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The year of plant-based protein at restaurants

Restaurant chains large and small experimented with non-animal substitutes for meat and dairy

The past year has seen dozens of new substitutes for meat and dairy introduced across the country. Some chains, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, developed their own. Others went with brands that have established themselves over the past few years such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, while others worked with newer entrants into the foodservice space such as Field Roast, Meatless Farm, and Hungry Planet, and others still turned to legacy brands such as Dr. Praeger’s and Gardein.

In the dairy substitute realm, oat milk was the stand-out favorite, both in coffee drinks and frozen desserts, and Just Foods dominated the market for egg substitutes.

At the National Restaurant Show in Chicago this May, the floor had an overwhelming selection of plant-based substitutes for meat and dairy, as well as for fish and other seafood, as well as some fungus-based proteins made from mushrooms.

How many of the new brands will survive is an open question, but plenty of them succeeded in landing on menus in 2022.

Take a look at some of them.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

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