In recent years, brands such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have raised the profile – and expectations – of plant-based proteins. Big national brands aren’t the only producers offering these quality options, however; just ask the entrepreneurs behind these two Missouri-based companies.
In 2004, siblings Jody and Todd Boyman began experimenting with plant-based proteins. Their vision eventually evolved into Match Meats, a St. Louis-based vegan-friendly retail line for home cooks. The company was driven by the Boymans’ desire to offer consumers an alternative to meat for health, lifestyle and environmental reasons. “We saw early on that some of the biggest challenges on the planet can be solved by providing people with the foods that they love, but made entirely with plants,” Todd says. “And when you do that, you start bending the curve on human and planetary health.” Fast-forward 15 years and the Boymans still operate Match, which is currently exclusively sold at Dierbergs Markets in St. Louis – although that’s about to change. In 2017, they unveiled the food-service arm of the business, Hungry Planet, and in 2020, Match products will be more widely available across the U.S. under that brand. Its core product line includes plant-based replacements for beef, pork, chicken, crab, Italian sausage and chorizo, and like many modern plant-based proteins, they are mostly sold ground, making them malleable. Soon, Hungry Planet will also debut its plant-based turkey, lamb and breakfast sausage. “If people aren’t told that it’s plant-based before they eat it, they have no idea that it’s not conventional meat – it’s just delicious food,” Todd says.
Hungry Planet, hungryplanet.us
For more than a decade, Jake Herren ate a pescatarian diet. Earlier this year, he committed to a fully vegan diet, but he was tired of eating the overly processed meat-free products he found at the grocery store. He set to work developing his own fresh alternatives, and today, Herren sells four vegan-friendly products – burger patties, taco meat, breakfast sausage and Italian sausage – made with a blend of 10 familiar ingredients. Under the name Jake’s Burgers, he supplies Mama Jean’s Natural Market in Springfield, Missouri, for retail, while chefs use his products at Druff’s, Gailey’s Breakfast Cafe and more.
Jake's Burgers, facebook.com/jakesveganburgers