support of its North American expansion in 2020.

Meatless Farm’s products began rolling out in Whole Foods Market locations beginning August 5

Whole Foods Market customers can purchase Meatless Farm’s meat-free quarter-pound burger patties, priced at $5.99 for a pack of two, and its meat-free ground, priced at $7.99 per 14-ounce pack. Meatless Farm products will be available in the fresh food aisle, alongside other leading plant-based brands.

Having launched its products to market in 2018, The Meatless Farm Co already has distribution with retailers across the UK, Europe, Canada and the UAE. The company has already seen exponential growth and is quickly gaining market share in the global plant-based protein market, which is expected to reach $5 billion by 2020.

All of Meatless Farm’s products are 100 percent plant-based and made using non-GMO ingredients available. Each patty contains 24.7 grams of protein (compared to 24.2 for a beef burger of the same size) and 5.1 grams fiber (compared to less than 0.5 grams in a beef burger). They also have less calories, fat and saturated fat than beef, and are gluten-free.

“It’s an exciting time to introduce The Meatless Farm Co to our U.S. shoppers, as plant-based is without a doubt one of the most innovative categories in retail, and gaining more and more traction with consumers,” said Parker Brody, Global Grocery Category Merchant for Whole Foods Market. “We know Meatless Farm’s products will resonate with our U.S. shoppers, many of whom come to Whole Foods Market looking for new, delicious products that meet not only their food preferences, but also those of their friends and family. We’re proud to have them joining our shelves.”

“The response to our products in the UK, Europe, the UAE and Canada has been phenomenal, so it’s only natural that we’re moving into the USA where the alternative meat category is moving so quickly,” said Robert Woodall, CEO of The Meatless Farm Co. “Whole Foods Market is an ideal partner for us as they also cater to a discerning audience of consumers who pay attention to what’s in their food—from meat-eaters looking to reduce their meat intake and parents looking for healthy meal options for their families to flexitarians, vegetarians, and vegans. As plant-based alternatives become increasingly mainstream, we’re on a mission to educate the world-wide market on the benefits to them and the environment.

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