Is vegan SPAM in the works? Hormel’s new partnership focuses on plant-based meat
Hormel Foods Corporation, best known for its canned meat product SPAM, is developing new plant-based meat alternatives. As part of an exclusive partnership with food tech company The Better Meat Co., Hormel’s venture company 199 Ventures will work to bring new plant-based meat products to market using The Better Meat Co.’s unique fermentation technologies. The duo will develop next generation products using Better Meat Co.’s Rhiza, a mycoprotein that mimics the texture of meat and is made through potato-based fermentation.
“As a global branded food company, we know that our eating culture is changing at a rapid pace and that people are curious and willing to try great-tasting, plant-based proteins,” said Fred Halvin, vice president of corporate development at Hormel Foods, in a statement . “We are excited to work with The Better Meat Co. team to continue offering delicious and convenient mycoprotein and plant-based protein products.”
The Better Meat Co. was founded in 2018 with the goal of making cruelty-free proteins that companies can use as meat alternatives to improve their sustainability metrics. Rhiza is made by feeding potatoes to microscopic mushrooms, which then produce a mycoprotein that has a similar texture and taste to animal meat, but without the need to slaughter animals. According to Better Meat Co., rhiza has more protein than eggs and more iron than beef.
“We are proud to partner with Hormel Foods to unleash the power of fermentation to build an even more sustainable food supply,” said Doni Curkendall, executive vice president of operations at The Better Meat Co, in a statement. “Hormel Foods has extensive expertise in both animal and vegetable proteins and we look forward to working together to bring our delicious mycoprotein to the world.”
Is Hormel starting vegan SPAM?
While Hormel’s partnership with The Better Meat Co. is not directly aimed at developing a vegan version of SPAM, developing it remains within the realm of the possible. “We have a lot of talented people from research and development. No concrete plans [for vegan SPAM], but who knows? “199 Ventures Managing Director Bryan Kreske called in an interview with Star grandstand.
Time will tell whether Hormel will publish vegan SPAM. In the meantime, the meat giant has taken some big strides in the vegetable space. In 2019, Hormel made its first foray into plant-based meat with the introduction of Happy Little Plants. Under the brand, Hormel initially offered “Unseasoned Plant-Based Ground Product”, a vegan meat that is prepared similar to turkey or beef. Since then, Hormel has expanded the brand to include vegan Italian sausage crumble, vegan peppers and vegan chorizo-style crumbles, along with “Plant-Based Meatball Style Topping”, which contains milk ingredients.
Through its food service branch, Hormel launched Happy Little Plants vegan pepperoni at several pizza chains across the country this summer, including Papa Murphy’s, where the vegan meat topping is available in selected locations alongside vegan cheese from Violife.
Vegan SPAM cravings, sorted
Although it cannot technically be called “vegan SPAM”, Hong Kong-based OmniFoods has already emulated a vegan product that is very similar to the famous canned meat. The plant-based meat called OmniPork Vegan Luncheon was developed by OmniFoods founder David Yeung, an environmentally conscious entrepreneur who owns the social enterprise Green Monday, to provide consumers with better choices with less sodium, nitrates and zero cruelty to animals.
In October 2020, the vegan Spam, which is made from soybeans, wheat, beets, and coconut oil, debuted at 280 McDonald’s and 122 McCafé locations in Hong Kong and Macau before moving to three Chinese cities (Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen), the first time McDonald’s in China added vegan meat to its menu.
OmniPork’s popular pork alternative made its way to the U.S. through 25 restaurants and kitchen partners in April, where it was served as part of musubi, bao buns, meatballs, and more. In August, OmniPork made its US retail debut in more than 500 grocery stores, including Whole Foods Markets and Sprouts, making it easier for consumers to cook vegan versions of their favorite SPAM dishes.
For more information on vegan spam, visit:
Hong Kong Brand Introduces World’s First Vegan Spam
Vegan Spam has conquered Asia. Now it comes to American menus
McDonald’s starts vegan spam in Hong Kong