The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Leonardo DiCaprio blames beef for the Amazon fires and more in August's top plant-based news stories.
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Kat has been writing about veganism, environment, and sustainability for five years. Their interests include over-analyzing the various socioeconomic forms of oppression, how that overlaps with veganism, and how the media in all of its forms reflects the current culture.

How is August already over?! With the eighth month of the year behind us, that leaves us with less than 60 days until Halloween (yay) and a short four months until the end of the year. It feels like it was March just yesterday.

Following the news of the Amazon being burned to make room for cattle grazing land, more countries are taking notice of meat’s impact on the planet. Jamie Oliver is hosting a vegetarian cooking show. And fast food chains are adding vegan options to the menus weekly. Here’s everything else that happened this August.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August


1. Leonardo DiCaprio: Eliminate Beef to Save the Amazon

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Beef is the driving force behind Amazon deforestation. | Getty

Academy Award winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio called for people to eat less beef to save the planet. Following the news cycle covering the Amazon fires, DiCaprio shared a post from nonprofit group The Rainforest Alliance.

“There have been 74,000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon since the beginning of this year—a staggering 84% increase over the same period last year,” the post reads before advising ways to take action. Donating to frontline response groups, educating others, and voting irresponsible elected officials out of office were listed, along with cutting out beef.

“Be a conscious consumer, taking care to support companies committed to responsible supply chains,” it continues. “Eliminate or reduce consumption of beef; cattle ranching is one of the primary drivers of Amazon deforestation.”

Check it out here.

2. KFC Sells Out of Vegan Chicken in 5 Hours

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Customers waited on line for up to two hours for KFC’s vegan chicken. | Coach Ryan Horton

Forget the tired chicken sandwich wars. KFC trialed vegan fried chicken at an Atlanta restaurant at the end of the month. The one-day-only event saw to a two-hour line down the block and cars double-looped around the building. According to KFC, “The test was so successful, guests purchased in five hours the amount of Beyond Fried Chicken KFC would normally sell on average of popcorn chicken in a week.” 

The “Beyond Fried Chicken” is made by California-based Beyond Meat. The food tech brand developed two vegan options for the trial: boneless wings and nuggets. It may roll out to additional locations based on customer feedback.

Check it out here.

3. Peru Passes Ban on Palm Oil Deforestation

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Peru will end palm oil deforestation by 2021.

Peru is committed to ending palm oil-driven deforestation by 2021. This makes Peru the second South American nation to pledge to make its palm oil production more sustainable. The country worked with the National Wildlife Federation, the largest private non-profit conservation education and advocacy organization in the U.S.

“This commitment is a momentous development for the people of Peru and the global effort to confront climate change. It underscores that we can feed the world without hurting biodiversity or clear-cutting tropical forests,”  said Kiryssa Kasprzyk, who led the National Wildlife Federation’s work in Peru, said in a statement.

Check out out here.

4. New Zealand Urges the Country to Eat Plant-Based

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health encouraged eating more plant-based meals.

A report from the New Zealand Ministry of Health advocated for eating more vegan and vegetarian meals in order to reduce the sector’s carbon footprint. The report looked at the various ways the health sector can reduce its ecological impact, such as using less electricity and serving fewer animal products. Plant-based food should be made more available in hospitals to patients, visitors, and staff. It also recommended adding new plant-based options to menus, promoting the diet’s health benefits, and growing fresh produce on-site.

Check it out here.

5. Nike Releases Sustainable Vegan Air Max 90s

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Nike’s sustainable Air Max 90s were available for a limited run.

Nike launched vegan Air Max 90s made from sustainable materials. Organic cotton — dyed army green with turmeric and pomegrate — makes up the upper. The outsoles are made from Nike Grind, a material made from recycled athletic footwear and scraps. Detailing like Nike’s signature checkmark are made from sawdust shaved off of a wooden shipping palette.

