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  • Fooditive responds to demand for sugar alternatives with new fruit-derived sweetener

    Dutch plant-based ingredient manufacturer Fooditive is introducing a new sweetener in the US, derived from apples and pears through fermentation. The ‘Keto-Fructose’ sweetener is currently undergoing FDA Generally Recognized As Safe assessment. Once approved, Fooditive believes it could establish ‘a new standard’ for healthier sugar alternatives. According to Fooditive, the new sweetener closely mimics sugar’s flavour profiles and preserves all of sugar’s vital functionalities. This enables it to be used as a healthy sugar substitute across a diverse range of applications including chocolate, baked goods, fruit fillings, glazes and beverages. Additionally, the ingredient utilises waste side streams from apple and pear processing in its production, leveraging a circular economy approach, reducing costs and minimising environmental impact. Fooditive is currently negotiating with large food and beverage companies to introduce Keto-Fructose to a wider audience. It is seeking partnerships with manufacturers, distributors and innovators to integrate the sweetener into more products and meet rising demand for sugar-free alternatives. Moayad Abushokhedim, CEO at Fooditive, said: “Fooditive understands the challenges associated with replacing sugar, and we recognise that the effectiveness of a sugar alternative is not solely measured by taste”. “This is why our Keto-Fructose sweetener goes beyond replicating the beloved sweetness of sugar. Its additional functionality enables seamless use in applications and reflects our dedication to meeting the real needs of food manufacturers with forward-thinking solutions.” #Fooditive   #US

  • Tender closes $11m Series A funding round

    Plant-based meat start-up Tender Food has successfully raised over $11 million in Series A funding, with Rhapsody Venture Partners leading the round. Existing investors Lowercarbon Capital and Safar Partners also participated, alongside new investors Claridge Partners and Nor’easter Ventures. Tender said the additional funding will allow it to further its goal of ‘revolutionising how we produce and consume meat’. Tender, based in Massachusetts, US, uses its patented technology to ‘spin’ plant protein fibres into structured cuts of vegan-friendly meat. This results in ‘hyper-realistic’ products with simple ingredients in a range of formats, such as alternatives to pulled pork, chicken breast, seafood and steak. The start-up’s goal is to become ‘the manufacturing platform for the industry,’ replacing traditional extrusion methods and ultimately animal agriculture. With the latest funding, Tender plans to scale up capacity at its new facility to millions of pounds and commercialise its first products at scale, while further lowering production costs. Christophe Chantre, co-founder and CEO at Tender Food, believes that consumers are disappointed with plant-based meat products currently available on the market, stating that they are “too expensive, don’t taste good, and are mostly limited to burgers and sausages with long, unrecognisable ingredient lists”. He added: “We need new technologies to address these challenges and drive meaningful adoption in this category, which is crucial for decarbonising our food system. Our technology allows us to create healthy products that taste great, have the structure and feel of animal meat and are much cheaper to produce.” The company features its early products (beef short rib, pulled pork, chicken breast and crab) at a range of restaurants and universities in the Boston area. Its latest partnership is with vegetarian chain Clover Food Lab, bringing Tender’s products to all Clover locations in May 2024. Chantre said that Tender’s production costs are “already low today, and we have barely started scaling”. He stressed that for the industry to grow, offering products that compete with animal meat on price is critical. “Tender's technology solves this major challenge and will unlock tremendous industry growth,” he concluded. The food-tech recently appointed Mike Messersmith, former North American president of Oatly, to its board of directors, aiming to further strengthen Tender’s leadership team as it accelerates commercialisation. #Tender #US

