Restaurant Show Puts Plant-Based in Spotlight

CHICAGO – Plant-based protein options were plentiful at the recent National Restaurant Association show, with old timers Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Kellogg’s Morningstar Farms joined by newer companies – such as Daring, Next Gen Foods (TiNDLE), Simulate (NUGGS), The Jackfruit Company (jack & annie’s), Future Farm, Motif FoodWorks, Future Foods Enterprises (PAOW!), VFC Foods, and Fable.

More plant-based seafood alternatives were available at this year’s show than in previous years to address consumer concerns about overfishing. Some “90% of consumers are concerned about seafood sustainability” according to Datassential’s 2022 Environment Report cited by New Wave Foods.

New Wave featured its New Wave Shrimp made with seaweed and mung bean protein in breaded and unbreaded formats.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher – more than 3 billion people survive on fish. And many of our fish stocks are collapsing – about a third, globally,” according to Jack Kittinger, Finless Foods Impact Advisor.

Finless Foods showed its Poke-style plant-based raw tuna as minimally processed with winter melon and seaweed powder. Good Catch Foods offered the largest variety of plant-based fish alternatives at the show with salmon burgers, crab cakes, fish burgers, fish cakes, tuna, fish fillets, and fish sticks. Prefera Foods, meanwhile, offered its Unfished plant-based canned PlanTuna as an ocean-friendly tuna alternative

For breakfast time, show attendees were introduced to new launches from Hodo (the All-Day Egg Scramble), Hooray Foods (100% Plant-Based Bacon), and OmniFoods (100% Plant-Based OmniPork Luncheon alternative to SPAM).

Virginia Lee is a food, drinks & beauty trends market researcher. She has advised companies on innovation and market entry opportunities in consumer packaged goods at Euromonitor International, Brightfield Group, and Innova Market Insights. Connect with Virginia on Twitter and Instagram at @VirginiaALee.