With new vegan food companies and products rolling out all the time, there’s no better time than now to go vegan. I attended Plant Based World Expo in New York City this week, and I got to try dozens of exciting new vegan meats, cheeses, and other delicious products.
The star product category of the day was definitely chicken. I tried fried chicken, chicken nuggets, chicken patties, and even chicken and waffles. There was a disappointing lack of vegan mac and cheese and desserts at the event, which are two of my favorite food groups — but still, I left very full.
With only so much stomach space, I tried to focus on trying products that were new to the market (and new to me), and sadly had to pass by classic vegan brands that I’ve tried before, but can guarantee are generally fantastic, such as BeLeaf Vegan, Gardein, Violife, Lightlife, Upton's Naturals, and Field Roast.
Without further ado, here are my eight favorite brands and products that I got to sample at Plant Based World Expo, in no particular order.
I started off the day with Future Farm’s vegan chicken and waffles, and stopped by again later for a vegan tuna makizushi roll. The chicken was particularly satisfying, thanks to a crispy coating and meaty texture. The Brazil-based vegan company is new to the U.S., and Future Farm’s black-and-white booth was hopping all day long, with a number of employees attracting attention by their matching cow-printed outfits.
Miyoko’s liquid Vegan Pizza Mozzarella
Miyoko’s makes a variety of delish vegan dairy products, and the star of the brand’s booth at the expo was the new liquid Vegan Pizza Mozzarella, which employees were using to make pizza for guests. At the expo, Green Matters spoke with Miyoko’s founder Miyoko Schinner, who gave us the inside scoop on the new mozzarella, and exclusively revealed what the brand’s next product will be — you can read our interview with Miyoko Schinner here.
Woman-owned business Plant Perks makes a variety of “elevated Cheeze Spreads and Dips,” including French Onion Dip and Buffalo Blue Dip. I tried Plant Perks’ Garlic & Herb Cheeze Spread and was blown away by how creamy it was. Plus, Plant Perks’ products include probiotics, they are approved for those on keto and paleo diets (in addition to vegan diets, of course), and the products are all made with fair-trade cashews.
VFC Foods’ booth at the Plant Based World Expo was not only attention-grabbing because it was one of the biggest booths at the event. What really got people's attention were the TV screens with a loop of footage playing, including a few scenes of chickens living in the horrible conditions in factory farms, where most meat comes from.
VFC makes chick*n fillets, popcorn chick*n, and chick*n bites, and the bite sample I tried was perfectly crispy and flavorful. The U.K.-based brand is currently preparing for a U.S. launch, and I'll definitely be a customer.
Somehow, Whoa Dough figured out how to make shelf stable, vegan, gluten-free bars that taste like soft, fresh, raw cookie dough — with healthy ingredients like oat flour and chickpea flour, as well as sweet ones like chocolate chips and brown sugar. And whoa, they are melt-in-your-mouth good. Flavors include Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, and Brownie Batter — and you can even toss them in the oven to make cookies.
Seed Ranch Flavor’s Better Forking Flavor Mac & Cheese
Seed Ranch Flavor wins the award for best food packaging at the expo, at least as far as I saw. The brand is known for its hot sauces, and recently rolled out a boxed vegan mac and cheese called Better Forking Flavor. Like most other boxed mac and cheeses, this one comes in a recyclable cardboard box — but what’s unique was the fact that the inner pouch containing the cheese mix is completely plastic-free and compostable. And for a boxed mac, it was pretty darn tasty.
When you see Beyond Chicken… you try it. While I do prefer my tenders a bit crispier, Beyond Meat’s very-hyped chicken still did not disappoint, and I’ll definitely be buying these again.
Treeline Cheese’s Shreds and Goat Cheese
I’m a big fan of Treeline Cheese’s Soft French-Style Cheeses, and was surprised to see so many other offerings from the brand at the expo. I tried a quesadilla made with Treeline’s Dairy-Free Cheddar Shreds, as well as a cracker topped with pomegranate seeds, microgreens, and and Dairy-Free Original Goat Cheese, both of which had really impressive flavors and textures.