  • Millet: The millennia-old grain of the future

    Millet is one of humanity's oldest cultivated grains, having been grown for over 10,000 years. Originally, millet came from the arid regions of Africa and Asia, where it served as a staple food. In ancient China, millet was a primary component of the diet 7,000 years ago. It also played a central role in agriculture in India and Africa. Due to its high resistance to drought and poor soils, millet became an important grain in areas where other plants could barely thrive. In Europe, millet was widespread during the Middle Ages but was later replaced by wheat and barley. In the last few years, millet has been experiencing a renaissance due to its numerous benefits. Modern recognition   Last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) named millet the "grain of the year." This recognition honours millet not only as a historically significant grain but also as a modern response to nutritional and ecological challenges. Water efficiency   Millet is characterised by its exceptional water efficiency, making it ideal for arid and semi-arid regions. Compared to many other grains, millet requires significantly less water. Cultivation in Europe The cultivation of millet in Europe has gained importance in recent years, especially in countries such as Spain, Italy and Poland, for example. Given climate change and increasing water scarcity, millet is seen as an attractive alternative to more water-intensive grains such as rice. Growing millet can promote European agriculture, reduce transport costs and decrease dependence on imports. Soil health Millet can thrive on less fertile soils and in areas where other crops struggle. This ability reduces the need for chemical fertilisers. Through crop rotation and its natural properties, millet contributes to improving soil health. Heat and drought resistance Millet is a resilient grain that withstands higher temperatures and drier conditions, making it well-suited for regions with challenging climatic conditions. This adaptability makes it an important crop in times of climate change.    Pest resistance   Millet also stands out for its remarkable resistance to many pests and diseases, making it a robust and low-maintenance crop. This reduces the need for pesticides, which in turn benefits the environment and lowers production costs for farmers. One reason for this resistance is the genetic diversity of millet species, which have adapted to various climatic and ecological conditions over centuries. Short growing season The growing season of millet varies depending on the variety and growing conditions but typically ranges between 70 and 120 days. This allows for multiple harvests per year if conditions are ideal. Carbon footprint   Millet is a resilient plant that grows well in dry conditions and requires little water, making its cultivation particularly environmentally friendly. Millet also requires less intensive agricultural practices than some other grains, leading to lower energy consumption and, thus, reduced CO₂ emissions. These characteristics make millet a sustainable choice in food production. Biodiversity   There are several millet species, such as pearl millet, finger millet and foxtail millet, to name a few. Cultivating different varieties can contribute to agricultural biodiversity, which is essential for a resilient food system. Millet applications: The next popular dairy alternative   Meurens Natural has developed innovative millet syrups and powders for the creation of plant-based foods. Our Millet range includes: SIPA/NATU-MILLET 25 and 45: These millet syrups off­er natural sweetness (sugar and glucose syrup substitutes), millet flavour, natural colour, crispness, viscosity and much more. SIPA/NATUDRY MILLET 25: Our millet powder provides savoury millet taste, viscosity, crispness, prevents crystallisation, attractive short sugar content, cleaner labelling such as “dehydrated millet syrup” or “millet extract” instead of “maltodextrin”. It is an excellent alternative to milk for vegan chocolate production (’Chocomillette’). Find out more about it here . #MeurensNatural   #partnercontent

  • Imperial College London to host UK's first Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein

    The Bezos Earth Fund is establishing its first UK-based Centre for Sustainable Protein at Imperial College London, backed by $30m in funding. Imperial’s Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein will aim to develop innovative and evidence-based solutions through the design, delivery and commercialisation of alternative food products that are economically and environmentally friendly, nutritious and tasty. The centre, launching today, will span across seven of Imperial’s academic departments. It will accelerate research into AI and machine learning, precision fermentation, cell-based meat, bioprocessing and automation, and nutrition. The $30 million centre is part of the Bezos Earth Fund’s wider $100 million commitment to developing sustainable protein alternatives and expanding consumer choice, with an overall $1 billion commitment to food transformation. It is one of multiple Earth Fund Centres working with other institutions and industry partners to develop and commercialise new alternative protein products. Wider uptake of alternative proteins – such as plant-based proteins, cell-based meat, and proteins made through microbial fermentation technology – relies on improvements in their quality and price, as well as reductions in cost and energy use. Additionally, to transform these proteins into healthy and tasty food, other components like healthy fats, carbohydrates and flavours must be produced more sustainably and efficiently. Engineering biology applies concepts to design, build and manufacture cells and products. The new centre at Imperial will use a combination of rational and computational-guided engineering strategies with automation at biofoundries – where cells are turned into ‘mini-factories,’ producing useful products – to accelerate the development and scaling up of new bio-based processes. It will also encompass institutes and facilities that will help translate discoveries into real-world applications and support commercialisation. These include the Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Centre for Translational Nutrition & Food Research. Hugh Brady, president of Imperial College London, commented: “Food security is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. For a sustainable future, we need to ensure that people across the world can be fed adequately and nutritiously with minimal impact on biodiversity, climate and our wider natural environment.” He added: “Imperial has the leading-edge research, innovation, partnerships and convening power to advance global food systems and we are very excited by the potential of our new Bezos Centre for Sustainable Protein”. Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the Earth Fund, said: “The Bezos Earth Fund is proud to support Imperial as the home of our second sustainable protein centre. By 2050 the world population will be over 10 billion, so now is the time to rethink the way we produce and consume food. This work will help ensure that our future includes more protein options – and that they taste great, are nutritious and come at low cost.” #BezosEarthFund #ImperialCollegeLondon #UK

