The Best New Vegan Products of 2022 and Where to Find Them
With a major influx of vegan brands and established food companies developing new plant-based products, the number of choices on the shelf is already overwhelming. Natural Products Expo West 2022, the largest annual show of its kind, is where brands come from around the world to debut new and upcoming products and give away tons of samples for retail buyers, journalists. This past week, Expo West as it's known, proved that when it coms to vegan and plant-based packaged foods we have only scratched the surface.
We scoured the floors of Expo West, one of the largest food expos in the world, which took place in Anaheim, California last week, to uncover some of the best new vegan innovations coming your way. From brand new products to expansions by some of your cult-favorite brands, here are the best new products of 2022 (so far), and where you can find them.
Best plant-based chicken: Daring - Cajun Plant Chicken Pieces
Daring has been on a mission to bring more health-forward and flavorful alt-chicken products onto the scene. Its Cajun Plant Chicken Pieces has been on the scene for a few years, but it is consistently one of the best all-around. It will win over your taste buds instantly with a perfect amount of spice, balanced with heat, and a please easing-eating texture. At the Expo, Daring introduced a brand new gluten-free breaded plant-based chicken, which is equally delicious as its others in the lineup. The new gluten-free breaded product will be available in stores (sold in the frozen section) in April and will begin foodservice rollout later this month.
You can find Daring products at Whole Foods, Kroger, and Amazon Fresh.
Best plant-based burger: Everything Legendary - Everything Legendary Burger
This plant-based burger brand won over investors on Shark Tank — and recently secured more backers including General Mils — helping catapult Everything Legendary into the mainstream. There is a good reason, and investors alike love this Black-owned Maryland-based brand: Its plant burgers are damn good. The rich and juicy 21-grams-of-protein patties, which use pea and hemp, will leave you fully satiated and wondering why you haven't tried them sooner. All the recent investment dollars flowing into the brand means they will be easier to find at a store near you.
Everything Legendary's products are currently in more than 2,500 grocery stores, including Target, Ralphs Safeway, and more. The company also says they are expanding and will be in over 5,000 grocery stores in the next few months.
Best plant-based deli slices: Unreal Deli - Steak Slices
After one bite, you’d be shocked to learn that Unreal Deli Steak Slices are made from shiitake mushrooms, black rice, and lentils. Plus, they have no saturated fat and a whopping 15 grams of protein per serving. Unreal Deli perfects thick and “meaty” slices using pure plant ingredients. The latest news from the Expo is that the brand is expanding — both in grocery stores and being served up at deli counters — which will make it easier to find at a store and deli near you.
You can find Unreal Deli at select Gelson’s, Ralph’s, Whole Foods, and more, as well as select delis and foodservice across the US.
Best new vegan bread: Little Northern Bakehouse - Sweet Hawaiian Wide Slide bread
Maker of gluten-free and plant-based bread and bakery products, Little Northern Bakehouse debuted its Sweet Hawaiian Wide Slide bread at the Expo. The new loaf is a true throwback to the classic sweet Hawaiian rolls you may have had in the past (which typically contain eggs and milk). Now you can make your saucy BBQ sandwiches or tropical French toasts with vegan Hawaiian sweet bread. All Little Northern Bakehouse products use non-GMO ingredients, are allergen-friendly, and are certified Glyphosate Residue Free.
You can find Little Northern Bakehouse's bread online and at select retail stores.
Best new vegan milk: Betterland foods - Cow-free milk
Just when you thought alternative milk innovation and the plethora of options reached its peak, a new disruption comes along: Enter Betterland, which uses animal-free proteins (via the Perfect Day food technology company) to make its milk achieve that rich and creamy consistency that appears nearly identical to cow’s milk. This milk is for any cow-milk enthusiasts you may be trying to wean off the animal juice.
So how does cow-free milk actually work? Animal-free proteins are made using a process called precision fermentation. In short, some microflora (little organisms), are put in a fermentation tank and fed a mixture of nutrients; the outcome is proteins that are identical to those found in cow’s milk. Yes, animal-free dairy — and Betterland products — are vegan, but don’t call the brand “plant-based," since the brand uses a real dairy protein that was grown via the aforementioned fermentation process.
The Betterland cow-free milk will be available in retailers this summer.
Best vegan celebrity product: Rob’s Backstage Popcorn
While several celebrities showcased their water brands at the Expo, Nick Jonas — on behalf of the Jonas Brothers — made an appearance to promote their popcorn brand, a refreshing celebrity-created product. Rob’s Backstage Popcorn is vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free. With a mix of salty, savory, with the slightest hint of sweet, Rob’s Backstage Popcorn truly hits all the right tasting notes.
You can now order directly on the website, and keep an eye out for more news coming from the brand soon.
Best mushroom-based food: Big Mountain Foods - Lion Mane Mushroom Crumbles
Mushrooms used in creative ways were all the rage at the Expo this year — and the use of mushrooms in Big Mountain Foods’ Lion’s Mane Mushroom Crumble was impressive. You might recognize this natural foods maker that seems to often not get the buzz it deserves, but its plant-based, whole-food ingredient packaged foods never disappoint and strike the perfect balance of health and flavor. Lion’s Mane Mushroom Crumbles, which launched in late 2021, are no exception. With a blend of organic lion’s mane, shiitake and portabella mushrooms, pea protein, carrots, coconut oil, and hemp seeds, these tasty crumbles will make whipping up a protein-packed vegan dish easier and more satisfying than ever. This product was also a winner of the highly coveted NEXTY Awards, given to the best products at the show.
You can find Lion’s Mane Mushroom Crumbels at Sprouts, Albertsons, and more.
Best new vegan dessert: Renewal Mill - Salted Peanut Butter Cookies with Miyoko's Butter
A collaboration with two women-owned brands, Renewal Foods and Miyoko’s teamed to make a vegan and gluten-free soft cookie. The Salted Peanut Butter Cookies made with Miyoko's Butter is available for pre-order online now with shipping starting in early April the company says. If you’ve ever had Miyoko’s butter — which is absolutely delicious — you’ll understand the hype around these cookies.
Best vegan nutrition bar: ALOHA - Mini Bars, Peanut Butter Cup
Nutritious snack bars don’t get much better than ALOHA. Always vegan, organic, and non-GMO, ALOHA now has a new line of minibars, with the standout flavor being the Peanut Butter Cup — it is delectable. The new minis, which are about 100 calories each, are a perfect hold over snacks between meals.
You can find these on ALOHA's website and are widely available at grocery stores around the nation.
Best new vegan snack Outstanding Foods - Dairy-Free Cheese Ball
By now you may have tried Outstanding Foods’ nutrient-infused puffs of pigless pork rinds. Now, they are launching Outstanding Foods Cheese Balls, crafted by Dave Anderson, the executive chef behind the Beyond Burger. They are tasty and surprisingly packed with 4 grams of protein and 20 vitamins and minerals including Zinc, B12, D, E, B6, and A, per serving. Made from 100% plant-based ingredients, the new line of Cheese Balls are available in four flavors: Chedda, Jalapeno Chedda, Garlic Parmesan, and Bacon Chedda. They are also non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, and soy- and -transfat- free, and come in 3oz or 1.5oz snack size bags.
Look out for these snacks coming to a store near you and on the Outstanding Foods online shop.
For more great plant-based recommendations, visit The Beet's product reviews.