Top 10 plant based food companies

Food Digital looks at 10 of the most innovative and popular plant based food companies catering to a growing market of vegan consumers.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the WHO European Region, more and more people are shifting towards plant-based diets for reasons relating to health, as well as to ethical considerations about climate change and animal welfare. In some countries changes in dietary patterns are only just emerging, while in others this trend is increasing rapidly. 

Food Digital has put together a list of the top 10 companies maximising on this growing trend and providing plant based food globally.


1. Impossible foods 

During a sabbatical in 2009, Stanford University Professor Dr. Patrick O. Brown decided to switch the course of his career to address the urgent problem of climate change by making the global food system sustainable. Pat brought together a team of top scientists to recreate the entire sensory experience of meat, dairy and fish using plants. In 2022, it launched in the UK with Impossible ”Chicken” Nuggets made from plants and Impossible Sausage Patties.


2. Gold and Green Foods

Gold and Green Foods is a food technology startup from Helsinki, Finland founded by Maija Itkonen, Reeta Kivela, and Zhongqing Jiang in 2015 serving vegetarians, flexitarians, pescaterians, and meat eaters. The company develops and markets plant protein products made from Nordic oats and legumes and combines them using Asian food technologies mixed with findings from Nordic food science to create their plant-based products. In 2016, Gold and Green Foods launched its first product line in Finland called Pulled Oats made out of Nordic oats, fava beans, and pea proteins. Pulled Oats are offered in three different flavors: Nude, Tomato, and Ginger.


3. Sunfed Meats 

Sunfed Meats is a company located in New Zealand making plant-based meat substitutes primarily out of pea proteins. Sunfed's Chicken Free Chicken was the companies first pea protein based product to be sold on the market; with double the protein of chicken and triple the iron of beef. Sunfed explores the world’s plants to identify unique and different plant functionality. Using clean technology, the breakthrough start-up takes proteins from plants and creates meaty protein that has similar mouthfeel to animal meat. The company's range of Sunfed Meats tastes, feels and cooks like meat but is healthier and lighter on the planet, it claims. 


4. VBites 

Established in 1993, long before the current trend in plant based startups, VBites has been pioneering vegan meat, fish, cheese and dairy alternatives for over 27years. Manufactured in the UK its products are distributed worldwide and no other 100% vegan company comes close in terms of range. Through its taste-obsessed research and development, it says its focused on delivering a wide variety of delicious and healthy meat substitutes to satisfy the most discerning meat-reducer.


5. Morning Star Farms 

Morningstar Farms  is a division of the Kellogg Company that produces vegan and vegetarian food. Many of its offerings are plant-based variations of traditionally meat products. Its products include meatless chicken nuggets, popcorn chicken, corn dogs, breakfast sausage, burgers, hot dogs, bacon, and pizza snack rolls with vegan cheese. Originally, Morningstar offered some, but not all vegan products. In 2019, Morningstar Farms announced all products would be vegan by 2021, but as of December 2022 this has not been achieved. 


6. Amy's Kitchen

Amy's Kitchen is a family-owned, privately-held American company based in Petaluma, California, that manufactures organic and non-GMO convenience and frozen foods. Founded in 1987 by Andy and Rachel Berliner, and incorporated since 1988, the company took its name from their daughter, Amy. All of Amy's 250+ products are vegetarian and made with organic ingredients. The company also operates a chain of four vegetarian fast food restaurants in California called Amy's Drive Thru.


7. Quorn Foods

Quorn is a brand of meat substitute products. Quorn originated in the UK and is sold primarily in Europe, but is available in 14 countries. The brand is owned by parent company Monde Nissin.

Quorn is sold as both a cooking ingredient and as a meat substitute used in a range of prepackaged meals.

All Quorn foods contain mycoprotein as an ingredient, which is derived from the Fusarium venenatum fungus. In most Quorn products, the fungus culture is dried and mixed with egg albumen, which acts as a binder, and then is adjusted in texture and pressed into various forms. A vegan formulation also exists that uses potato protein as a binder instead of egg albumen.


