Farm Burger Rolls Out New Sustainable Catfish Sandwich

Farm Burger Blue Catfish sandwich |   Sara Hanna Photography

Farm Burger Blue Catfish sandwich | Sara Hanna Photography

Not only do we have more vegetarian consumers today, but there are also more flexitarians. These are eaters that only occasionally eat meat to make less of an environmental impact.

The plant-based movement has encouraged eaters to seek more alternative proteins. With that in mind, the fast casual chain Farm Burger is one of the restaurants to recently partner with the plant-based company Impossible Foods to offer the Impossible Burger, a veggie burger that even bleeds.

But the chain is also getting more creative with its menu options and is rolling out the Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish sandwich, a move to promote a more sustainable protein.

"Farm Burger carries the Impossible Burger in all 11 locations nationwide as a plant-based meat alternative for customers. We had been looking to incorporate seafood onto the menu for a while and wanted to craft a sandwich that would fit well with our menu and match our sustainable ethos. As we learned more about the Blue Catfish and the environmental issues associated with it, it seemed to meet all of our criteria: tasty, sustainable and thought-provoking," said Cameron Thompson, Farm Burger executive chef.

The sandwich, which was strategically launched right before Lent to cater to Fish Fridays, is topped with Farm Burger slaw and house-made pickled jalapeños. The catfish sandwich will be available at Farm Burger stores starting March 5th.

The Southern-based fast casual chain wanted to make sure the sandwich still fit in on the menu with the other items, so the chain took a culinary twist on a traditional catfish sandwich.

"Crispy catfish and slaw, to me, is a classic combination like peanut butter and jelly. The slaw is tossed in our signature FB sauce to add some Farm Burger flair to a classic pairing. We're rounding out the meal with Old Bay fries as a tribute to the Chesapeake region," said Thompson.

Read more about the new menu item at Farm Burger at "Forbes" now.

We visited Farm Burger for a past episode of Fast Casual Nation back in 2015. Watch the video below as Host Paul Barron sits down with George Frangos, owner and operator at Farm Burger to learn more about the up-and-coming brand. Prepare to drool as they showcase some of the most popular menu items.

Chipotle Launches New Mentorship Program for Start-Ups

10 years ago, Chipotle emerged as the darling of the fast casual segment. Other concepts in the segment were all striving to be the Chipotle of their category. But ever since Chipotle's food safety crisis back in 2015, the chain has been on a long road to recovery.

However, with the hire of former Taco Bell executive Brian Niccol and new menu additions, the restaurant's stock has gradually climbed in the last year. Analyst Andy Barish recently predicted that investing in the chain is a smart move in 2019.

The chain has announced its latest move to change the future of food, it will be partnering with the non-profit Uncharted to launch the Chipotle Aluminaries Project, a program that will help food start-ups grow.

"Since our founding, Chipotle has been committed to cultivating a better world, and we believe the best way to lead the future of food is to inspire others to come along with us on the journey and be a force for good in our industry," said Brian Niccol, Chipotle CEO in a statement.

Eight food companies have been selected based on innovation.

Some of the start-ups include-

American Ostrich Farms: an ostrich meat producer. This meat makes much less of an ecological impact.

Grubtubs Inc.: a company that makes animal feed made from food waste.

Sophie's Kitchen Plant-Based Seafood: a plant-based seafood producer.

AgVoice: a mobile voice-interaction service designed for food and agriculture professionals that helps them tracks animal and plant production.

The eight companies selected to participate will attend a 5-day boot camp where they will get insights and advice from industry leaders like some Chipotle executives and the entrepreneur Kimbal Musk.

The participants will also be meeting with their mentors one-on-one to get investor training and guidance on their business.

"At Chipotle, we feel we have a responsibility and opportunity to forge a path to a more sustainable food future," said Caitlin Leibert, Chipotle's Director of Sustainability.

Read more about the new program at "Forbes" now.

On a recent episode of The Barron Report, Host Paul Barron explains why he thinks the chain's recent introduction of its Lifestyle Bowls was a slamdunk. Watch the video below to learn more about Chipotle's latest move to not only appeal to health-conscious eaters but to reclaim its top spot in the fast casual market.

Impossible Foods to Roll Out Plant-Based Steak

Impossible Foods, one of the leading companies in the plant-based market, isn't only going to sell its popular veggie-burger. Instead, the company is also working on developing a plant-based steak product, according to a recent interview with Impossible Foods' CEO Patrick Brown.

Brown said that a veggie steak that even meateaters love could be "the most impactful thing" the company does.

"[Steak] has huge symbolic value,” said Brown to "The Spoon." "If we can make an awesomely delicious world-class steak ... that will be very disruptive not just to the beef industry, but to other sectors of the meat industry."

However, developing a steak formula isn't easy. A steak marbling and texture is difficult to replicate without using any animal products at all.

Just last week, Impossible Foods announced that its Impossible Burger will have a new recipe that is gluten-free after the company decided to switch out the wheat protein for a soy protein concentrate. The new patty also has no animal hormones or antibiotics either, along with less salt. The new burger patty also has the consistency to be used as ground meat now, meaning it has multiple applications besides just being a veggie burger.

While Impossible Foods is experimenting with new products, it's Impossible Burger has become one of the most popular veggie burgers out there. It's vegan, yet it bleeds like a real burger. The company has focused on the restaurant market and White Castle now serves the Impossible Slider for $1.99.

The company's mission to offer an alternative to meat products, as it says on its website "using animals to make meat is a prehistoric and destructive technology."