  • World Plant-Based Awards 2022: What are the judges looking for? (Part Two)

    The World Plant-Based Awards 2022 , in association with Plant Based World Expo North America , is a celebration of innovation and excellence across the global plant-based industry. We asked the second half of our judging panel what they are hoping to see from this year’s entrants. There are 17 trophies to be won in total, and being shortlisted provides a hallmark of success that will prevail long after the awards draw to a close. These judges’ criteria points will hopefully offer inspiration and help in crafting the winning entry. The deadline for entries is Friday 22 July . Marina Carli de Moraes Innovation Director and Co-founder, Solucionaria I am honoured to join the judging panel for the World Plant-Based Awards 2022. Over the last couple of years food and beverage consumption has changed dramatically mainly because of COVID-19 and a greater consumer’s awareness. The companies have to be always updated to follow these quick changes and to highlight in a market that is becoming more and more competitive. Here is what I am looking for: Innovation: The concept of the product must include innovation in all areas: ingredients, process, packaging, communication, sustainability and supply chain. Nutrition: They want not only delicious food but also with all the benefits that food can provide. Consumers aim for nutrition-balanced products and also want some functionality, especially when it comes to digestion/immunity and mental/focus/relaxation. Sustainability: The product must consider all the four pillars of sustainability: human, social, economic and environmental. Using processes and resources that are non-polluting, renewable and natural; are economically efficient; are safe for workers, communities and consumers. Purpose: does the company follow their mission, values and vision when creating its products? Experience: the consumers are looking for something different, besides the taste, they want convenience, a packaging design, clear communication, on-hand information (QR Code, for example). They want the whole experience. Chris Nemchek General Manager – Plant Based World North America The plant-based movement is growing fast. New products are finding their way onto store shelves and menus every week. There are many factors that one can point to for the success of their products. I will be judging products based on the criteria below. I find these factors to be most important but not in any particular order. Creativity and Innovation: Is your product new and different? Does it stand out among others in its category? Did you use a creative process in developing your product? I am interested to know your product’s key points of differentiation and how it delivers what other products in its category do not. Environmental Sustainability: is an important factor driving the plant-based movement. Is your company committed to reducing its environmental impact through production and packaging? What makes your offering environmentally friendly? Your Story: What is your company’s and your brand’s story? What is the inspiration behind your offerings. What are you trying to accomplish? I am interested in to know your company and brand mission and values. Health/Nutrition: Many in the plant-based movement are looking for a healthier and more nutritious diet and lifestyle. How does your product help consumers with their health and nutrition goals? Taste: Great taste, texture and appearance are important to the success of most plant-based products. Please share feedback you’ve received that describe your product’s taste and texture. Florence Dusseaux Vegan Expert, Vegg2Food I’m so happy to be part of the judging panel and I’m looking forward to see amazing products & innovation from all around the world. Regarding nowaday issues on health, environment and our place on this planet, I will check on the following five criteria : Composition: Since the covid-19 sanitary crisis, people want healthy products with few ingredients and no more transformation. This is why I will look closely on composition. Organic & vegan labels can be interesting too. The product, by its ingredient, need to be sustainable (eg. less coconut and more peas, potato or oat derived products). Packaging: can be very problematic to plastic everywhere. Companies need to find the balance between hygiene issues, laws, packaging and marketing. Innovation: even if we need to reduce the part of transformed food from our plate. I will look at innovation closely. If the innovation are derived from trends like fermentation, fungi products, etc. Mission: I’m always happy to learn about the mission of the company. What is the vision? What is their place in the world? What are the goals of the company? Do they share money with charity? How they treat their employees. The world need more company with mission and need those company to communicate about it. Consumer relationship: at what stage of development is the product at? Does it answer customer needs? Is it an inclusive product? Will it stand out in the future? Antonia Garrett Peel Editor of The Plant Base, FoodBev Media As someone who spends a great deal of time immersed in the plant-based industry, my interest will be in products that are breaking new ground. These will demonstrate potential to support a wider uptake of plant-based eating – either by providing realistic alternatives to animal-based offerings, or by using vegan-friendly ingredients to introduce something new to consumers. I will be looking for: Ingredient innovation: From leveraging largely untapped proteins to taking a novel approach to taste or texture creation, innovative use of ingredients will stand out for me. Nutrition: Perceptions of plant-based foods as good for you draw many consumers to the category. Products that deliver balanced nutrition and support healthy as well as environmentally friendly habits will catch my attention. ESG credentials: Consumers want to make purchasing decisions that they can feel good about, in the plant-based category especially so. I will look out for brands that deliver measurable ethical and environmental benefits. Voice: In a relatively young industry, companies are competing to create distinctive voices that resonate with consumers. How brands communicate and convey their personality and story will be a key consideration for me. Forward thinkers: Trend-setting products will take the spotlight – is your entry adding value to the market with a new approach or setting a precedent for future innovation? Francesco Benazzi Head of Regional Sales and Global Development, OraSi I’m definitely proud of being part of the judging panel for the World Plant-Based Awards 2022. I will base my evaluation on five key points: Sustainability: I’ll love to know about the overall impact of your product on the environment. Sourcing, ingredients, packaging materials, production process, company policies, and communication messages will be the drivers to understanding how you will improve our future. Innovation: Which issues is your product solving? and using which tools/technologies? I will look for your answers. Nutrition: I think that a healthy product is taking good care of myself offering a balanced nutritional profile. No tricks. Product design: I’m curious to see how you will build the WOW effect on your pack: creative and original design is the best way to stand out from the crowd and send a bold message to all the community. Taste: Good balance, unique flavour, and great texture. If your products will have all of them, the final customers will definitely love it. Jenna McGuinness Senior Buyer, The Vegan Kind I’m so excited to learn all about the entries in this year’s World Plant-Based Awards! Here are some key factors that I’ll be looking out for: Sustainability: This is something really important to us here at TVK, we like when products are sustainable and environmentally friendly from the ingredients, to the production, to the final packaging. A much-needed and desired vegan alternative – is your product an alternative to a non-vegan product, that everyone has been waiting for? This is super important for the vegan movement, and will help your product create a buzz online if it’s something people are desperate to get their hands on. Revolutionary: Innovation is key, I’m looking for products to be exciting, something where’s there’s nothing else like it out there yet. Delicious: one of the most important factors to me, how does the product taste? If you create a vegan meat alternative the texture and flavour has to be just right, or if you’re developing a vegan chocolate, smoothness and creaminess is something I always look for. Are you a plant-based industry innovator worthy of our judges attention? Enter the World Plant-Based Awards 2022 now! #judging #WorldPlantBasedAwards #awards #innovation #judges #plantbased #WorldPlantBasedAwards2022

