Even if they don't go fully vegan or vegetarian, research indicates a growing number of people are adding more plant-based foods to their diet. That's great news for the planet, as studies also show that even eating less meat and dairy can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation tied to large-scale farming.
From both an environmental and human health perspective, there's no substitute for meals made from whole foods like fruits, veggies, grains and legumes — which are more nutritious and tend to come with less packaging waste. But if you're looking for more variety or simply something that's easy to grab on the go, an ever-growing list of brands have you covered. Here's a roundup of what's coming soon to restaurants and retailers near you.
The global vegan yogurt market is set to reach nearly $11 billion by 2030 as more brands get into the game. Among the new kids on the block is a freshly-launched yogurt line from WayFare made with pumpkin seeds, butter beans and oats. Plain, strawberry and raspberry flavors are already available online and in Midwest retailers like Jewel, with a vanilla flavor set to launch later this year — adding to the brand's existing lineup of plant-based butter, cheese and dessert.
With the global vegan cheese market set to reach $4.7 billion by 2026, the time is now for brands to stake their claim. South Korean food technology company Armored Fresh is one of the newest additions to the U.S. market, making its debut in October at more than 100 corner grocers in New York City. This year, the brand is going national — with a plan to start selling almond milk cheese cubes and cheese slices on its website later this month. Shredded cheeses and cheese spreads, made from its proprietary fermentation process that mimics dairy cheesemaking, are soon to follow, the company said.
As egg prices skyrocket amidst the worst U.S. bird flu outbreak on record, largely linked to factory farming operations and lax animal welfare standards, more shoppers are warming to the prospect of plant-based alternatives.
Curious consumers now have plenty of options to choose from — including this new vegan hard-boiled egg alternative from Texas startup Crafty Counter. Marketed as the first plant-based hard-boiled eggs to hit the U.S. market, the nut-based WunderEggs hit Whole Foods stores across the U.S. earlier this month and are also available on the company's website. They've already received a stamp of approval from Hong Kong environmental news platform Green Queen, who said they "look, feel and taste like chicken eggs." A vegan alternative to egg white patties is expected from the brand later this year.
Analog seafood is another plant-based foods segment that's booming, with sales expected to reach $1.3 billion globally by 2031. Food tech startup Aqua Cultured Foods is well positioned to get an early foot in the door, having just started construction on a new facility to scale up production of its whole-cut, plant-based seafood. The company says it's developing "ultra-realistic" calamari, shrimp, scallops, and sushi-grade filets of tuna, sea bass and whitefish with proprietary mycoprotein fermentation processes, and it expects to begin introducing its products to market this spring.
Target just dropped the third of four planned capsule collections with actress and social media superstar Tabitha Brown. Known for her vegan cooking, the 2023 launch is right on track for Brown — including 34 new plant-based foods, as well as cookware, tableware and entertaining items. Brown’s collection includes vegan sausages, burger patties and ravioli, as well as ready-made meals like chickpea chili and pasta salad.
Sadly, nacho-flavored Dorito's are not vegan, but if the craving strikes, these new chips from Hippeas may be the next best thing. Launched earlier this month, the new Nacho Vibes flavor of Hippeas' chickpea tortilla chips "more than stands up well next to its mainstream competitor from a taste and texture standpoint," the company's CMO, Julia Hecht, claims — and with chickpeas as the main ingredient, they're also packed with protein. Find them now in Sprouts Farmers Markets and select retailers across the U.S. as well as on Amazon and Hippeas.com.
Ben & Jerry's fans still mourning the loss of Oatmeal Cookie Chunk will cheer the launch of a new non-dairy alternative — which the folks over at VegNews say will bring back childhood memories of Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies. The new Oatmeal Crème Pie flavor includes marshmallow swirls and gluten-free, vegan cookies from Black-owned upstart brand Partake, which focuses on allergy-friendly ingredients. The new flavor is a permanent addition to Ben & Jerry's non-dairy lineup.
