Americans are increasingly worried about how their food affects the environment, looking for new products to replace long-beloved favorites from brands such as Heinz and Kraft. About 55 percent of consumers now shop with sustainability at the top of their minds, so The Kraft Heinz Company has teamed up with TheNotCompany to give its portfolio a vegan makeover, starting with Kraft's classic Singles.

For months, the two companies have worked together to develop plant-based recipes for Kraft Heinz's beloved food products. This November, the companies will launch the NotCheese American Style Plant-Based Slices at 30 Giant supermarkets in Cleveland, Ohio. The first iteration of the dairy-free cheese slices will be available in American, provolone, and cheddar flavors. The product will be available for a limited time to test its popularity before expanding to retailers nationwide in 2023.

The vegan Kraft Singles contains a blend of coconut oil, water, modified corn starch, and chickpea protein to replicate the texture and nutrient content of the conventional Kraft cheese slices. The company revealed that the dairy-free Kraft Singles will be listed at an affordable price intended to cater to shoppers looking to incorporate plant-based foods without breaking their budget. The partnership is also working on a vegan version of Heinz's signature mayonnaise, slated to release in 2023 as well.

Kraft Goes Vegan

To create near-identical vegan Kraft slices, The Kraft Heinz Not Company used NotCo's proprietary artificial intelligence platform –– named Giuseppe –– which is designed to choose the best plant-based ingredients to replicate the taste and texture of animal products. With the innovative technology, the two companies can effectively determine the best plant-based recipe to reimagine traditionally dairy-filled products such as Kraft Singles.

By partnering with NotCo, The Kraft Heinz Company will be able to better expand its plant-based development with the AI-powered discovery platform. With the company's extensive industry knowledge and established brand portfolio, the two companies aim to reimagine the dairy industry, resulting in major changes in the American food system.

“The joint venture with NotCo is a critical step in the transformation of our product portfolio and a tremendous addition to our brand design-to-value capabilities,” Miguel Patricio, CEO of Kraft Heinz, said in a statement this February. “It helps deliver on our vision to offer more clean, green, and delicious products for consumers. We believe the technology that NotCo brings is revolutionizing the creation of delicious plant-based foods with simpler ingredients.”

So far, "Guiseppe" has helped NotCo create near-identical versions of milk, meat, and mayonnaise with ingredients such as coconut, cabbage, bamboo, beets, chickpeas, and pineapple. The company aims to motivate other major companies such as Heinz to implement plant-based ingredients as shoppers increasingly search for plant-based products.

“When we started NotCo, it was our goal to make our technology a catalyst for a more sustainable food system not only for us but for other brands and manufacturers who share the same ambition,” NotCo CEO and co-founder Matias Muchnick said in a statement in February.

NotCo Becomes a Major Vegan Player

Since launching in 2015, NotCo has reached a valuation of $1.5 billion following its series D funding round hosted last summer. The funding round included high-profile investors such as the musician Questlove, Formula 1 Racer Lewis Hamilton, and tennis champion Roger Federer. The company is also backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

This May, NotCo moved into the food service sector by teaming up with Shake Shack. The two companies launched the major fast-food chain's first-ever dairy-free milkshakes and frozen custard at 10 locations in South Florida and New York.

“We have been looking at the plant-based space for a while and are so excited to be partnering with an innovative food-tech leader such as NotCo,” Jeff Amoscato, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Menu Innovation at Shake Shack, said in a statement. “Non-dairy custard and shakes have been something our guests have wanted and we are looking forward to seeing where this test takes us.”

For more plant-based happenings, visit The Beet's News articles.

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