  • Judges announced for the Plant Base Taste Challenge

    If you love plant-based food and work in the industry, you do not want to miss The Plant Base’s Taste Challenge! The Plant Base has announced its esteemed judges for the upcoming competition. We are thrilled to reveal that these experts are not only experienced in their respective fields, but they are also passionate about all things plant-based. Plant-based enthusiasts should be sure to tune in and watch the full stream. It promises to be a captivating event with insightful discussions, practical demonstrations, impressive displays of culinary creativity and, of course, lots of tasting! Chef Mike Colletti Our first judge, Chef Mike Colletti, has become a pioneer of plant-based innovation, bringing his classical fine dining and Italian culinary background to the table to craft the plant-based fast foods of the future. In 2019, Chef Mike co-founded PLNT Burger and delivered a menu that featured classic comfort foods reimagined and reconstructed with plants. As an authority on plant-based products and the Director of Culinary Innovation at PLNT Burger, Chef Mike continues to shape the future and push the limits of plant-based deliciousness. PLNT burger now has 14 locations and is positioned to take over the world of planet-friendly, plant-based fast food. Rebecca (aka Vegan Bodegacat) Stepping out of their digital screen, our second judge Rebecca, more commonly known as Vegan Bodegacat on Instagram, is a NYC based food content creator focusing on vegan restaurants, recipes and hidden gems for affordable plant-based options. We spoke with Rebecca to find out what she is looking forward to seeing from this year’s challenge: “In the past few years particularly, vegan options have become more accessible and innovative than ever before and it’s been such a pleasure seeing the plant based food industry grow”. She will be judging on the following criteria: Market Need: Does this product fill a current hole in the plant based market and does it do it well? Innovation: Does this product showcase a novel ingredient or technique application to produce an impressive texture, flavour, or nutritional profile? Nutrition: Does this product merely mimic the taste/texture of a typically non-vegan product or does it provide protein, micronutrients, etc? Taste/Texture: Would I be excited to show this product to a non-vegan? Or does something about its appearance/taste/texture make it something only an experienced vegan would eat? Melissa Bradshaw And last but not least is The Plant Base’s own editor, Melissa Bradshaw. In her role, she often finds herself fascinated by how the plant-based industry is evolving and adapting in line with wider food and beverage trends. To grab her attention, businesses must offer something truly unique and ahead of the game, whether that be a juicier-than-ever plant-based meat cut made with innovative new ingredients, or a branding strategy that encourages even the most carnivorous of consumers to give vegan food a try. “I’ll be looking for sensory qualities – taste, texture, mouthfeel – that achieve both what the consumer wants and what the developer is aiming to deliver, whether that be mimicking a much-loved non-vegan product or delivering an entirely new, unique taste experience”. The Plant Base is proud to have these amazing individuals on board, and we can’t wait to see what the competition holds. So, make sure to tune in and watch the full stream. This promises to be a captivating event that will leave you feeling inspired and empowered to take your plant-based game to the next level! Make sure to check back on Thursday 7 September to watch the feature-length stream via The Plant Base’s website and social media accounts. For those joining us at Plant Base World Expo in New York, we look forward to trying and tasting your products! #PlantBasedTasting #PlantBasedWorldExpo #NewYork #TasteChallenge #judges