Greek brand Violife has been in the dairy-free game since the 1990s and is now the top-selling vegan cheese brand in the U.S. Its expansive product portfolio includes all types of plant-based cheese, as well as vegan butters, dips and spreads. A vegan sour cream alternative is the latest on the list. Made from simple ingredients like coconut oil and potato and tapioca starches, Violife's Just Like Sour Cream is meant to substitute seamlessly in all your favorite recipes — from TexMex night, to baked potato topping, to tangy baked goods. Find it now in U.S. Walmart locations.
Nutr burst onto the scene in 2021 with a single-serving machine that makes a variety of plant-based milks with less hassle and mess. Anyone who's made plant-based milk at home knows it's often tricky, with the outcome turning out chunky, grainy and less than pleasant. Reviews from all over the web indicate the Nutr machine solves those challenges once and for all, producing fresh and creamy milk alternatives from nuts, seeds, oats, rice, soy or coconut.
In February, the folks behind the Nutr are looking to do it again with Nutr Blends, a line of organic flavored powders like matcha, vanilla-cinnamon and chocolate that are made to be added to homemade nut milks. The powders offer a nutritional boost that matches the vitamins and minerals found in cow’s milk, alongside superfoods and adaptogens in a blend developed by certified nutritionists.
This month plant-based foods chain Veggie Grill is teaming up with Bitchin' Sauce, a cult-favorite brand of creamy vegan dips sold in more than 12,000 retailers nationwide. The menu collab includes a plant-based burger, salad, sandwich and nachos topped with almond-based Bitchin' Sauce, available for a limited time at Veggie Grill locations in California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York City.
Domino's piloted vegan pizza at 46 locations in the U.K. last year before rolling it out across the country in September. This month, the chain's U.K. division is poking some fun at U.S. fans with a vegan version of its American Hot pizza. The new pie is topped with red onions, jalapeños, dairy-free mozzarella and plant-based pepperoni from the Vegetarian Butcher on Domino's signature vegan dough, and it's available at all U.K. locations and on the Domino's U.K. app.
Danone North America brands Silk and So Delicious Dairy Free both dropped new plant-based coffee creamers this month. So Delicious re-introduced its coconut milk creamers with what it promises will be an even better taste and texture, while Silk says its new Mocha Almond Creamer is the first chocolate plant-based creamer sold outside the holiday season. The Silk creamer is available at mainstream retailers across the U.S., and two flavors of the So Delicious coconut milk creamer can be found at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Ahold and Kroger grocery stores.
Plant-based brand MingsBings is coming to the frozen food aisle at a combined 1,200 Publix and Sprouts locations across the U.S. Founded by Iron Chef alum Ming Tsai, the brand is all about blending Eastern and Western cultures, with a lineup of Chinese flatbread pockets called "bings" inspired by traditionally Western favorites like tacos, cheeseburgers and egg sandwiches. Launched as a direct-to-consumer brand, MingBings is growing fast in the plant-based foods segment and is now on shelves at over 4,000 U.S. grocery stores, including Wegmans, Whole Foods and select Targets, as well as Publix and Sprouts.
Califia Farms is already a leader in plant-based beverages, with a wide range of products including plant milks, coffee creamers, juices and more. Now, it's introducing USDA-certified organic versions of its top-selling oat milk and almond milk. Both blends contain only three ingredients — purified water, sea salt, and oats or almonds — and are available at mainstream U.S. grocers including Kroger and Whole Foods.
Burger King customers in Germany saw a plant-based version of the Long Chicken Cheddar Style, featuring vegan cheese from Violife, hit the menu this month. The chain's German division also worked with the Vegetarian Butcher to develop a new parsley breading for its plant-based fried products so workers can easily differentiate them and cook them in a designated frier to be used only for vegan foods.
Meanwhile, Burger King locations across the U.K. will start serving a vegan bacon alternative made by Natalie Portman-backed brand La Vie, after a successful trial at select stores in France last year.
