Taco Bell was always good for vegetarians—now it’s adding plant-based meat

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Taco Bell’s bean burritos have appealed to vegetarians and vegans for decades, but the chain now is seeing the value in adding plant-based meat to its menu. Long before the Impossible Whopper at Burger King and Beyond Meat chicken at KFC , Taco Bell filled a fast-food gap for vegetarians and vegans with its easy ability to swap beans for beef and its “fresco” style modification, which subs pico de gallo for dairy toppings such as sour cream and cheese. The company even once said it wouldn’t pursue adding plant-based options from Impossible or Beyond, despite growing interest from other fast-food eateries in those menu additions, instead focusing on its own vegetarian offerings that have been available for decades. Read Full Story

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This lab-grown chicken just got the world’s first regulatory approval

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In a few Singaporean restaurants, the chicken on the menu will come from a bioreactor, not a farm. Four years ago, the San Francisco-based alternative protein company Eat Just (formerly named simply Just, and Hampton Creek before that) was most well-known for the plant-based egg alternatives that served as the base for Just Mayo , its flagship eggless, vegan mayo substitute. But the company wanted to go further than just finding plants that could mimic the taste and feel of meat products: It pushed into lab-grown, or “cultivated meat,” and started working on growing real chicken from cells. Two years ago, Fast Company tried some of the chicken prototypes at Eat Just’s headquarters . Now, it’s become the first company to gain regulatory approval to begin selling meat grown in a bioreactor. Read Full Story

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Taco Bell is secretly a haven for vegetarians—and it’s adding even more meatless options

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Taco Bell is a surprisingly vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant. Now, it plans to double down on that reputation. Taco Bell may always be associated with neon-colored beverages and big, beefy burritos. But quietly, the fast food chain has established a second identity as a haven for vegetarians and vegans. As of 2020, the bean burrito was the company’s number two biggest seller . Read Full Story

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This company is introducing plant-based protein to a meat-loving nation

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After the U.S., Brazil is the number-two country for meat consumption, but many people are increasingly concerned about health and sustainability. Fazenda Futuro—a winner of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards—is addressing that demand. When it comes to plant-based meats, Fazenda Futuro may not be a household name in the U.S. like Impossible or Beyond Meats, but in its native Brazil, it now holds a large chunk of the plant-based market share, producing 130 to 150 tons of that imitation meat every month. “For us, it’s like our obligation, because Brazil has the second-largest meat consumption in the world,” says Marcos Leta, the founder of Fazenda Futuro, which translates to “Future Farm,” and which is the winner of the Latin America regional category in Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards. Read Full Story

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What we know about McDonald’s new “McPlant” plant-based burger

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The fast food giant’s shift toward plant-based meat could have major implications for the growing sector—but it’s not quite clear where this specific plant-based meat is coming from. As one of the world’s largest buyers of beef—the most climate-damaging food on the planet—McDonald’s is working to reduce emissions by supporting regenerative agriculture . But it’s also launching a new “McPlant” plant-based burger, something that could also make a difference if it can scale up. Read Full Story

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These plant-based steaks come out of a 3D printer

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Plant-based burgers are one thing, but a fake steak that can convince meat eaters is a much harder accomplishment. Redefine Meat thinks it’s figured it out. Inside a lab in Rehovot, Israel, a 3D printer the size of an industrial refrigerator is busy printing plant-based steaks. Redefine Meat , the startup that developed the technology, sees it as the next step for the world of alternative protein: If companies like Impossible Foods have created plant-based burgers that are meaty enough to tempt omnivores, now the industry wants options for realistic whole cuts of faux meat. Read Full Story

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This new plant-based shrimp expands the fake meat menu

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New Wave Foods thinks its seaweed and plant-protein creation can replace the nearly 5 pounds of shrimp Americans eat annually—and help clean up an industry rife with bad labor practices. After five years and $8 million dollars, sustainable seafood alternative company New Wave Foods is ready to launch its first product: plant-based shrimp. Read Full Story

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I tried Pizza Hut’s Beyond Meat sausage pizza. It’s good enough to ditch meat

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It’s time we question every animal ingredient to decide if it’s really necessary to the dining experience. Fast food is being taken over by meat alternatives. Impossible meat is now served at Burger King, White Castle, and Starbucks. Meanwhile, Beyond Meat can be found on the menus of Dunkin’ Donuts and Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.—and perhaps KFC soon . Even McDonald’s, which has held out the longest, has teased a new McPlant burger. Read Full Story

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