8. Beyond Meat 

Beyond Meat is a Los Angeles–based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. The company's initial products were launched in the United States in 2012. Ethan Brown founded the company in 2009 with the stated mission of combating climate change. Brown initially contacted two University of Missouri professors, Fu-hung Hsieh and Harold Huff, who had been developing their meatless protein for years.

Upon licensing Hsieh and Huff's technology, Beyond Meat launched its first product, Beyond Chicken Strips (originally called "Chicken-Free Strips"), at Whole Foods in 2012 and expanded nationally in 2013.

In 2014, Beyond Meat developed its first plant-based beef product, Beyond Beef Crumbles, and has since expanded into plant-based pork. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals named Beyond Meat as its Company of the Year for 2013.


9. Daiya Foods 

Daiya Foods is a Canada-based dairy-alternative food company located in Burnaby, British Columbia. The company was established in 2008 by Andre Kroecher and Greg Blake. Daiya's original (and likely its best known) products are cheese analogues made from coconut oil and tapioca flour that are known for their cheese-like consistency and melting properties. They contain no animal products or soy, lactose, wheat, barley, gluten or nuts.


10. Tofutti Brands

Tofutti Brands is a U.S. company based in Cranford, New Jersey, that makes a range of soy-based, dairy-free foods under the "Tofutti" brand that was founded by David Mintz. Tofutti sells an ice cream substitute for the lactose-intolerant, kosher, food allergy sensitive, vegetarian, and vegan markets.

Since the late 1980s in Canada, Tofutti-Cholac Foods distributes Tofutti products to Canadian supermarkets, grocers, and healthy food stores.



JBS reopens meat plant in Australia

The group shut the factory in 2017, due to drought and poor market conditions.

Image credit: Ralf Liebhold //

Meat giant JBS today (6 February) re-opened a factory in Australia it closed six years ago.

The Brazil-based company said it is investing around AUD20m (US$13.8m) into reopening a processing facility in Cobram in the southern state of Victoria. The plant will employ 150 staff, with plans to increase to its workforce to 350, as JBS gradually upscales production.

The group closed the factory in 2017, due to drought and poor market conditions. However, JBS said the facility will serve the “growing demand“ for lamb, mutton and goat protein proteins in Australia and overseas.


The Cobram site will operate five days a week with a capacity to process up to 4,000 heads of livestock per day.

“Today’s changed market conditions and increasing demand for lamb products has allowed us to invest in this fit-for-purpose facility which will partner with local businesses and livestock producers to deliver Australian lamb, mutton and goat to domestic and international consumers,“ Sam McConnell, the chief operating officer of the company’s JBS Southern division, said.

The Southern unit is one of JBS’ two divisions in Australia, taking in operations in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania. Its Northern division also includes facilities in New South Wales but also in Queensland.

JBS has spent the last few months recruiting local Cobram workers for roles required at the facility.

Due to an ongoing labour shortage, JBS will be filling some roles via Australia’s federal government Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme to employ staff from the Pacific Islands.


An unspecified number of roles remain available at the facility.

JBS’ recent corporate initiatives in Australia have included the 2022 acquisition of local pork processor Rivalea. A year earlier, the group bought Australia-based seafood company Huon Aquaculture.

UK grocery inflation drops for the first time in nearly two years

The dip of just 0.1% was the first time in 21 months that inflation has fallen.

UK grocery inflation dipped for the first time in 21 months in November, following a record high of 14.7% in October.

The dip – to 14.6% – is just 0.1 of a percentage point. It marks the first time since spring 2021 that UK grocery price inflation has declined, according to market research firm Kantar .

The company added that shoppers would have to pay an additional GBP£60 (US$72.99) to purchase the same basket of goods they did the same time last year.