Chipotle kicked off the new year with a lineup of "lifestyle bowls" tailored to suit diets like vegan, keto and Whole30. On the vegan side of things, Chipotle fans can choose a bowl with or without Sofritas, the chain's first plant-based protein launched back in 2014. All the new bowls are available via online order only across the U.S. and Canada.
Subway U.K. is making its first foray into plant-based foods with a new teriyaki sub featuring alt steak created in partnership with the Vegetarian Butcher, a Unilever brand that also works with other major chains like Domino's and Burger King in Europe. The teriyaki steak sub will be available until Feb. 28 at Subway locations in the U.K. and Ireland, but the Vegetarian Butcher plans to launch additional plant-based options with Subway U.K. later in the year, VegNews reports.
Shoppers at over 380 Sprouts stores across the U.S. will now find Rubicon Bakers' Vegan Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes in the bakery section. It's marketed as a creative collaboration between Washington red raspberry farmers and the B Corp bakery Rubicon Bakers, which hires people who have experienced significant barriers to employment, including housing insecurity and incarceration. These sweet vegan treats will be available until March 5.
Israeli food tech startup Vgarden has already developed an impressive lineup of plant-based foods — from meat and fish alternatives to vegan pastries, cheeses and spreads. Next up, the company is tackling the world's most popular fish in perhaps its most humble form. Perfect for salads and sandwiches, Vgarden says its latest launch offers the same appearance, texture and flavor of tinned tuna without the environmental impact of overfishing. The private-label product is already being rolled out in the retail and food service sectors, the company said.
Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is jumping into the plant-based foods space with both feet — literally. Over the past month, the chain has started serving up Oatly oat milk up at coffee stations and linked up with Just Egg, Impossible Foods and Violife for its first vegan breakfast sandwich. The breakfast sammie is now available at 550 stores across Canada, while 90 locations in Sweden will test out oat milk as a push-button option at 7-Eleven coffee machines. As the chain likes to say, "Oh thank heaven."
Spam is possibly one of the most controversial meats out there — a head-scratcher for many, a nostalgic choice for some and a beloved delicacy for others (including diners in Hawaii, who have embraced the canned meat as a cultural staple). Those looking for a vegan version got their wish last year as plant-based foods brand unMEAT added tinned Luncheon Style Meat to its lineup that already includes analog burgers, tuna and chicken alternatives, and more. This year, the product will be available to a much larger audience, having rolled out on Walmart stores last week on top of smaller grocers like HEB and Harris Teeter.
Rob Garbowsky's son is a close friend of the pop trio the Jonas Brothers, and he often made popcorn for the boys backstage. Fast forward to 2021, and Rob and the band turned the tasty recipe into a full-blown business, fittingly named Rob’s Backstage Popcorn. The latest to join the lineup is a barbecue flavor developed with fellow musician and American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, whose Southern roots inspired the sweet and smoky mix that just so happens to be vegan. Find it online now and in mainstream grocers like Kroger and Sam's Club later this month.
The Italian Beef sandwich originated in Chicago in the 1930s and has remained a mainstay for diners in the city. So it makes sense that Chicago-based chain eatery Native Foods would offer a vegan take on this city favorite. The sandwich has all the classic elements of the original — plant-based sliced roast beef, mild giardiniera cheese, a toasted baguette and au jus for dipping — and is entirely vegan. Find it now at Native Foods locations in Chicago, California and Colorado.
(Featured images courtesy of Armored Fresh and Target)
Mary Mazzoni has reported on sustainability in business for over a decade and now serves as managing editor of TriplePundit. She is also the general manager of TriplePundit's Brand Studio, which has worked with dozens of brands and organizations on sustainability storytelling. Along with 3p, Mary's recent work can be found in publications like Conscious Company, Salon and Vice's Motherboard. She also works with nonprofits on media projects, including the women's entrepreneurship coaching organization Street Business School. She is an alumna of Temple University in Philadelphia and lives in the city with her partner and two spoiled dogs.