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Vegan Food News of the Week: Improved Impossible Burgers, 7-Eleven’s Musubi, and More

It seems that every week in the world of vegan food news is more exciting than the last and this week is no exception. We’re firing up our grills for Impossible’s newest burger, made more indulgent to satisfy the meatiest of meat-eaters. For seafood cravings, we’re turning to PLNT Burger’s newest limited-time offering: the New Bay Crab Cake Sandwich spiced, of course, with a sprinkling of Old Bay. And if you’ve already booked a vacation to Hawaii this summer, stop into a 7-Eleven for crispy Katsu Musubi layered with OmniFoods’ vegan Spam. Read on for more. 

1More indulgent Impossible Burgers

While eating a plant-based burger is always a better idea than meat, it’s not really supposed to count as a salad—because it’s a burger after all. This week, Impossible Foods leaned deeper into that notion with a new Impossible Indulgent Impossible Burger. 

“Our burger put us on the map and it’s the core of our business. But we’ve heard from our fans they’d like something bigger and even juicier, so we of course said yes,” Peter McGuinness, president and CEO of Impossible Foods, said in a statement. 

Each one-third pound patty is juicier and bolder in flavor, shrinks less on the grill, and is made to better compete with beef on every level. 

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How does it stand up to animal meat? According to Impossible, 82 percent of consumers surveyed say they like it better than beef. Health halo, be damned. 

The new burger joins Impossible’s portfolio of plant-based meats, designed to be a perfect stand-in for animal products for every occasion and palette. 

“Not only do we have our original beef products for versatile everyday cooking, but we launched Beef Lite earlier this year for more nutrition-conscious consumers who want an even leaner alternative to animal beef,” McGuinness said. 

“Our Indulgent Burger is the perfect addition, giving consumers more options and ways to try and buy Impossible,” he said. “Creating a more differentiated portfolio allows us to better meet consumers where they are.”

The new Indulgent burgers are available on the menu at Bareburger and Monty’s Good Burger, along with select retailers, with wider restaurant and store rollout planned for the coming months.  

2Hooray for vegan bacon 

Meal kit services Purple Carrot and Hungryroot just got a major vegan bacon upgrade. That’s because Hooray Foods’ vegan bacon will now be offered as part of both meal kits.

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At Hungryroot, customers can now make BLT sandwiches, mac and cheese, and more using its step-by-step recipes. Purple Carrot is also offering Hooray’s products in its curated grocery kits, allowing customers to to make their own vegan bacon creations. 

“It’s a joy to partner with Hungryroot and Purple Carrot on empowering consumers to explore new culinary horizons and delicious plant-based options,” Sri Artham, founder and CEO of Hooray Foods, said in a statement.

“This launch reflects the growing demand for more sustainable and ethical food options, and we’re honored to be a part of it,” he said. 

Outside of these two partnerships, Hooray’s vegan bacon is available in North America at retailers such as Whole Foods and Safeway. 

3Fish-free crab cake sandwiches 

This time of the year, the craving always strikes for a little seafood—of the plant-based variety, of course. Lucky for us, celeb chef Spike Mendelsohn has just the thing on his menu at vegan fast-food chain PLNT Burger.

From now until Labor Day, PLNT Burger’s seven locations in the DMV area (Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia) are serving the New Bay Crab Cake Sandwich.

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Seasoned with Old Bay and layered with crisp lettuce, the sandwich is made with a Mind Blown crab patty by The Plant-Based Seafood Co.—which was founded by Shelly Van Cleve and Monica Talbert, who have 20 years of seafood industry experience under the Van Cleve Seafood Co. located in Chesapeake Bay. 

“I’ve been excited about partnering with Mind Blown since I first tasted their shrimp a few years ago,” Mendelsohn said in a statement. “As a chef, I expect plant-based seafood to taste just as good as traditional, premium quality seafood products before we can showcase them in our restaurants.”

The mother-daughter duo ventured into vegan seafood to create alternatives that take pressure off the oceans and planet, without sacrificing flavor or texture. 

“We are thrilled to partner with PLNT Burger to bring our Mind Blown Crab Cake to life in the irresistible New Bay Crab Cake Sandwich,” Mind Blown CEO Monica Talbert said in a statement. “I can’t think of a better partner to launch this limited-time offer with and the timing couldn’t be more perfect ahead of World Ocean Month.” 

To further save fish and the oceans, The Plant Based Seafood Co. donates one percent of its profits to support the critical work of the Coral Restoration Foundation.

4Banza’s chickpea bucatini

We’re fans of everything pasta and chickpeas but you put the two together, and our interest is piqued. Over at Banza, chickpea pasta is a way of life and its newest shape, bucatini, is the first gluten-free pasta of its kind on the market. 

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Bucatini is like a grown-up version of spaghetti, with a hole running through the middle to better sop up sauces. In 2020, the shape was in short supply due to various factors, including increased pasta demand combined with how hard it is to get that hole in the middle. 

“Our mission is to inspire people to eat more chickpeas and other beans, for their impact on human health and the environment,” Brian Rudolph, Banza CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. 

“When the great bucatini shortage hit, we knew we had to make this elusive shape from chickpeas,” he said. “Turns out bucatini is a challenging shape to produce, but gratefully we pulled it off. We couldn’t be more excited to bring bucatini to the Banza community.”

Banza’s new bucatini is exclusively available at Whole Foods and joins its variety of 17 pasta shapes and other products (which includes vegan mac and cheese and pizzas)

5OmniFoods’ katsu musubi at 7-Eleven Hawaii

Earlier this year, 7-Eleven pulled out all the stops when it launched a vegan breakfast sandwich at 500 locations across Canada. This handheld was made with all the plant-based MVPs: Just Egg, Violife cheddar, and Impossible Foods’ breakfast sausage. 

“Our mission is to provide delicious and sustainable plant-based alternatives to the public, and we believe that this partnership with 7-Eleven Hawaii is a great step towards achieving our mission,” David Yeung, Co-Founder and CEO of OmniFoods, said in a statement. 

This week, 7-Eleven has done it again, this time in Hawaii where a new vegan musubi made with OmniFoods’ plant-based OmniLuncheon (think vegan Spam) just launched. 

“We are thrilled to partner with OmniFoods to offer our customers a new plant-based option that is not only delicious but also healthier for them and the planet,” Debbie Lee Soon, Food Innovation & Development Manager at 7-Eleven Hawaii, said in a statement. 

The new Katsu Musubi is now at 66 7-Eleven stores in Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Big Island. Our summer travel plans just took a sharp turn down to Hawaii. Who’s coming with us?

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