Food Replacements and Alternative Proteins

Everyday we gain more knowledge about what’s in our food and how it makes us feel. With current spikes in food allergies and intolerances, plus the growing awareness of how our food impacts our environment, many people are looking to food startups for alternatives to the things we’ve all grown up eating. CBInsights recently showcased a number of leading food startups in the Food Replacement market that are paving the way for investment and creating a path to scalability for alternative foods. For those interested in trying these food replacements, here are some companies creating and selling them right here in Boston and across Massachusetts.


Dairy-Free Milk, Cheese & Ice Cream

Nutty Life | Arlington
When Caroline discovered that commercial almond milks had the same chemical used to de-ice airplanes, she was done with it. She makes a cashew and almond milks in a variety of flavors, all with whole foods – no gums or chemicals. She delivers to Boston and just opened a shop in Arlington with two other local treat companies.

FoMu | Boston, Allston, Jamaica Plain
When Deena & Hin decided to open an ice cream shop, they learned that starting with dairy-free bases gave them more freedom without preservatives and emulsifiers. Food-focused and earth-inspired are the themes of everything they do, from their flavors to their artwork. And people are getting behind it! Their ice creams quickly became popular with vegan restaurants and families who had children with dairy allergies. They now have 3 storefronts, a pop-up shop (with another on the way!) and can be found in a number of retail stores and restaurants.

Fauxmaggio | Malden
Dan’s lifestyle of eating meats and cheeses -- paired with wine -- started to take a toll on his health. Rather than turn to medications prescribed by his doctor, he adopted a 100% plant-based vegan diet. Combined with yoga, he says he felt 100% better. His passion is to share the wealth and introduce healthful foods to people so they can also enjoy the health benefits. He also makes seed-based crackers for a gluten-free alternative.


Meat Substitutes

The Jackfruit Company | Boston
One Jackfruit tree can produce 2-3 tons of fruit each year. When Annie Ryu saw that much of this fruit was going to waste, she started The Jackfruit Company to turn this lost resource into income and opportunity for farmers, and a delicious nutritious food for the rest of us! Jackfruit shreds very similarly to beef, making it an awesome meat substitute in stirfrys, tacos, soups and a number of other dishes.


Insect Proteins

Six Foods | Formerly in Boston, now in SF
Because six legs are better than four. Laura was an on-and-off vegetarian her whole life, until a caterpillar snack in Tanzania inspired her to research bugs as a source of food. Six Foods now makes 4 flavors of “Chirps,” cricket chips with 20 grams of protein per bag. The company is on a mission to create products that push the insect protein movement forward and make this healthy, sustainable food a cornerstone of our diet.

Also the “About Us” video on their site is a riot.


Gluten Free Baked Goods

Something Sweet Without The Wheat | Woburn & Arlington
A long family history of gluten and dairy allergies inspired sisters Christine and Sandy to found their bake shops in Woburn and Arlington. They make wheat-free and dairy-free versions of the breads and baked goods they grew up eating, because they believe everyone deserves to enjoy these sweet treats. (P.S. - they deliver!)


Violette | Cambridge
The company hand-mills with alternative flours and uses the finest ingredients to make breads and baked goods that aren’t just good for gluten-free, but are just plain good.

Since Violette’s reopening, they’ve developed a Buying Club to address the costly issue of making good gluten-free bread. I have it on good authority that their gluten free bread is awesome (quote: “Their challah is the dopest.”) and they’re committed to keeping it that way.To do this comes at a significant price, both with cost of ingredients and additional labor costs. In order to continue making quality bread, they ask their customers to support them by also buying pastries they are able to make money on (you can read more here). There is a significant hurdle for those who want to enter this market, and many other food replacement markets, with quality products. Not only does this mean there is a lot of room for innovation, but also a need for consumers to support those doing it the right way whenever possible.


More bakeries that offer gluten-free baked goods*:

Veggie Galaxy

Annie’s Gluten Free Bakery (click for list of retailers you can find them in)

Flour Bakery & Cafe

*many of these bakeries offer gluten-free options, but are not gluten free kitchens and may not be suitable for people with extreme allergies.