Food News of the Week: Barbie Mayo, Honey Chicken Sandwiches, and AI Turtle Soup – VegNews

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With Earth Day coming up, we’re looking at the climate-friendly ways some of our favorite companies are celebrating. Veggie Grill and Next Level Burger are giving chicken sandwich lovers a way to ring in Earth Day (while saving pollinators at the same time). 

Known for its AI-powered products, The Not Company recently unveiled a curious NotTurtle Soup to bring attention to the dwindling sea turtle population.  

And Heinz is going pink with a new mayo-based sauce inspired by Barbie. 

Product news

This year marks the 65th anniversary of Mattel’s best-selling toy, Barbie. While the doll was an on-screen hit with last summer’s Barbie film, this spring, Heinz is giving the pink-hued cultural icon new life with the launch of Barbiecue—a vegan mayo-based barbecue sauce. 

Mattel

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Available in the United Kingdom and Spain, this special edition sauce aims to capture the hearts of Barbie fans and food enthusiasts alike. “Barbie well and truly won the hearts of Brits all over again last year, and after seeing the reaction this sauce brought to our fans on social media, we knew we had to make it a reality,” Thiago Rapp, Director of Taste Elevation at Heinz, said in a statement. 

The Barbiecue sauce just hit shelves in Tesco stores and will expand to Ocado and other retailers in May. 

Beyond Meat

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This week, exciting things are coming to stores in the United States, too. First, Beyond Meat’s newest generation of plant-based beef and burgers—made with heart-healthy avocado oil—is coming to grocery shelves nationwide. 

The new Beyond IV products, which boast 21 grams of protein per serving and only two grams of saturated fat, represent the most significant renovation in Beyond Meat’s history. These products have been reformulated from the ground up to be the company’s tastiest and most nutritious yet, designed to offer a meatier, juicier alternative with improved nutritional profiles.

“I’m so excited about the new Beyond Burger and Beef because not only do they taste incredible, but they’re super nutritious,” Joy Bauer, a renowned registered dietitian and Beyond Meat nutrition advisor, said in a statement. 

The new plant-based meats are now available in eye-catching gold packaging at major grocery chains, including Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Publix, Whole Foods Market, and Sprouts.

Lindt

If you’re headed to CVS, there’s a sweet surprise waiting for you on store shelves. Lindt & Sprüngli just rolled out its vegan Lindor truffles—in OatMilk Chocolate and OatMilk Dark Chocolate flavors—at 1,975 locations nationwide with 4,000 planned for June. The dairy-free truffles can also be found at other retailers such as Kroger and Albertson’s.

“We aspired to craft the best-tasting non-dairy truffle for all chocolate enthusiasts including those who are avoiding dairy, lactose-intolerant or simply eating more plant-based alternatives,” Ann Czaja, Lindt Master Chocolatier, said in a statement. 

“We are thrilled that our Lindt Lindor OatMilk truffles offer the same luxurious, smooth melting chocolate experience with this exquisitely crafted premium oat milk recipe,” Czaja said. 

For more sweet news, we’re turning to cookie dough company Sweet Loren’s, which just launched a new Lemon Cookie Dough flavor this week. This light, sweet, and tart offering is perfect for spring, made without the top 14 allergens so that everyone can have a treat. 

Sweet Loren’s

Available at retailers like Target, Kroger, Publix, Giant Food, and Sprouts, or online for this flavor, Sweet Loren’s partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a childhood cancer foundation, and is donating $10,000 to support its cause.

Restaurant news

If sushi is starting to sound more appealing as the temperatures rise, head to The Colony in Los Angeles where beloved vegan sushi concept Niku Nashi just opened a new outpost. In this collection of smart kitchen spaces, you’ll find the whole Niku Nashi menu, including, Mushroom Tempura Hand Rolls, Dragon Rolls, and pink-hued Barbie Rolls that are all the rage.

Niku Nashi

Guests can order vegan apple cinnamon cake from Cousin Jennifer’s and enjoy it on the outdoor patio. Plus, this location allows the company to finally deliver to LA metro areas that were previously off-limits, including Santa Monica, the Pacific Palisades, and Beverly Hills. For April, the outpost is also running a BOGO deal on its hand rolls and vegan bento boxes—extending to nearly the whole menu on Earth Day—to help its customers save a few bucks. 

Stephanie Kelly Photography

Still hungry for climate-friendly restaurant food news? Next Level Burger and Veggie Grill by Next Level might have just the thing. The vegan sister chains are celebrating Earth Day with special initiatives and limited-time offers. 

Back by popular demand, Next Level Burger is bringing back the Superfood Smoothie Shake through April 30, which is made with a variety of fresh foods, like strawberries, that highlight the crucial role of honeybees in our ecosystem.

Additionally, both Next Level Burger and Veggie Grill are running limited-time offers that support pollinators, including the Truffle Honey Chik’n Burger and Chick’n Sandwich—both made without animal products—with each purchase including a wildflower seed packet to help support pollinators in the wild. 

Each location is set to donate 5 percent of its sales on Earth Day to selected non-profit partners such as the Austin Bat Refuge and Groundwork Denver, along with the Pollinator Partnership throughout April. 

Earth Day News 

With the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile, you’ve already heard of a hot dog on wheels. But in this new era of climate-friendly foods and vehicles, Prime Roots is rolling in with its sandwich on wheels—or, a vegan deli built into an electric Cybertruck wrapped like a sandwich. 

Prime Roots

The goal? Give out one million koji-based vegan slices in cities such as Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago, Knoxville, and Charlotte, while promoting more sustainable meat and vehicle choices. 

The best part of this campaign is that you can win $1,000 to help name this creation—Vegan Deli-Mobile, Cyber Sandwich on Wheels, Tasty Tesla Truck, or whatever else comes to mind. Prime Roots will choose a winning name on Instagram this Earth Day. 

Earthfest

Speaking of Earth Day, there’s a big festival happening this Saturday to celebrate the planet with plant-based food galore. Free to the public, San Diego EarthFest, the world’s largest all-vegan Earth Day festival, returns to Balboa Park with more than 100 vendors offering sustainable food, products, and services, alongside musical entertainment, educational sessions, yoga and wellness classes, and interactive photo booths. 

“We have a super fun day planned for attendees this year,” Michelle May, Director of Events for San Diego EarthFest, said in a statement. 

“This event also provides mission-driven companies and brands the opportunity to connect with people who are concerned about environmental issues and want to support businesses who are working to create a better future,” May said. 

This zero-waste event continues its partnership with Sustainability is Sexy to manage onsite waste diversion and recycling, underlining its commitment to sustainability. 

The Not Company

This Earth Month, The Not Company—known for its AI-powered plant-based products—is doubling down on sustainability with a unique offering: NotTurtle Soup. This innovative alternative aims to combat the decline of the global green sea turtle population, now dwindled to around 85,000 and classified as endangered due to climate change, habitat loss, and consumption of traditional dishes. 

NotCo’s AI, “Giuseppe” and renowned Chef Diego Oka collaborated to craft this plant-based version of turtle soup, preserving cultural traditions followed by many in Nigeria, Peru, and China but without harming any endangered species. 

“We have a powerful AI platform that can help solve long-standing industry problems and more,” Matias Muchnick, CEO of NotCo, said in a statement. 

“If Giuseppe can replicate Green Sea Turtle Soup in just two weeks, not only are we providing an alternative to an endangered species, it’s a way to say ‘just imagine what else we can do with technology,” Muchnick said. 

The soup is part of an interactive campaign that includes an introduction to NotTurtle Soup in Peru. You can also learn how to make it yourself through an online MasterClass hosted by NotCo.

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