Dunkin’ Exec Invests in New Vegan Bacon Company

|Updated Dec 6, 2021
Instagram / @hoorayfoods

Hooray Foods just announced that it plans to expand its business and production capabilities, welcoming former CEO of Dunkin’ David Hoffman as a key investor and advisor. The California-based vegan bacon brand recently secured a $2.7 million seed funding round following months of impressive market success. The company responsible for hyper-realistic vegan bacon aims to use Hoffman’s expertise and the investment package to accelerate its product development and distribution abilities.

The plant-based company announced that its funding package will help scale up its production for the signature vegan bacon, revealing that an improved version is slated to hit markets next year. Hoffman believes that the company holds high potential within the plant-based market, noting his experience introducing vegan options at McDonald’s and Dunkin’.

“I look forward to guiding Hooray Foods as they continue to expand,” Hoffmann said in a statement. “After witnessing the national appeal of meat alternatives in my previous roles at high-profile fast-food brands, I am confident Hooray’s plant-based bacon will become a must-have on the menus at thousands of quick-service restaurants and sit-down establishments.”

Hooray Foods launched last year when founder and environmentalist Sri Artham decided he wanted to develop cleaner pork-like products for American consumers. Artham intends to tackle the global pork industry in order to curb the dangerous environmental impacts of animal-based pork production and consumption.

The brand’s vegan bacon strips boast a fatty texture and taste that sets the product apart from its market counterparts. Hooray Foods replicates traditional bacon fat to create a bacon experience similar to animal-based bacon, unlike any plant-based products currently on the market. Artham hopes that the new plant-based bacon will give consumers a reason to switch from animal-based pork products.

“Changing what we eat, specifically reducing consumption of animal proteins, is the easiest step anyone can take to help slow climate change. Hooray is here to make this transition joyful and delicious,” Artham said in a statement. “We’re so grateful to have investor support to ensure consumers have access to plant-based options that are just as good as the real thing.”

Artham enters a rapidly rising plant-based pork market as consumers acknowledge the detrimental aspects of animal-based pork production. A study from Future Market Insights found that the global plant-based pork market is projected to grow from $1.2 billion to $10.5 billion from 2020 to 2030. The report cites that consumers have become more concerned with environmental dangers and pandemic-related outbreaks, encouraging a shift away from pork production.

Partnering with retailers such as Whole Foods allowed the company to expand rapidly across the United States, selling nearly 2 million strips over the last year. The company expects that the increasing popularity will accelerate as it expands its brand internationally. The company announced last month that it would begin selling its vegan bacon products in the Canadian Market, available at 180 Sobeys, Safeway, and Thrifty Foods across Canada.

“We’ve experienced rapid growth in the US since our launch a year ago. People who love bacon, love Hooray,” Artham said. “As a Canadian, I’m beyond excited to ‘bring home the bacon’ and offer Canadian shoppers a unique and delicious meat alternative. Sobeys Inc. is a perfect partner in this as they’ve been at the forefront of providing customers with innovative plant-based options.”

The expansion will be amplified by the company’s most recent funding round, allowing for the plant-based pork product to increase its accessibility across North America. Retailers in both the US and Canada show enthusiasm in introducing the new plant-based pork product. The product contains clean ingredients including coconut oil, rice flour, tapioca starch, liquid smoke, umami seasoning, salt, beet juice concentrate, and maple syrup. Its natural ingredients and umami flavoring will present a unique product to the North American market.

“At Sobeys Inc., we are passionate about providing our customers with a fulsome shopping experience by continuing to introduce new and innovative products like Hooray Foods bacon-flavored strips,” Sobeys Director of Merchandising, Plant Based, Seafood, Deli & HMR, Rob Mikulec said in a statement. “We are so proud to be the first retailer to bring this product to Canadian tables and look forward to seeing the unique and delicious ways our customers add it to their breakfast meals, side dishes, and festive appetizers.”

Dunkin’s Plant-Based Expansion

During Hoffman’s time at Dunkin, the national doughnut chain introduced several vegan options and announced promises for future developments. The company first debuted its Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich in 2019 to more than 9,000 locations. Partnering with vegan food giant Beyond Meat, the breakfast chain revealed one of the first vegan meat options at a national food chain. The company also introduced vegan avocado toast to its menu earlier this year.

For Dunkin’s signature menu items, coffee and doughnuts, the company is working to satisfy its plant-based customers. The company introduced oat milk from Planet Oat last year to its storefronts nationwide. In regard to vegan doughnuts, the company experimented with 40 vegan flavors in Belgium in April, but the company has yet to commit to further development.

To find out what's vegan at Dunkin' Donuts, visit The Beet's comprehensive guide to eating plant-based at the chain. 

Fast-food restaurants have finally got the memo that their customer base isn’t just coming through for a burger, fried chicken, or a beef taco. Many now have plant-based foods and are coming up with creative, delicious ways to get more greens on the menu. Here are the 6 best fast-food chains with plant-based options on the menu.

1. Burger King

Turns out there’s a lot more to rely on than a salad if you’re eating plant-based. Burger King has the Impossible Whopper featuring a meatless patty as well as a few secretly vegan options such as the French Toast Sticks and Hashbrowns.

2. White Castle

Known for its mini square-shaped sliders, this hamburger chain jumped on the plant-based bandwagon at some participating locations. You can find an Impossible Slider on some White Castle menus.

3. Del Taco

This was the first national Mexican fast-food chain to offer Beyond Meat at the company’s 580 restaurants across the country. Del Taco has the Beyond Avocado Taco on the menu along with the Epic Beyond Original Mex Burrito and Avocado Veggie Bowl.

4. Carl's Jr.

Another brand synonymous with beef burgers, Carl’s Jr. offers several plant-based options for veggie and plant lover such as Beyond Famous Star Burger and Guacamole Thickburger.

5. Taco Bell

This fast-food restaurant may have been one of the first you frequented while transitioning to plant-based eating. That’s because Taco Bell has eight million vegetarian combinations and sells 350 million vegetarian items a year through menu substitutions or ordering off their vegetarian menu. In fact, they were the first quick-service restaurant to offer American Vegetarian Association (AVA) certified food options.

6. Starbucks

From the time it started offering breakfast sandwiches in 2006, the coffee conglomerate became a competitor in the fast-food space. You can get your favorite hot and cold beverages made with almond, coconut or oat milk but there are also plant-based food options available such as the Baja Black Bean Veggie Wrap, bagel with vegan cream cheese and Impossible Breakfast Sandwich.