Top 10: Plant-based companies driving sustainable innovation

With plant-based diets focusing on foods better for the environment, Food Digital showcase innovative companies providing sustainable, vegan products

The plant-based diet focuses on foods primarily from plants, including fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. As well as eating fewer animals, the diet has been shown to be better for the environment than one that is heavy in meat and dairy.

With plant-based food continuing to be a popular and sustainable choice for diet, Food Digital considers some pioneering, as well as up-and-coming, food companies that create incredible products that are both healthy and good for the environment. These are companies that are also committed to the sustainability of their food products.

See how Food Digital showcases the ‘next generation’ of sustainable food here:

10: Lazy Vegan

With the tagline, “Chilling is the new activism,” Lazy Vegan is a company that prides itself on creating easy (or lazy) frozen ready meals that are equally nutritious and good for the planet. The company creates realistic expectations for cutting down on meat, with the idea that if people opted for plant-based food more often, the impact would be huge.

The company creates ‘Meals for 1’ or ‘Meals for 2’ that can be ready in as little as eight minutes. Sold in several countries in Europe, each meal is made from 100% natural, plant-based ingredients with plenty of protein. They are also free from preservatives, gluten and soy.

9: Riya's Original Recipe

A family-run business based in the UK, Riya’s Original Recipe was created when the family wanted to find a “better way” to create quick but tasty Indian-inspired dishes. Subsequently, the family created plant-based Indian food “from our table to yours.”

A range of lines are registered with the Vegan Society and all are suitable for Halal diets. Products are sold predominantly in the UK, with the company providing information on both products and recipe ideas on its website.

8: Candy Kittens

Born in London, UK, Candy Kittens are plant-based sweets with a vegan recipe that uses both sustainable packaging and ingredients. The confectionery is made with fruit juice that is free from palm oil and suitable for a wide range of diets.

Since starting in 2012, Candy Kittens has evolved into a 100% vegan brand that can now be found across the UK and the world. The company also prides itself on being carbon neutral as of 2021, and is also a certified B corporation.

7: Viv Era

Viv Era is a vegan company that prides itself on encouraging its customers to be more open-minded. The company has a range of products and recipe ideas that are all plant-based and vegan, with detailed information about ingredients.

With its recognisable branding and meatlike products such as the vegan steak, Viv Era products sold unprecedented numbers upon its launch in 2018. The company is one of the most loved and sought after plant meats among both vegans and non-vegans. It sells products in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, with over 100 products sold in 25 countries.

6: Alpro

Alpro was revolutionary in its decision to go 100% plant-based with products made with oats, nearly 40 years ago, whilst maintaining the quality of its products. Alpro products contain a source of calcium for the maintenance of bones, as well as being naturally low in fat.

The company has maintained its popularity despite plenty of alternative brands that have emerged after the rise of dairy-free products. It prides itself on offering a standard and subtle taste that does not interfere with the flavour of the consumer’s tea, coffee or cereal.

5: Violife

With more than 30 years of vegan product development and production experience, Violife is the world leader backed by the world’s largest plant based food transformation company, Upfield. It is a vegan-dedicated community based in Tessalonica, Greece, that has been operating since the 1990s.

Known mostly for its vegan cheese products, Violife products are free from allergens, nuts, GMOs, and preservatives, as well as enriched with Vitamin B12. Its products are varied, with a wide variety of flavours, as well as a wide functionality of the products being able to be melted, grilled, grated and more.

4: Amy’s Kitchen 

Amy’s Kitchen started as a family business in 1987 when a married couple were looking for good organic vegetarian food, before deciding to make their own. Founded in California and named after their daughter, the company created a savoury vegetable pot pie, which they made by hand and sold locally.

Since then, Amy’s Kitchen range has expanded to pastas, soups and many more products that are ideal for those who suffer with food allergies. The company recently announced a new generation of leadership, as well as the establishment of a new board of directors, with Paul Schiefer appointed President.

3: The Tofoo Company

In 2015, husband and wife duo and founders David and Lydia Knibbs decided to tackle the tofu gap in the market by creating a firm tofu product. The company’s Tofoo is made in Yorkshire, UK, with a traditional Japanese recipe using only 3 ingredients: water, soya beans and nigari, and is available in a wide range of flavours.

The company has since sold its products in supermarkets and partnered with We join forces with Mob Kitchen to make some delicious recipes, including tofu coated in crispy cornflour.

2: Oatly

Widely popular for its Oat Milk, Oatly is a company that pioneered ideas around the oat plant-based drink in the early 1990s that was in tune with the needs of both humans and the planet. The company is pressing forward with a mission to be even more sustainable and have stated that, by 2029, Oatly’s food system will give back to nature and communities where the company sources by restoring carbon, improving biodiversity, and boosting the income of farmers.

The company strives to produce the most sustainable, responsible products on the market and are always looking for ways to improve existing products. In March 2023, the company partnered with McDonalds in Austria to further support Oatly’s mission to convert new consumers from dairy to plant-based.

1: Beyond Meat

Beyond Meat makes plant-based products that are made with intention. The company combines expert innovation with high-quality, plant-based ingredients to deliver a juicy and meaty experience that consumers can ‘crave without compromise.’ Known for its good-quality burgers, the company delivers a good source of protein with no cholesterol. 

A peer-reviewed Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) conducted by the University of Michigan compared the environmental impact of the original Beyond Burger to a ¼ lb. U.S. beef burger. The results confirmed that producing a Beyond Burger uses significantly less water, land and energy, whilst generating fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions than a beef burger.

The company has also recently introduced a line of ready meals that are going to be for sale in supermarkets, which include meals like spaghetti bolognese and vegan curry.


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