The Plant-based Impossible Burger has a New Gluten-Free Recipe

As the battle of the plant-based burgers continues, one of the front runners the Impossible Burger is introducing a new formulation to cater to more eaters with dietary restrictions.

The veggie burger's new recipe is now gluten-free after the company decided to switch out the wheat protein for a soy protein concentrate. The patty also has no animal hormones or antibiotics either, along with less salt.

The Impossible Burger by Impossible Foods is a plant-based burger that debuted in 2016. It looks so much like the traditional beef burger that it even bleeds.

It has been quickly added to the menus of restaurants across the country, including White Castle.

Although the company's previous formulation was a hit with the masses, including non-vegetarians and vegans, the company decided to change the recipe for a few reasons.

"Impossible Burger fans told us loud and clear they wanted a gluten-free burger that was at least as nutritious as meat from animals,” said David Lee, COO and CFO of Impossible Foods in a statement. "Our new product delivers all the taste meat lovers crave — without compromise to nutrition or the planet."

Not only did the company listen to feedback from the customers, but the new recipe makes the product more adaptable and can be substituted for ground meat. The former patty, on the other hand, was intended for mainly flat-top cooking.

The new recipe Impossible Burger will be available for retail later this year.

Read more about Impossible Foods latest change at "Food Dive."

As we said, veggie-burger companies have been battling it out to capture more of the market share. According to recent data from Nielsen, the sales in the plant-based market spiked by 20 percent over the last year.

We recently sat down with a competitor of Impossible Foods to discuss why plant-based foods have become so popular. Listen to the episode of The Barron Report below where Host Paul Barron talks with Ethan Brown, the CEO of Beyond Meat to learn more.

Your Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Questions Answered

The off-premise paradigm shift continues to force restaurant operators to change their operations or risk being left behind. Erle Dardick, a foodservice takeout, delivery, and catering expert and CEO and Founder of Monkey Group, and Valerie Killifer, editor of Catering Insights both know a thing or two about helping multi-unit restaurant executives create successful off-premise revenue channels and have been sharing their knowledge in The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show podcast. The idea is to provide you, the operator, with strategies and insights that will help you leverage your brand and make your off-premise initiatives smart, fast, and profitable. As a restaurant operator, if you have not listened to The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, then you are missing out on the only podcast that is tackling the many questions and challenges in the off-premise space.

We are nearing the end of the first season, so in this episode, we decided to answer some of your questions. From food safety issues in the delivery channel to social media marketing, we cover the gambit of the most significant problems facing operators today.

Be sure to stay tuned for the next season, and if you have questions for Erle or Valerie, please reach out to us at producer@foodabletv.com!

SHOW NOTES

26:48 - Question 5: What will impact the future of your off-premise business more, automation or AI?

36:35 - Question 6: What is the biggest challenge to growing takeout and delivery sales?

39:06 - Question 7: How does takeout fit into off-premise and how can it best serve the customer?

50:27 - Question 8: Who are my biggest competitors in off-premise?

00:42 - Welcoming Paul Barron, CEO to the show.

01:19 - Question 1: When it comes to delivery, how do you protect your business from a food safety issue?

07:22 - Question 2: Is there a way to reduce the costs of these third-party services.

17:42 - Question 3: Do you trust Facebook or Linkedin as a real catering marketing solution

21:25 - Question 4: Should we incorporate a pick-up counter in our fine dining restaurant? Take out is
exceeding 11% of sales.


Breakfast Chain First Watch Opens Fast Casual Concept in Nashville

The rapidly growing casual dining chain First Watch is testing a fast casual concept with a location in Nashville, Tennessee.

The new restaurant named Sun & Fork serves breakfast all day and is catering to the on-the-go millennials in the area.

“With Sun & Fork, we’ve created a restaurant for Vanderbilt [University] students and staff, the surrounding medical community and other local area businesses and residents to enjoy those healthy options and other First Watch favorites,” said Chris Tomasso, First Watch CEO.

First Watch bought Bread & Co, a bakery chain back in 2014 and has transformed former location of the bakery in Nashville to be the home of the new Sun & Fork concept.

The menu features many trendy breakfast food items like avocado toast, A.M. superfood bowls, and quinoa bowls. There are also build-your-own bowls, breakfast burritos, grab-and-go juices, and sandwiches like the "Elevated Egg" sandwich.

For those tight for time, the restaurant offers online ordering through its website.

So will First Watch expand this concept and attempt to also conquer the fast casual breakfast market?

It's too early to tell, but it's certainly a possibility.

“It’s our first go at operating a fast-casual First Watch concept like this, and it’ll be a great learning experience for us,” said Eleni Pierce, public relations and communications manager at First Watch. “There is absolutely potential in the future that we may expand into other markets. But we’ll see.”

