Thursday and Friday (September 8 and 9) saw the return of Plant Based World Expo North America (PBWNA). Held at New York’s famed Javits Center, the show’s third year has been an exciting display of innovation and resilience from the industry and the team behind the event.
The second post-pandemic show, PBWNA saw 3722 attendees over 2 days and included new herbal products from mushrooms, mung beans and more. From plant-based cheese to shrimp, PBWNA exhibitors have proven that plant-based foods are getting tastier and more innovative.
Before I jump into my featured brands, I’d like to salute a few companies that weren’t on my list, but had great products.
VFC – Simple but effective. The VFC team have succeeded in creating a simple product that does not disappoint. That in itself is impressive as a vegan fried chicken creation that I think is nothing to dislike. The brand has adapted its
Miami Foods – I was very impressed with the Lincolnshire sausages from Miami Foods. Known for their burgers, I immediately understood their recent name change from Miami Burger to Miami Foods. The brand has a lot to offer with a range of products, including their Italian meatballs that are perfect for catering and retail.
Miyokos – Exactly what I expected from non-dairy vegan artisan food expert Miyoko Schinner. This was my first time trying several Miyokos products, including cultured butter and liquid mozzarella – I loved them all.
Southern Roots Bakery – Delicious artisan vegan donuts. I loved everything about this brand! Started and operated by Cara and Marcus Pitts, Southern Roots Bakery understood the simplicity of a delicious vegan treat.
The best doesn’t always mean the biggest, but in this case, it definitely is. Hands down, VFC and Miyokos. See images below (photos were taken by me. Let me know what you think of my photography skills).
My flagship brands
Once consumers have tasted this product, there is no going back.
Currently the only plant-based cheese company to use almond milk in its entire line, Armored Fresh makes a variety of delicious plant-based cheese products, all without artificial preservatives. Their products are simply the best plant-based cheese I have ever tasted. The brand offers a variety of slices, spreads and cubes, in all flavors.
I tasted the vegan cream cheese as well as their cheese cubes. Not typically someone who likes cheese as a snack, I was blown away by the texture and taste of the snack sized cubes. Although my taste buds are far removed from dairy cheese, Armored Fresh’s block of cheddar cheese gave an instant nostalgic feeling.
If you have the pleasure of tasting these products, vegan or not, you will not be disappointed.
With plans to gain distribution in the United States, the company says it is ready to scale with the capacity to produce 1,500 tons of cheese per year and is currently in talks with distribution partners in the United States.
Who says you can’t do many things well?
Founded in early 2020 and currently stocked in over 2,000 retail stores across the United States with an upcoming Target launch for both pizza SKUs, Queens, NY-based Blackbird Foods is a prime example. small business that excels at NPD.
The brand launched its hand-beaten wings at the show, which both complements and elevates its already strong product line. Made from seitan, the wings are everything you’d expect from a great-tasting plant-based wing – crispy, light and just the right density without the annoying chewiness.
Making a range of products in separate categories can sometimes be difficult and often brands miss the mark with a product that is usually missing, but Blackbirds Foods is an example of in-house product development done carefully and well executed.
Made from shiitake mushroom stalks – a waste product in most countries, Fable uses simple ingredients to work magic.
You can find Fable at popular restaurants such as Beatnic, Gousto, and soon, STK. Popular names such as the Denver Broncos and the University of Arizona are also using the product with more universities waiting to receive orders.
Currently stocked in retail stores in Australia and the UK, Fable says a US retail product is 18 months away.
Trupo Treats has been on my radar for some time now, but with no UK distribution I’ve had to wait patiently for my return to the US.
I’ve tried both their MYLK Chocolate and MYLK Chocolate Peanut Butter Wafer Bars, and what I loved most about Trupo Treats is that after a day of tasting fried and processed foods, their wafer bars were light enough not to add to that bloated meal. feeling.
Considered “the kings of wafers”, twin brothers Brian and Charlie Trupo first found success with Trupo Treats on Kickstarter raising $20,000 with over 840 backers.
Since then, the brand has sold DTC through its online store, while increasing its distribution across the United States and is currently stocked in over 30 locations.
Food service first
Retail no longer seems to be the end goal for many brands. Either because of the competition, the difficulty of working with buyers, or simply not because of the strategy of these companies. More and more brands are expressing the importance of working with foodservice to gain momentum.
This is understandable as we are now post-pandemic where many brands have been forced to sell direct to consumers, but it was refreshing to hear companies focusing on working with chefs to develop options rather than focusing on 100% on supermarket listings.
Some of the most innovative and tastiest products have very small teams behind them. The founders and team members themselves strive to keep things light, but scalable, with several mentioning the importance of profit and building a business in a sustainable way. On the other hand, I’ve spoken with smaller brands that have over-hired in areas, creating an unsustainable cycle of continuous fundraising before determining their market position.
The future is bright for Plant Based World Expo
As a 100% plant-based B2B event, PBWNA is simply outstanding. I was surprised by the scale of the event and the constant buzz in the exhibit hall. A well executed event that brings value to exhibitors and visitors, I think the event is great for the vegan movement and we should all support it in any way we can. Looking at where the event is today, I’m excited for the growth of what’s to come over the next 5 years and to see the next event in London at the end of November.