December is predicted to be a record-breaking month for retailers, with holiday spending and higher prices contributing to a consumer splurge of GBP12bn over the course of the month. The football World Cup, however, has yet to have a significant impact on retail sales.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “We haven’t seen a big World Cup effect – at least not yet. Take-home beer sales nudged up slightly in the last four weeks, covering the first week of the tournament, by 5% to GBP230 million, but mostly due to increased prices.

“Many people are taking the chance to enjoy a social pint while watching the games in bars and pubs, whereas last year we were in the middle of a COVID resurgence so consumers were limiting their movements and going out less. We’re likely to be marking the impact of that comparison with higher at-home volumes one year ago.  Crisp and snacks have fared better this winter, however, with sales up by 18%.”

Kanter noted the sale of retailers’ own label brands is up by 11.7% year-on-year, pointing to evidence of consumer trade-down.

Discount retailers LIDL and Aldi have benefitted from the tightening of consumers’ belts. Lidl’s year-on-year sales have risen by 22%, with Aldi up by 24.4%. With the exception of Waitrose and Morrisons , all other physical retailers have experienced year-on-year growth, however the highest of these outside the German discounters listed were Asda and Iceland, which both grew by 6.1%.


Grocery inflation has been rampant across both the UK and much of Europe, with many nations including Germany and Ireland posting record breaking figures in the last quarter.

Ferrero scoops up US ice-cream firm Wells Enterprises

The Ferrero Rocher maker adds to its ice-cream assets in Europe.

Halo Top ice cream on sale in Grovetown, Georgia, USA, 28 May 2022

Ferrero , the confectionery giant behind Kinder and Nutella , has struck a deal to buy US ice-cream maker Wells Enterprises .

Financial terms were not disclosed by either privately-owned business.

Italy-based Ferrero is one of the world’s largest chocolate makers and already has ice-cream interests in Europe.


Executive chairman Giovanni Ferrero said: “This represents a win-win partnership, bringing together ice-cream experts and confectionery champions. Together, we have the power of one and are well placed to grow and compete in the ice-cream market.”

Wells Enterprises manufactures and sells ice cream under brands including Blue Bunny, Bomb Pop and Halo Top. The family-owned group bought Halo Top three years ago after the US brand shook up the category on both sides of the Atlantic with its low-calorie fare.

In a joint statement, the companies said Wells Enterprises will “remain a stand-alone business” after the sale to Ferrero, with offices in Le Mars in Iowa. The group will retain production operations in Le Mars, as well as in Henderson in Nevada and in Dunkirk in New York state.

CEO Mike Wells will serve as “an adviser to support the transition”. Liam Killeen, Wells Enterprises’ president, will become CEO when the deal closes.

Killeen said: “This is an exciting day that accelerates growth and ensures a bright future for our company and everyone associated with it.”


Mr. Wells added: “We are a 100-year-old company focused on adapting for the next 100 years,” said Mike Wells. “Ferrero is a like-minded company with a commitment to providing high-quality, premium sweet-packaged food products that bring joy to consumers around the world. This acquisition puts the business in the best possible hands.”

The sale is expected to be finalised in “early 2023”, the statement added.

In 2019, Ferrero acquired a controlling stake in Spain-based ice-cream manufacturer Ice Cream Factory Comaker (ICFC) for an undisclosed sum.

Two years earlier, the Ferrero Rocher brand owner announced a tie-up with Unilever that saw the world’s largest ice-cream maker manufacture a range of Kinder-branded products for markets in Europe.

Ferrero’s presence in the US has been built organically and via a series of acquisitions, notably the 2017 deal for local confectioner Fannie May, the 2018 move for Nestlé’s US confectionery business and the 2019 purchase of Kellogg’s cookies and fruit snacks assets.

In 2017, Ferrero also acquired US firm Ferrara Candy Co. via an affiliated company.

