Thanks to a new, ground-breaking alliance, meatless Oscar Mayer hot dogs and dairy-free Kraft singles may soon be a reality. Kraft Heinz, a global consumer goods giant, has formed a joint venture with food-technology startup TheNotCompany (“NotCo”) to develop next-generation plant-based products in order to establish a more sustainable food system.
The Kraft Heinz Not Company will combine Kraft Heinz’s extensive industry knowledge, connections, and iconic brand portfolio with NotCo’s technologies, including its artificial intelligence-powered discovery platform for developing plant-based alternatives that mimic animal products on a molecular level. Kraft Heinz and NotCo will collaborate to produce co-branded goods at a faster speed and on a larger scale, potentially leading to big plant-based improvements in the global food chain.
“The joint venture with NotCo is a critical step in the transformation of our product portfolio and a tremendous addition to our brand design-to-value capabilities… It helps deliver on our vision to offer more clean, green, and delicious products for consumers. We believe the technology that NotCo brings is revolutionizing the creation of delicious plant-based foods with simpler ingredients,” stated Miguel Patricio, CEO of Kraft Heinz.
The Kraft Heinz Not Company will be based in Chicago, with R&D facilities in San Francisco. The joint venture’s overall purpose is to “reshape the food landscape and set a new standard for plant-based innovation.”
Kraft Heinz Looking To NotCo
NotCo, which was founded in Chile in 2015, analyzes the attributes of thousands of plants in a database and then produces unique component combinations to mimic the taste and feel of animal-based goods using their platform (dubbed “Giuseppe”). Until now, the company has released near-identical imitations of milk, beef, and mayonnaise produced with unusual ingredients including pineapple, coconut, cabbage, peas, bamboo, beets, and chickpeas.
NotCo has found widespread distribution of its goods such as NotMilk, NotMayo, and NotMeat in its own nation, thanks to a lengthy list of prominent investors, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. In Chile, prominent multinational chains such as Starbucks, Papa John’s, and Burger King sell the brand’s products. In 2020, NotCo launched in the United States as part of a Whole Foods retail agreement.
“When we started NotCo, it was our goal to make our technology a catalyst for a more sustainable food system not only for us, but for other brands and manufacturers who share the same ambition… Today is an exciting milestone for the plant-based industry and shows the power of technology’s role in driving mainstream adoption. We’re thrilled to partner with Kraft Heinz and their iconic brands and work hand-in-hand on building a more sustainable food system,” stated NotCo CEO and co-founder Matias Muchnick.
Kraft Heinz has already begun launching new plant-based versions of its popular goods abroad before announcing its collaborative agreement with NotCo. Last year, Kraft Heinz Australia introduced a vegan version of their popular Kraft Mac & Cheese. With rice flour pasta and a dairy-free sauce, the business created the new product as a “contemporary” spin on the conventional boxed dinner that is both gluten-free and vegan-certified. Kraft also changed the cooking directions for the new mac and cheese to recommend using soy milk instead of standard cow’s milk, all packaged in the same iconic blue box.
Kraft Heinz also produced a vegan version of its best-selling Philadelphia cream cheese earlier this year. The new vegan Philadelphia cream cheese, which is made with an oat and almond basis, is presently available at Tesco in the United Kingdom.
While The Kraft Heinz Not Company has yet to reveal which specific products from the Kraft Heinz portfolio it will reimagine, Oscar Mayer wieners, Lunchables, Kraft cheese singles, Velveeta, and Bagel Bites are some iconic meat- and cheese-heavy items that could benefit from a NotCo plant-based makeover.
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