Read more about Impossible Foods’ mission to launch a steak product at “Food Dive” now.

But the higher cost of plant-based burgers could be detouring consumers, especially meat eaters from selecting them as their protein option.

Impossible Foods' rival Beyond Burger has focused on retail and sells its plant-based burger for $5.99 for two patties at grocery stores. This is more than half the price for real beef burgers.

But Beyond Meat, which recently went public, has more of an expansive product line, which includes "chicken" strips, "beef" crumble, and "sausage"– all made out of plants, non-GMO soy, and pea protein.

We recently sat down with Ethan Brown, the CEO of Beyond Meat to discuss why plant-based foods have become so popular. Listen to the episode of The Barron Report below where Host Paul Barron talks to Brown about the future of the plant-based market and Beyond Meat's role in the movement.

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.

The Top 20 Plant-Based Chefs and Foodies

The consumer demand for plant-based menu items is at an all-time high. 

According to recent Foodable Labs data, there was a 129 percent spike in whole vegetable dishes on chef menus year over year.

The plant-based movement only continues to gain more momentum and this is thanks to chefs and foodie cooks presenting veggie-centric dishes that aren't only appealing to vegans and vegetarians. 

Not to mention, more and more meat-eaters have become flexitarians, where their diet is primarily plant-based but they occasionally eat meat.

Smoothie bowl with raw foods  |  Shutterstock

Smoothie bowl with raw foods | Shutterstock

So what chefs and foodies are getting the most social attention for their plant-based dishes? 

We pulled from Foodable Labs data to curate a list of the Top 20 Plant-based Chefs and Foodies based on their combined social Sentiment and Engagement score. 

Let's take a closer look at the top five vegan chefs and foodies dazzling taste buds with their plant-based dishes. 

No. 1 Matthew Kenney

This east coast celebrity chef and author has been a trailblazer in the industry with his vegan cuisine and opened his 15th vegan restaurant this last summer. 

After attending the French Culinary Institute (which is now known as the International Culinary Center,) he worked at multiple upscale restaurants in New York City where he rose through the ranks. 

He opened his first restaurant Matthew's in 1993 and it quickly received multiple accolades. Then in 2004, he opened his first vegan concept Pure Food and Wine. He later founded the PlantLab, (formerly known as The Matthew Kenney Academy) a raw vegan and plant-based focused culinary school.

Today Kenney continues to build his culinary empire. He now has 15 restaurants around the world with nine more in the works.

Kanu, his newest restaurant in Canada, serves plant-based dishes all day including the Butternut Squash Nachos with guacamole, salsa verde, lime crema, radish over blue corn chips and Heirloom Tomato & Zucchini Lasagna with sun-dried tomato marinara, macadamia ricotta, and pistachio pesto. 

No. 2 Angela Liddon

This blogger turned award-winning writer has built a plant-based recipe empire. 

She started her blog Oh She Glows back in 2008 when she was recovering from an eating disorder and wanted to share her journey of finding a healthy lifestyle.  

The blog and its unique recipes quickly garnered millions of online readers and this home chef has built the Oh She Glows blog into a vegan lifestyle brand. 

In 2014, Liddon published her first book "The Oh She Glows Cookbook," which was a "New York Times" Bestseller. 

Fast forward to today and the blog now has 1 million unique readers a month and features over 550 healthy plant-based recipes like the Instant Pt Cauliflower and Butternut Thai Curry and vegan 3-Ingredient Chia and Quinoa Flatbread.

No. 3 Chloe Coscarelli

This vegan chef started her own vegan lifestyle in 2004. This is when she realized that the options for vegan eaters were scarce, so she started on a mission to bring more plant-based dishes to the masses. 

She studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and went on to focus on plant-based nutrition with a certification from Cornell University's online program. 

But it was eight years ago when Coscarelli's culinary career blew up. This is when she appeared on the wildly popular baking competition TV show "Cupcake Wars" and was the first vegan to win a competition on television. 

After that, she published her first cookbook "Chloe's Kitchen" in 2012, then another cookbook "Chloe's Vegan Desserts in 2013" and "Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen" in 2014. 

She went on to open the fast-casual chain By Chloe, which there are five stores of now and she is no longer affiliated. In March of this year, she published another plant-based cookbook "Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan" which features recipes like the No-Huevos Rancheros, and Banaba Doughnuts with Maple Glaze. 

Want to see what other chefs and foodies made this list? Check out the video above and the full top 20 list below. 

  1. Matthew Kenney | Instagram | 192.15

  2. Angela Liddon | Instagram | 192.08

  3. Chloe Coscarelli | Instagram | 190.85

  4. Timothy Pakron | Instagram | 191.27

  5. David Lee | Instagram | 189.67

  6. Dana Shultz | Instagram | 189.37

  7. Ayindé Howell | Instagram | 189.02

  8. Horacio Rivadero | Instagram | 188.27

  9. Josef Centeno | Instagram | 186.08

  10. Chef Babette | Instagram | 186.07

  11. Todd Erickson | Website | 186.06

  12. Laura Oates | Instagram | 185.34

  13. Eddie Garza | Instagram | 185.27

  14. Gaz Oakley | Instagram | 185.02

  15. Maya Sozer | Instagram | 184.99

  16. Charlie Grippo| Instagram | 183.08

  17. Isa Chandra Moskowitz | Instagram | 181.49

  18. Doug McNish | Instagram | 180.91

  19. Tal Ronnen | Instagram | 180.55

  20. Richa Hingle | Instagram | 180.18