Vegan Food News of the Week: Olive Oil Cheeses, Sunflower Milk, and More

It seems that every week in the world of vegan food news is more exciting than the last, and this week is no exception. Quarter-pound vegan steakhouse burgers are coming in hot from MorningStar Farms and classic rice brand, Ben’s Original, is getting into the plant-based meal game with a new product line.

Plus, several companies are continuing to prove that dairy does not need to come from cows with innovative products such as sunflower milk and olive oil cheese. Read on for more. 

1Steakhouse vegan burgers from MorningStar Farms

If a quarter-pounder is what you’re after, Kellogg’s-owned MorningStar Farms has got you covered with its new Steakhouse Style Burger.

The burger is designed to appeal to traditional meat eaters, who constitute a significant portion of new plant-based protein consumers. Prepared to offer a texture and taste similar to meat, the burger provides various cooking options and takes less than five minutes to prepare. 

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“We know shoppers have been seeking a premium plant-based burger option—something that’s already seasoned and truly tastes like meat, but with prep simple enough to fit their busy lifestyles,” Joe Beauprez, Senior Director of Marketing, Frozen Foods, at MorningStar Farms said in a statement.

“The Steakhouse Style Burger is easy to prep, easy to cook, and deliciously easy to enjoy,” he added.

The Steakhouse Style Burger—which contains 42 percent less fat than a regular cooked ground beef patty and 21 grams of protein per serving—is now available in retailers such as Walmart, Publix, and Target, at a suggested retail price of $9.19 for a pack of four quarter-pound burgers.

2Ben’s Original goes beyond rice

This week, classic rice brand Ben’s Original unveiled a new line: Ben’s Original 10 Medley, which features four flavors of meals, each with a mix of 10 grains, vegetables, legumes, and herbs. 

Packaged in a ready-to-heat pouch, the product is aimed at consumers looking for convenient, nutrient-dense meal options and is available in four flavors: Chinese Style Five Spice, Smoky Southwest, Caribbean Style, and Tomato & Herbs. 

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Ready in just 90 seconds in the microwave, the dishes were designed to support a balanced diet and good gut health. They can be enjoyed on their own, added to bolster meals, or used to revamp leftovers. 

“Understanding growing consumer interest in gut health and the impact a healthy gut has on physical and mental well-being, we knew there was a need for a nutrient-dense innovation,” Angie Madigan, Vice President of Marketing at parent company Mars Food & Nutrition North America, said in a statement. 

“Our Ben’s Original team is thrilled to provide consumers with another simple and delicious way to get more plant protein and fiber in their diets through our new Ben’s Original 10 Medley product,” Madigan said.

To highlight the versatility of Ben’s Original 10 Medley, the company is collaborating with James Beard Award nominee Chef Shenarri Freeman, who is well-known for her vegan soul food dishes at NYC eatery Cadence and her new California hotspot Ubuntu. 

“I’m excited to help showcase Ben’s Original 10 Medley through unique, convenient, and balanced recipes,” Freeman said. “I grew up with Ben’s Original, and it’s been part of my family’s mealtimes for as long as I can remember.”

Freeman created four unique recipes using Ben’s Original 10 Medley to highlight the new meals, each of which contains at least 10 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein.

3Vegan cheeses made from olive oil

We love all kinds of cheese, as long as they’re not made from dairy, of course. From cashews to almonds to microbes from Yellowstone National Park (really!) throughout the years, there have been a wide variety of bases.

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But we were today years old when we learned that olive oil could serve as a base for melty and tangy vegan cheese thanks to a new product line from Good Planet Foods, created to target a wide consumer base that includes flexitarians. 

Offering a range of formats such as blocks, cubes, and shreds, Good Planet’s olive oil cheeses come in multiple flavors, including Italian-Style Mozzarella, Spicy Monterey Jack, and Greek-Style Feta. 

“With the launch of our Olive Oil Cheese platform, Good Planet is reimagining cheese with a heart-healthy product that has a phenomenal flavor and a texture that everyone, even dairy eaters, will enjoy,” Bart Adlam, Co-CEO of Good Planet Foods, said in a statement. 

The olive oil cheeses offer a healthier alternative to many vegan cheeses, which often contain higher levels of saturated fats due to the use of coconut oil. Good Planet’s olive oil cheese features the heart health benefits of unsaturated fats found in olive oil and is crafted with herbs and vegetables. 

“We are thrilled to bring the world’s first olive oil cheese to the market,” David Israel, Founder & Co-CEO of Good Planet Foods, said in a statement. 

The product line is set to appear on the shelves of Sprouts stores nationwide this month and will expand to Whole Foods and other retailers in the fall. 

4More vegan cheeses from Miyoko’s Creamery

While its namesake, Miyoko Schinner, is no longer with the company, Miyoko’s Creamery is moving ahead with the launch of new products. This week, it announced a new line of spreadable vegan cheeses. 

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The new Plant Milk Cheese Spreads are crafted from organic cultured cashew milk and incorporate traditional cheesemaking techniques and are available in four flavors Classic Chive, Garlic Herb, Roadhouse Cheddar, and Sundried Tomato. Each flavor aims to offer versatility for consumers, suitable for spreading on crackers or incorporating into a variety of dishes

“We are thrilled to announce the Plant Milk Cheese Spreads as the newest addition to Miyoko’s product line,” Rebecca Infusino, Chief Customer Officer at Miyoko’s Creamery, said in a statement. 

“As Americans continue to actively look for ways to reduce meat and dairy consumption, the spreads are a perfect next step in our product development,” Infusino said. 

Miyoko’s Creamery continues its rapid expansion, growing its retail presence to more than 25,000 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, Kroger, Stop & Shop, Safeway, Sprouts, Walmart, and Wegmans. 

The Plant Milk Cheese Spreads will retail for $6.49 for an 8-ounce container and will be available across various retail partners.

5Vegan milk made from sunflowers

Along with vegan cheese bases, there is a growing number of plants that can be used to create vegan milk—and sunflower seeds have now entered the chat. 

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Lattini Sunflower Milk uses organic sunflowers to make its unique milk in original, unsweetened, and chocolate flavors.  

“I wanted to create something that I personally enjoyed drinking,” Lattini co-founder Jared Lynch, who is sensitive to dairy, said in a statement. 

Since it launched in June 2022, the brand has scaled to more than 600 retailers, and by the end of 2024, it will be available in over 500 new locations. 

Retailers include Sprouts Farmers Market, PCC Community Markets, Erewhon, Gelson’s Market, Nugget, Better Health, Festival Foods, Central Market, Wegmans, Mom’s Organic Market, and Amazon.

Not only is the sunflower milk allergen-free, but it also boasts a range of vitamins and minerals, surpassing dairy milk and other plant-based alternatives like almond and oat milk. 

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“We’re excited to see Lattini gaining traction in new retailers and with consumers,” Nicholas Romano, one of Lattini’s co-founders, said in a statement. “Once we knew we had the nutrition and sustainability locked down, we wanted to be sure the taste was great, too.”

Lattini’s sunflower milk aims to meet three key consumer demands: taste, health benefits, and environmental sustainability. And if it wasn’t apparent already, cows are absolutely not necessary for dairy-making.

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