  • World Plant-Based Innovation Awards 2023: Judges Announced

    We are ready to announce the World Plant-Based Innovation Awards 2023 expert judging panel! This esteemed list will be responsible for evaluating and recognising the most innovative and exceptional plant-based products of the year. Now in its 4th year, these awards celebrate those in the industry pushing the boundaries of what we eat in the plant-based sector. To ensure we celebrate the latest innovations, FoodBev Awards introduced 5 new categories this year dedicated to the particular attributes that assist plant-based product innovation, including health, ingredient and technology innovations. Make sure to join The Plant Base at Plant Based World Expo North America , Thursday 7 September, 3:15pm at the Learning Garden Theater for a special ceremony where we will announce this years winners! Stay tuned for our shortlist announcement in the next few weeks by subscribing to our free plant based newsletter. Without further ado, let’s get to know the World Plant-Based Innovation Awards 2023 judging panel: Florence Dusseaux Vegan Expert, Vegg2Food Florence Dusseaux is a vegan expert for consulting agency Vegg2Food. She helps the transition towards a plant-based food system, through marketing and communication, strategy, business development and project lead. Florence has been a vegan since 2015 but passionate about food since the beginning of her entrepreneurial career. In 2021, she was nominated as an influential plant-based food promoter among eight other French influencers for the first plant-based food award in France. Florence is also co-founder of La Pondation de Félicie: a sanctuary for laying hens. Florence helps companies around the world (Canada, UK, India, South Africa, Caribbeans) to promote their plant-based alternatives from the idea to the final destination: consumer plates. Every week she decrypts food tendencies in the plant-based innovative sector in France and around the world. Her motto is: Changing the world through plant-based food, one meal at a time. Marina Carli Innovation Director and Co-founder, Solucionaria It’s an honour and pleasure once again to be part of the judging panel at the World Plant-Based Innovation Awards 2023. Last year the awards were incredible and this year I hope to be impressed by all the innovation in the plant-based industry. Working as a consultant for plant-based food and beverages, I have experienced many challenges through my clients. Innovation is not only about the flavour, it has to bring a whole experience (process, ingredients, nutrition, package, purpose and sustainability). When developing a new product, you need to think beyond what the company desires and delve into what the consumers crave. Dive into the trends, talk to people, take a look at the shelves of the supermarket and check what your competitors are doing. Collect all the information to make sure it is the right path before you start, don’t rush. Knowing what you want is important, but knowing what your consumer wants is the key to a killer product. As an entrepreneur I am a huge fan of disruptive innovations, such as 3D printing and cultivated meat, but I recognise that “smaller” innovations can also be life-changing, especially when it comes to bringing them to the big masses, making plant-based food accessible for all people. That is my main goal: to work toward more sustainable, feasible and, of course, delicious food. Francesco Benazzi Senior Vice President for Dairy Alternatives, Growthwell Foods Singapore A C-Level professional with almost 20 years of experience in Asia, Francesco Benazzi stepped into the plant-based world in 2015 in Hong Kong, where he led the launch of the OraSi brand in 12 countries around Asia. Currently he is senior vice president for dairy alternatives at Growthwell foods, a Temasek invested company. Lactose intolerant, a coffee lover and a plant-based food enthusiast, he is married and the father of two beautiful kids. Melissa Bradshaw Editor of The Plant Base, FoodBev Media In my role, I often find myself fascinated by how the plant-based industry is evolving and adapting in line with wider food and beverage trends. To grab my attention, businesses must offer something truly unique and ahead of the game, whether that be a juicier-than-ever plant-based meat cut made with innovative new ingredients, or a branding strategy that encourages even the most carnivorous of consumers to give vegan food a try. I will be looking for: Mission : What key challenges is your business aiming to solve? For me, stand-out entrants will have considered what is important to them, where the real gaps in the market are and how they can make a real, lasting positive impact. Eating experience : I’ll be looking for sensory qualities – taste, texture, mouthfeel – that achieve both what the consumer wants and what the developer is aiming to deliver, whether that be mimicking a much-loved non-vegan product or delivering an entirely new, unique taste experience. Sustainability : For many plant-based consumers, having a positive impact on the planet is a huge driving factor behind their dietary choices. It’s important that companies are considering their environmental impact, and I’ll be looking out for evidence of this during the judging process. Nutrition : Nutritional health is another critical consideration in many plant-based consumers’ dietary choices. I will be on the lookout for products able to offer a balanced nutritional profile alongside meeting high standards of quality and taste. Personality : The way that businesses are communicating with their target demographic has become smarter. I’ll be looking for witty, stand-out