The Top 10 Most Innovative Vegan Food Companies

Whether you are interested in vegan alternatives to meat, dairy products, desserts or even gelatin, there is definitely something available for you. There are so many classic vegan brands that have impressed both vegans and non-vegans alike, and many of us already have our go-to list in terms of our favorite companies or items.

While the existence of animal-free products may not be anything new, there are so many exciting developments in the plant-based arena that are taking the world by storm--not only in terms of the final results, but often also due to the actual way the products are being made.

Below is our top 10 list of the most innovative companies dedicated to creating cruelty-free products:

1- Memphis Meats

Memphis Meats is behind the cultured meatball, with Uma Valeti, co-founder of the company, stating that cultured meat is "absolutely the future of meat" and will make "raising animals unthinkable."

The company's process includes isolating small amounts of animal cells that are able to regenerate, and providing them with oxygen and nutrients, with fetal bovine serum used in order to initiate the entire process. The cells can then be harvested anywhere between nine to 21 days. The process uses 90% less water and land, and 50% less energy compared to conventional agriculture.

Memphis Meats aims to release their products by 2020, and for those left in anticipation, a documentary about Memphis Meats is in the making!

2- SuperMeat

SuperMeat is similar to Memphis Meats in terms of creating cultured products, and focuses on producing "natural meat products cheaper than industrial meat, but with the same texture and taste."

While the company focuses mostly on cultured chicken products, they are also working on minced meat in addition to cultured chicken liver meat and chicken breast meat.

After a very successful fundraising campaign, the company will now focus on research that will "contribute to creating real cultured poultry for the first time."

3- The Not Company (NotCo)

The Not Company refers to their secret weapon as "Giuseppe" which is actually an artificial intelligence model that uses "deep machine learning techniques to understand food at a molecular level."

Featured on the BBC, the company uses unparalleled technology and the "smartest food scientist on earth" to "replicate the taste, texture and even smell of animal-based products by copying their molecular structure."

The Chilean start-up has created vegan milks, yogurts, condiments, cheeses, pâtés, mousses and even a nutella-esque chocolate spread!

4- Geltor (formerly Gelzen Inc.)

Love candy but hate gelatin? San Francisco-based start-up Geltor has the answer for you! The company is working on creating a vegan version of gelatin to use in food as well as for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.

The company makes its gelatin "from scratch by programming microbes to build it for us" which is the same approach "humans use to brew beer, make insulin, and many other animal-free products.”

While the company is working on making sure their product's cost is at a competitive level with gelatin, the product has been estimated to be available within the next five years!

5- New Wave Foods

New Wave Foods is a start-up dedicated to creating sustainable seafood with red algae and plant-based protein powder.

The process includes "isolating the proteins found in algae that the shrimps themselves eat. The proteins would then be mixed with different protein gels in order to form the meat."

The shrimp has been served at the Google cafeteria, and the company's first mass-released product will be popcorn shrimp, set to make its debut this year!

6- Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods created the burger that led Chef David Chang to state that the future is vegan.

Backed by many powerful investors, including Bill Gates, the burger is created to have the same juiciness/bloodiness and texture of beef, and "contains coconut oil to simulate beef fat" and potato proteins which develop a "crust when seared."

Impossible Foods also uses heme from yeast, and after a Clearly Veg member reviewed the burger, it seems Chef David Chang was right when he predicted that "it might change the whole game."

7- Beyond Meat

While Beyond Meat sells many different plant-based meat alternatives, their Beyond Burger is considered to be the "plant-based burger 5.0" and "looks, cooks, and tastes like a fresh beef burger."

Being sold alongside beef in grocery stores, the Beyond Burger uses peas as its main protein source and "gets its succulent juiciness from a blend of coconut, canola, and sunflower oils."

It has no GMOs, soy or gluten, has 20 g of plant-based protein and the burger has even been said to "bleed" (beet blood)!

8- Ripple Foods

When you think of dairy-free milk, your first thought might not include the word "peas." At Ripple Foods, however, that is the main ingredient in their nutrient-rich plant-based milk!

The company isolates "pea protein from other components in order to attain a neutral-taste," which results in the original/unsweetened milk having "8g of protein per serving, no sugar, 50% more calcium than milk, 32mg of omega-3s, as well as vitamin D and iron."

The flavors so far include original, original unsweetened, vanilla, and chocolate, and the company is set to launch pea-based yogurts, cheeses, creamers, and protein shakes and powders!

9- BiotaGelata

Vegan frozen desserts like ice cream and gelato are made from so many different types of main ingredients, including coconuts, almonds, soy, rice, and cashews.

However, a group of Canadian students from the University of Alberta opted to create something that was protein and nutrient rich, with fewer calories than the standard gelato, and made from local ingredients. The key ingredient? Pulses!

The team uses "fermented beans that are then mixed in the gelato machine along with the rest of the ingredients, to create the final product," which comes in maple walnut, passion fruit, and dark chocolate cassis.

The product is currently in the prototype phase but BiotaGelata hope to make their gelato available in the market soon!

10- Gold&Green Foods

The demand for plant-based pulled pork is large enough that most vegan restaurants carry their own versions of the dish.

Finnish company Gold&Green Foods calls their version Pulled&Shredded, or "pulled oats" since it is made from oats and broad beans from Finland and Sweden.

The product is created by having the oats "sheared and heated under the right conditions and combined with the beans," and the flavor options include nude, kaffir lime with sesame and ginger, and tomato with smoked pepper and cilantro!

While this is our top 10 list so far, there are already many more companies and products to be excited about, including CHATO, which creates dairy-free cheese from potatoes, and seaweed bacon courtesy of researchers at Oregon State University!

Chef David Chang is definitely right: the future is vegan!

Lena Tachdjian is a certified nutritionist and a writer, who splits her time between Canada and Armenia. She writes about nutrition, health, food, recipes, culture, travel, animal rights, and more. You can follow her on her nutrition and travel blog http://thetravelingchamelian.blogspot.ca/

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