It’s a trend that endures: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes and beans being transformed into an assortment of plant-based products, from meat replacements for burgers, sausages and ground meat to dairy alternatives for cheese, milks and yogurt. Plant-based eating is popular at all eating occasions, including the three squares, snacks and desserts. The list of plants-only foods is ever expanding, and consumers are taking note.
Here are some of our favorite plant-based foods you can find in your local grocery aisle.
Plant-based meal choices continue to expand. Known for their plant-derived, frozen pot pies, tamales and “meats” like Chik’n Strips, Alpha Foods has launched a line of frozen pizzas with dairy-free mozzarella and flavors including Supreme, with meatless sausage-style crumble and veggies; Buffalo Chik’n and BBQ Chik’n with meatless grilled Chik’n and sauces; and Classic Mozza, with dairy-free cheese and tomato sauce.
While most tortillas are made from cornmeal or white or wheat flour, Siete Grain Free Tortillas—found in the frozen aisle—are made with nutrient-rich almond, cashew and cassava flours. So, they’re vegan and free of gluten, dairy and soy. Siete also offers Grain Free Tortilla Chips, in a variety of flavors, expanding this healthy alternative into the snack aisle.
Enjoy making meatballs or meat lasagna? Or using seasoned ground meat in tacos and chili? Try Lightlife Plant-Based Ground, made from pea protein, with 20 grams of protein in a 4-ounce serving. Or, expand the meatless grilling options with Lightlife Plant-Based Smart Dogs, a tasty alternative to the all-American classic.
Pea protein is extracted from yellow peas. 20 grams (2 scoops) contains 15 grams of protein and 5 mg of iron.
Most pasta is already vegan, but there’s been an explosion of new gluten-free, plant-based varieties. Try the different options of pasta made with chickpeas (like Barilla Chickpea Rotini), red lentils, green lentils, quinoa, edamame, brown rice and black beans.
You know there’s an interest in plant-friendly spreads when well-known brands jump in the mix. Sales of plant-based spreads, dips, sour cream and sauces have grown 52 percent since 2018, according to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA). The latest: Country Crock Plant Butter, made with plant-based oils from olives, avocados and almonds, and certified by the PBFA.
Oat is the most recent alt-milk to take the nondairy category by storm in the U.S. (it’s already been growing in popularity in Europe over the past few years). A new addition this year: Chobani Oat, made with organic, gluten-free and non-GMO oats and fortified with vitamins A and C, plus calcium.
Plus: Oat milk comes from steel-cut oats or whole groats that are soaked in water, blended, and then strained with a cheesecloth or a special nut-milk bag.
It’s hard to imagine a vegan version of a rich and creamy french onion dip. But Simple Truth Organic Plant-Based French Onion Dip hits the mark with a soy- and dairy-free version made from butter beans; oats; coconut and sunflower oils; and spices.
According to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), dairy-free cheese has grown 19 percent in the U.S. this past year. Certified by the PBFA, Miyoko’s Creamery is at the forefront of crafting award-winning plant-based cheeses with nuts and legumes like Fresh Vegan Mozz (plus butter and spreads) that melts, slices and tastes like its dairy namesake.
Stroll down the frozen aisle, and you’ll see more and more plant-based options to satisfy a sweet tooth, including new Daiya Deliciously Dairy-Free Dessert Bars, made with coconut cream. Yummy flavors include Salted Caramel Swirl and Chocolate Fudge Crunch.
What is the Plant Based Foods Association? And what does their certification mean?
With 162 members and growing, the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) is working to spread the word on eating plant-based and to support the businesses that are part of the industry and movement.
Started in 2016, the PBFA is a collective of plant-based food companies and manufacturers, distributors and restaurant chains. Members work on issues such as public outreach and education, shopper marketing and data analytics, and public policy and practices on labeling restrictions and dietary guidelines at both the state and federal levels.
Last year, the association introduced a plant-based certification in partnership with NSF International (which certifies consumer goods for safety), to make it easy for consumers to choose a product made of ingredients derived from plants. Products that meet the standards feature a Certified Plant Based stamp on their packaging. The running list of certified products can be found at info.nsf.org/certified/cvv. Kroger is working with the PBFA in a number of stores on a test program to merchandise PBFA-certified products and raise awareness of mainstream shoppers on plant-based eating and where to find products in stores.