branding and a tone of voice that really draws the consumer in. Bao Zhan Chief Scientist, Vesta Food Lab Bao Zhan is the chief scientist of Vesta Food Lab, a meat analogue manufacturer in China. He has worked for BASF in Germany and Singapore on nanotechnology and macromolecules. He is a food writer and a science advisor for the food documentary “Once Upon a Bite”. He was one of the 15 named inspectors for the Meituan Black Pearl Restaurant Guide 2020 in China. He was also on the judging panel of World Plant-Based Awards 2022. The kind of innovation I am looking for: A product concept that is truly creative Innovations bringing huge potential to a new food raw material The first industrial use of new technologies in the food industry The first industrial use of a new packaging material in the food industry A small but ingenious twist on an old technology that boosts the efficiency Tawanda Muzhingi Director of International Programmes, Plant Based Foods Institute Tawanda Muzhingi is a food scientist, nutritionist and a development expert working with Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA)’s Plant Based Foods Institute (PBFI) as the director of international programmes. Tawanda joined PBFI from Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International’s Innovation Advisors Group when he was an Innovation Advisor in the Food and Agriculture practice. Prior to RTI, Tawanda worked at the CGIAR with the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Roots, Tubers and Bananas Program of the CGIAR as a Senior Scientist and Flagship Leader based in Nairobi, Kenya. At CIP and RTB, Tawanda led the market systems development, nutrition sensitive agriculture and commercialisation of roots, tubers and banana crops. Before joining CIP, Tawanda worked for ten years at the Jean Mayer United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Services (ARS) Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, in the Carotenoids and Health Laboratory at Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA. Tawanda obtained his PhD Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition and M.S. Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from the Gerald J and Dorothy R Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, MA, USA, and Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from the University of Zimbabwe. Tawanda is also adjunct professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing & Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Tawanda is co-founder and chief innovation officer at a startup, YESBreadCo, based in Bloomington, IN. Marisa Heath Chief Executive, Plant-based Food Alliance Marisa Heath is chief executive of the Plant-based Food Alliance UK and has worked for over 18 years as a policy adviser and campaigner on sustainable and ethical food systems, climate change and animal welfare. She has run campaigns on behalf of a number of sector groups, relating to food production, food waste, nutrition, climate change, biodiversity and animal welfare standards. Marisa is also a founding member of the International Plant-based Food Working Group including the US, Canada, China, India, Mexico and the EU. Marisa’s particular interest is in novel foods and innovation. The Plant-based Food Alliance represents members from industry, NGOs and farming including Alpro, Oatly, Upfield, Sheese, Pro Veg and Quorn. It advocates for more policy support for growth of the sector and involves keeping government informed on key trends, opportunities in investment and export, regulatory impacts and the alignment to environmental objectives. Stephanie Lind Chief Development Officer, Elohi Strategic Advisors Foodservice continues to be a viable and reliable method for launching plant-based products. Consumers are willing to try new products and to pay a premium for something new and special in a foodservice environment. Especially for smaller companies, foodservice can also be a great way to manage resources, capacity and cash flow. Here’s what I’ll look for as I judge products: 1.Products that fill an operators’ three needs. More people: Will your product drive traffic? Will people go to a restaurant looking for that item? This can be difficult for manufacturers to control. Lower costs: Can you reduce labor and food costs? Is your solution a time-saver in the kitchen, or easier for back of house to manage? Does it increase shelf life, and reduce food waste? Higher checks: If your product means the vegan, the vegetarian, or the person who’s watching her cholesterol – the veto vote — can find something on the menu, then you’re helping people choose that restaurant rather than another one. 2. Products that taste good in foodservice applications. How versatile is your product? Will it work as a standalone? Will it work as an ingredient? Can operators use it across day-parts? Does it taste good and can it work across an operator’s whole menu? 3. Products with solid supply chains. What can you do in foodservice, and when can you do it? Do you have more than one production location? Do you own your manufacturing, or is it co-man? What certifications do you have? Products should have a strong supply chain – manufacturing, ingredients, packaging, logistics. And extend that all the way to having a clean message that resonates with foodservice. The best product is one operators and distributors can rely on receiving and that their sellers or waitstaff can sell. Stay up to date with our awards by visiting the dedicated FoodBev Awards website The shortlist of the World Plant-based Innovation Awards 2023 will be announced shortly. #judgingpanel #FoodBevAwards #awards #WorldPlantBasedInnovationAwards #judges