Shortcoming: Migration of Plasticizers

Bremen, September 2022 - A national testing campaign revealed such high levels of plasticizers in around a quarter of the foods containing oils in glass jars with PVC lid seals that they had to be objected to and withdrawn from sale. We are talking about the control campaign just concluded by the cantonal chemists of Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, who regularly carry out such tests with the aim of raising awareness of the problems associated with plasticizers and effective self-regulation. This is because the plasticizers used in lid seals made of PVC can be absorbed by foods containing a high proportion of oil due to their chemical properties. These contaminants are considered avoidable and are therefore undesirable. Overall exposure to plasticizers must be kept as low as possible in line with the precautionary principle. For this reason, reduction measures must also be taken and maximum levels complied with for foodstuffs and their packaging, according to the food control authorities, who once again had to reject too many samples due to the use of unsuitable sealing materials and, in some cases, extensive contamination with plasticizers.
In Germany, too, such tests are regularly carried out by independent institutes and often produce similar results. The question that needs to be asked here is: In times of countless discussions about safe and environmentally-friendly packaging, how are such results still being achieved? After all, it’s not as if there are no alternatives.
The control campaign is not the only one to establish that there are definitely products whose lid seals are not made of PVC. These are uncritical in terms of plasticizer migration, available for both twist-off and press-on twist-off (P/T) closures, and in all the usual sizes on the market. Available from most closure manufacturers, they are extensively tested and qualified for all applications. These PVC-free sealing materials developed by Actega have been on the market for the past ten years under the brand name PROVALIN® and offer other benefits besides preventing migration of plasticizers into food.
When manufacturing PVC-free closures, liquid sealants containing PVC do not need to be dried in the drying ovens during closure production. This reduces energy consumption and avoids CO2 emissions. Closure manufacturer Pano can, for example, save around 500 tons of CO2 annually in the production of PVC-free lug caps. Following the strategy of "CO2 reduction before CO2 compensation", the company exclusively uses PROVALIN® sealing materials from Actega for the production of its PVC-free lug caps. The closure is very easy to recognize as a PVC-free closure because of the blue sealing ring.
Although the topic of plasticizer migration has been known for a long time and many major distributors and larger food manufacturers already rely on PVC-free lid seals for a range of products, the control campaign concluded that these alternatives are still underused.
Packaging should protect food, preserve it, present it in an appetizing way, and provide space for information and consumer recognition. But: environmentally-harmful manufacturing and disposal problems in the production of packaging materials should be minimized, and critical components that could transfer from them to food or other filling goods should be eliminated. Actega made this its maxim early on and has been focusing on PVC- and plasticizer-free sealants for beverage and food packaging for decades. A growing awareness of the need to be PVC-free has enabled the PROVALIN® family to grow to a large number of variants for all standard market applications. This also applies to the highly-sensitive area of baby food, where mainly press-on twist-off closures are used. Here, ACTGreen® PROVALIN® is the only PVC-free solution on offer. It is recognizable by the green ring in the seal.
Conclusion: Compliant instead of non-compliant. Complaints, non-compliance and withdrawal from sale are avoided by choosing a PVC-free lid seal. Thus creating sustainable added value with PROVALIN®.
Press contact: !Wir: Kommunikation und Unternehmensberatung GmbH, Dagmar Schumann, Carl-Cohn-Str. 77, 22297 Hamburg, +49 40 37417237, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
ACTEGA is a division of the internationally operating specialty chemicals group ALTANA. With production facilities in Europe, North and South America and China, ACTEGA develops, produces and distributes specialty coatings, inks, adhesives and sealing compounds with a focus on the packaging industry. Following the motto "Packed with Expertise", ACTEGA does not only offer technically sophisticated product solutions, but also meets the high safety standards of the food, beverages, pharmaceutical and toy industries. Whether for flexible and metal packaging, folding cartons or labels, products by ACTEGA provide packaging with a high-quality appearance and innovative functionalities.