There are now over 290 First Watch restaurants. In 2012, Consumer Reports named First Watch one of the top nine chain restaurants in the U.S., according to a survey of 48,000 diners.

The Florida-based company also owns 55 The Egg & I restaurants across the country.

Read more about the new Sun & Fork restaurant at "The Herald Tribune" now.

Speaking of emerging brands, don’t miss this recent episode of The Barron Report, where Host Paul Barron outlines the brands killin’ in today’s market and why they have that X-factor.

Will Thrive Market Become Amazon's Biggest Competitor in the Organic Food Space?

The E-commerce giant Amazon made its plans known to conquer the organic food space about a year ago when it acquired Whole Foods.

While the tech giant was working to revive the organic grocery chain, Thrive Market, the online grocery store specializing in natural and organic products, was quietly and rapidly expanding across the country.

Now, Thrive Market has expanded with new categories and is offering membership perks to compete with Amazon.

Customers pay $5 a month to be a Thrive member and are given access to a marketplace of all-natural foods, beverages, wines, supplements and medicines at a discount, ranging from 25 to 50 percent off. Thrive offers free two-day shipping too.

So what does Thrive Market offer that Amazon doesn't?

It's all about the products and how they are sourced.

“Amazon buying Whole Foods has created a big opportunity for us,” said Nick Green, the co-founder and CEO of Thrive Market. “Whole Foods has been the standard bearer for natural foods and organic products, but the challenge it has had is that many people don’t live near one, and many people can’t afford it. When you think about the Amazonification of Whole Foods, Amazon bought it for the real estate, and it’s tried to make it more accessible for everyone. That means you’re going to see different products on the shelves.”

Thrive Market won't be losing sight of its standards. All products on the marketplace are ethically sourced and non-GMO, along with other requirements.

“Already, Whole Foods shelves have Honey Nut Cheerios and Amazon Echos,” said Green.

Although Amazon has introduced products like these to the Whole Foods stores, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey recently said that the chain will be keeping niche products on the shelves that aren't found at common grocery stores.

“Not only are we not decreasing local foods, we’re increasing them," said Mackey to "Well + Good" in November.

But Amazon has lofty plans for Whole Foods and it is bound to change what products the chain carries.

“Amazon doesn’t want Whole Foods to be a top-five regional or specialty grocer,” said Cooper Smith, principal analyst at Gartner L2 to "Digiday." “It wants it to be a top-five national grocery chain. That’s going to impact the products you see being carried. National brands are hitting the shelves and are in talks whereas they might not have gotten a foot in before.”

According to Green, Thrive Market grew its 2018 revenue by 50 percent compared to the year prior.

See what else Thrive plans to do in the next year to become Whole Foods' biggest competitor at "Digiay" now.

But Amazon isn’t just going after the on-the-go consumer with its grocery deliveries, its cashier-less Amazon Go stores are going to pop-up across the country offering food options. Watch The Barron Report episode below to see how these stores will make an impact on restaurants, especially those in the QSR and fast casual segment.

How Naf Naf Grill Plans to Conquer the Middle-Eastern Fast Casual Food Space

The fast casual segment is no longer just reserved for Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Shake Shack.

The better-burger sector gets more saturated every day with multiple chains out there serving up burgers, fries and hot dogs like Smashburger, Five Guys, and Burgerfi.

There are even more pizza concepts for consumers to pick from like Mod Pizza, Blaze Pizza, PizzaRev, &pizza, Uncle Maddio's, and Pieology.

As more of these chains immerse the market, the more intriguing fast casual concepts serving rarer cuisines become.

Today's American foodies are on the lookout to try something new. Enter Middle Eastern cuisine.

The fast casual chain Naf Naf Grill is leading the way in this sector and is bringing Middle Eastern cuisine to the masses.

The menu consists of items like pita sandwiches, falafel, hummus, veggie feasts, and salads– all appealing to vegetarians and vegans.

Although these menu items are similar to those of the Mediterranean cuisine, Naf Naf plans to conquer the Middle-Eastern market in the U.S.

"There’s a lot of competition in the Mediterranean space. You won’t find all kinds of lettuce, feta cheese and olives in our concept. We are known for falafel, chicken shawarma and pita. These three menu items are made fresh in–house every day. Our goal is that consumers fall in love with the freshness, healthiness and flavors that they may not have tried before," said Paul Damico, who was named CEO of Naf Naf Grill in 2017 to "Forbes."

Naf Naf Grill has an aggressive growth plan and intends to achieve it by ramping up franchising in 2019.

In 2017, the company's sales spiked by 58 percent compared to the year before.

Read more about how the chain plans to expand rapidly at "Forbes" now.

Want to know Damico's best advice? We recently interviewed the Naf Naf Grill CEO and former president of Moe’s Southwest Grill to see what tips he had for up and coming operators. Sign up for Foodable+ to watch this video and get more exclusive content!