  • World Plant-based Innovation Awards 2024: Meet the judges – Marina Carli

    The World Plant-based Innovation Awards are back for 2024, and the FoodBev Awards team is thrilled to introduce the first of its esteemed panel of judges! Meet Marina Carli, returning to the judging panel for the third consecutive year. Read on to find out what Marina will be looking out for this time... I'm incredibly excited to join the World Plant-based Innovation Awards 2024 as a judge for the third consecutive year! This event is a fantastic celebration of the creativity and excellence in the plant-based food and drink industry. With a focus on manufacturing and production, it highlights the innovative final products that are shaping the future of food. With seven years of experience as a food engineer specialising in the development of healthy and vegan products, I've witnessed firsthand the rapid growth and increasing competition in the plant-based sector. Each year brings more products and cutting-edge technologies, making it both challenging and rewarding to stand out in the market. One of the biggest hurdles is staying ahead in a perpetually evolving industry. Innovation transcends merely creating delicious flavours – it encompasses crafting a holistic experience that includes ingredient selection, nutritional value, packaging, sustainability and a clear sense of purpose. Keeping pace with the latest trends, engaging with consumers, and scrutinising market data are crucial for maintaining relevance. Throughout these experiences, I've learned the importance of adaptability and continuous education. Embracing new technologies and methods while staying attuned to consumer desires is essential. Collaboration and an open-minded approach are key to navigating the complexities of product development and achieving lasting success. I'm passionate about driving impactful changes that make plant-based foods more accessible and appealing to a wider audience. My ultimate goal is to contribute to a more sustainable, practical, and enjoyable food future. This year's awards provide an excellent platform for plant-based brands to achieve global recognition for their innovation. Being shortlisted is a hallmark of success, highlighting the significant contributions these companies and their teams are making to the industry. I'm looking forward to seeing the innovative entries this year and celebrating the remarkable achievements within our vibrant community!

  • 7Up launches limited-edition vegan barbecue condiments

    Soft drink brand 7Up is unveiling an exclusive three-piece barbecue condiment range in the UK, developed in partnership with Twisted. The collection draws inspiration from 7Up’s lemon and lime flavours. It includes a ‘Zesty Mayonnaise’, ‘Zingy Hot Sauce’ and ranch-style ‘Tangy Salad Dressing’. Each condiment, all of which are vegan-friendly, are designed to elevate UK summer barbecue occasions. A selected number of winners will be able to try the limited-edition range via a social media competition run by 7Up, or in-person via a giveaway at one of the brand’s ‘Coolbox’ pop-up installations. The installations will appear at popular UK locations such as London’s Battersea Power Station, and food festivals like Pub in the Park. Karina Carrico, senior marketing lead for 7Up, said: “We're absolutely fizzing with excitement to unveil the BBQ Range by 7Up, here to take the nation’s barbecue game up a notch this summer”. She added: “Our range features three standout products: the luxurious Zesty Mayonnaise, perfect for adding a citrusy twist to any dish; the aromatic Zingy Hot Sauce, sure to bring the heat to any meal; and the Tangy Salad Dressing, ideal for adding a smooth and flavourful finish to any food, levelling up every meal”. #7Up #UK

