Vegan Food News of the Week: Kevin Hart’s Drive-Thru, Kewpie Mayo and More

It seems like every week the news in the vegan food world is more exciting than the last and this week is no exception. Ever wanted something crunchy and cheesy but without the icky dairy? You can now get that snack at Sam’s Club thanks to Pitos nationwide. What about a vegetarian version of Kewpie Mayo? Or maybe you have a specific craving for a vegan burger imagined by comedian Kevin Hart and you don’t want to leave your car to get it? Read on for more.

1Dairy-Free Cheesy Puffs

Snack brand Peatos is on a mission to take on Fritos Lay with vegan versions of all our favorite crunchy snacks like Cheetos and Fanyun. The company decided to go completely plant-based last year and has been better for it, releasing fun flavors and teaming up with new retail partners.

New this month is a partnership with bulk-buy chain Sam’s Club that is now stocking the company’s new flavors in 500 stores nationwide.

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“We are excited that 2023 is proving Pitos to be one of the fastest growing snack brands in the country,” Pitos founder Nick Desai said in a statement. “In the first quarter alone, we acquired 6,000 new points of distribution, and expanded our existing line of award-winning offerings with the launch of Peatos Puffs in two bold new varieties.”

Last month, Pitos expanded its product line with two flavors, Crunchy Fiery Lime Puffs and Crunchy Cheese-less Puffs, and Sam’s Club customers will find the latter variety in 9-ounce packs.

“Now, as we expand into Sam’s Clubs nationwide, more customers will be introduced to the same classic fun, delicious promise that America grew up on, but without all the scary artificial ingredients and with the convenience of better. You plant-based nutrition,” said Desai.

2Kewpie Vegan Mayo

When it comes to vegan mayonnaise, it’s safe to say we have plenty of options—but never say more, especially when it’s a tangy, indulgent take on a Japanese staple.

Q&B Foods has been making traditional Kewpie mayonnaise for over 100 years but this version is made with egg yolks making it a no-go for plant eaters. However, the company has just launched a Kewpie Vegan Mayo dressing and spread.

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“Q&B is proud to introduce our vegan mayo dressings and spreads, which represent our commitment to providing delicious and plant-based options for consumers with diverse dietary needs,” Jerry Shepherd, president of Q&B Foods, said in a statement.

Shepherd said, “We believe this new product, certified by The Plant Based Foods Association, will not only meet our customers’ expectations, but we look forward to sharing it with the world.

We’re excited to use this vegan kewpie mayo for all kinds of things, like this tofu sushi sandwich, dressing, and the recently viral vegan salmon rice recipe.

3Meatless pepperoni for your pizza

Vegan meat brand Before the Butcher unveiled its new pepperoni, and it’s already received a National Restaurant Association (NRA) Food and Beverage Award ahead of the big NRA trade show in Chicago later this month.

The new pepperoni will be made with pea protein, radish extract, paprika and other spices to match the flavor profile of its pork-based counterpart.

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“Our new plant-based pepperoni delivers an amazing taste experience that mimics real pepperoni so well, it will fool even the most sophisticated palate,” Danny O’Malley, founder and president of Before the Butcher, said in a statement.

“We understand that consumers are looking for tastier, healthier and more sustainable alternatives to animal protein,” O’Malley said. “That’s why we’re thrilled to offer a product that fits the needs of this market and delivers a great taste without compromise.”

Your move, Domino’s and Pizza Hut.

4Matthew Kenny’s new wellness brand

When nutrition is needed, plant-based chef and entrepreneur Matthew Kenny introduced the antidote. Known as “Tidot,” Kenny co-created the brand with Amir Marashi, MD, to bring health-promoting foods to consumers in a new way.

“Antidote proves that powerful functional foods can taste great,” Kenney said in a statement. “After decades spent perfecting the taste of plant-based cuisine, this organic wellness collection showcases the best of functional eating.”

The lineup here is based on mushroom-based, nutrient-dense, innovative proteins—the three top trends of 2023.

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And these trends translate perfectly into snacks like sprouted nut mixes (think pizza nuts and salt and vinegar trail mix but also chocolate-covered nuts and cashews); Nut butters sprouted from peanuts, almonds and sunflower varieties; With nutrient-boosting functional powders to fuel workouts, boost immunity and more.

5Via Vegan Drive by Kevin Hart

Comedian Kevin Hart’s vegetarian fast-food chain Hart House is opening a new location on May 23 on Sunset Boulevard in LA. A preview event for the location was held earlier this week, including games of mini golf, double-dutch, cocktails (made with Hart’s Gran Coramino Tequila) and plenty of celebrity guests.

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Who came to support Hart’s vegan initiative? TikTok’s favorite food reviewer Keith Lee, film director Tim Story, chef and television star Naisha Arrington, author and comedian Fortune Feemster, stand-up comedian Mohammad Amer and many more.

Once open, the location will be the third Hart House, following an outpost in Westchester and Monrovia.

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Ultimately, Hart wants his vegan fast-food concept—which offers everything from burgers to fries to shakes and comfort food beyond—to be as ubiquitous as McDonald’s or Burger King but with food that helps people thrive.

“I am [wanted] to create a plant-based fast-food chain,” Hart said in an episode The Late Late Show with James Corden Last year. “Really embrace the current generation … and put that alternative into the world of fast-food places that we’ve come to love today.”

And with the upcoming position, Hart is making a lot of progress toward that goal. That’s because the Hollywood location occupies a shuttered McDonald’s and comes complete with a drive-thru.

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