  • Miyoko’s Creamery unveils flavoured oat milk butters

    Miyoko’s Creamery, a US-based plant-based dairy brand, has unveiled two new oat milk butters in ‘Garlic Parm’ and ‘Cinnamon Brown Sugar’ flavours. The new oat milk butters use traditional dairy creamery methods to create a product that appeals to both ‘dairy and dairy-free enthusiasts,’ the brand said in a statement announcing the launch. Miyoko’s latest creations aim to bring a bold and complex flavour to meals, underscoring the brand’s commitment to creating high-quality dairy alternatives while uncovering new flavours in both sweet and savoury varieties. The new flavours are an extension of the brand’s classic oat milk butter product, made with a base of organic cultured oat milk. They are designed to enhance anything from sourdough bread and baking recipes through to sautéing. Stuart Kronauge, CEO at Miyoko’s Creamery, said: “With these fresh additions, we want to capture the simple joy and nostalgia of that first bite consumers experience when they crunch into warm toast topped with savoury butter. This represents our dedication to crafting rich tasting and satisfying products while remaining true to our values of utilising recognisable ingredients.” The new flavours will debut at Whole Foods stores across the US in a 6oz tub format, with a suggested retail price of $4.99. Top image: © Miyoko's Creamery #MiyokosCreamery #US

  • Apparo and Döhler launch plant-based ingredient partnership

    Apparo, a plant protein solutions company, has partnered with global ingredients specialist Döhler to deliver nutritious plant-based ingredients to the food and beverage market. The joint development agreement will see Apparo combine its proprietary processing approach and ingredients with Döhler’s pipeline of ingredient systems and integrated solutions for the food, beverage and nutrition industry. Apparo’s Total Crop Utilization System uses patent-pending processing technologies to upcycle protein, and other nutritional ingredients, from food byproducts. Its current focus is on upcycling sunflower protein. The company aims to meet the demands of the rapidly growing plant-based food and nutrition market, while reducing environmental impact. Ian Mackay, CEO at Apparo, commented: “We are enthusiastic about working closely with Döhler, an established and innovative supplier to the food and nutrition industry. We look forward to the development of significant commercial opportunities.” Döhler has more than 45 production sites, and 75 offices and application centres, operational in over 160 countries. Its workforce of more than 9,500 employees includes 1,000 staff in R&D, focusing on science, technology and innovation. #Apparo #Döhler

  • Umiami opens €38m plant-based meat factory in France

    Umiami , a producer of clean label plant-based meat alternatives, has opened a new 14,000-square-metre factory in Alsace, France. The facility, which will produce plant-based meat and seafood products, was inaugurated this week following a total investment of €38 million. It was supported by €7.5 million funding from France 2030, €1.5 million from the Grand Est Region, and €1.5 million from European EDRF funds. Umiami carried out three years of development and scaling up of production, previously undertaken at a research centre in the Paris region, prior to launching the facility. Spanning a 3.7-hectare site, the food-tech factory employs 53 staff and boasts an annual production capacity of 7,500 tonnes. Umiami plans to increase this to 20,000 tonnes in the future. The inauguration on 18 March was attended by guests such as government officials, regional representatives and local leaders. Original investors and partners including Bpifrance, Astanor Ventures and Redalpine were also present to show their support. Umiami claims that the factory is a ‘world-first,’ focusing solely on large-scale production of plant-based meat and fish fillets using the company’s unique ‘umisation’ texturizing technology. This innovative approach was developed to accurately replicate the taste and texture of thick, whole pieces of meat or fish while preserving their nutritional integrity. Umiami’s plant-based fillets, based on a simple recipe of under ten ingredients, do not contain texturizing agents or additives and allow the brand to meet the rising demand for clean label products within the category. Nicolas Dufourcq, executive director at Bpifrance, commented: “The inauguration of this first factory marks a pivotal moment in Umiami’s journey, following years of development of a unique technology, and illustrates the ambitions of the SME and Industrial Start-ups plan that we are supporting”. He added: “Over and above the challenges of reindustrialisation in the Alsace region, the company is developing innovations that will help to promote our agri-food expertise, taking into account the challenges of a low-carbon transition, and we are proud to have supported it throughout the various phases of its development”. #Umiami #manufacturingplant #facilities #meatalternatives #plantbasedmeat #altmeat #France #alternativeproteins #cleanlabel

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