The limited-edition vegan shoes were made in collaboration with London-based streetwear brand Maharishi in celebration of the opening of its new flagship store in Tribeca.

Check it out here.

6. Subway to Launch Vegan Meatball Subs

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Subway will trial its Beyond Meatball Marinara this month.

Subway will trial a vegan-friendly meatball sandwich at select locations starting this month. The world’s largest fast-food chain partnered with Beyond Meat to make the Beyond Meatball Sub, featuring plant-based meatballs, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese on toasted Italian bread. To make it vegan, leave off the sauce.

The test will run at 685 locations across the U.S. and Canada later this month. Ethan Brown, CEO and founder of Beyond Meat, said that this is the beginning of a long-term partnership with Subway.

Check it out here.

7. Jamie Oliver to Host Meat-Free Cooking Show

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Jamie Oliver’s new Channel 4 cooking show is vegetarian.

Jamie Oliver’s new vegetarian cooking show premieres on Channel 4 later this year. “Jamie’s Meat-Free Meals” follows the release of his newest cookbook “Veg,” which puts the spotlight on produce.

“I think we all know that eating more vegetables is good for us and the environment,” Oliver told the Sun.

Oliver will also feature in the Channel 4 documentary “20 Years Of The Naked Chef: Jamie Bares All,” named after his first cookbook, “The Naked Chef.” The doc will also cover the closure of nearly two-dozen of his Italian restaurants earlier this year.

Check it out here.

8. World’s Largest Pork Producer Launches Plant-Based Meat

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Smithfield is one of the latest meat industry giants to launch plant-based protein.

Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, is entering the meat-free meat fray. The meat industry giant announced “Pure Farmland,” a plant meat range that mimics the look of vegan meat brand Beyond Meat’s burgers and mince. It will offer eight products to start, including burgers, breakfast patties, meatballs, and ground beef.

“With this launch, we are bringing together our expertise in creating market-leading food products, our organizational commitment to sustainability, and our deep understanding of ‘flexitarian’ consumers, to deliver a broad variety of flavorful plant-based protein choices that consumers want and can afford at a great value,” John Pauley, Chief Commercial Officer for Smithfield Foods, said in a statement.

The major pork producer is controversial for its hog farms. In 2014, drone footage revealed manure lagoon run-off linked to air and water pollution in North Carolina. In 2018, Hurricane Florence caused pig waste lagoons to overflow again.

Check it out here.

9. Lewis Hamilton Is Launching a Vegan Burger Chain

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Lewis Hamilton is opening a vegan burger chain.

Five-time Formula 1 racing champion Lewis Hamilton is placing his bet on a vegan burger chain. The British athlete announced in late August the opening of Neat Burger, the world’s first international vegan burger chain. The restaurant, whose first location opens in London on September 2, will serve Beyond Meat burgers.

“I’m very passionate about being kinder to our world and also really respect Neat Burger’s commitment to more ethical practices and supporting small businesses, so this is something I’m also really proud to support,” Hamilton said in a statement.

Check it out here.

10. Greggs Is Planning Vegan Versions of Its Most Popular Food

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Greggs will launch vegan versions of its most popular menu items.

Vegan versions of some of Greggs’ best-selling food is in the works. The bakery chain found success in its vegan sausage roll launched at the beginning of the year. Now, other popular menu items are being considered.

CEO Roger Whiteside said that new vegan options are still very much in demand — and he intends to meet it. “It took us a couple of years to perfect our vegan sausage rolls, and I can now reveal our staff are working hard in our testing kitchens to make new meat and dairy-free products suitable for vegans,” he told the Evening Standard. “The range will get wider in the future.”

He added, “we are plugging away at seeing if we can come up with a vegan version of all our top-selling lines. Obviously, people want a vegan option.”

Check it out here.

11. Aldi Reveals Its Vegan Christmas Menu

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
Aldi UK revealed its vegan Christmas menu.

Aldi UK unveiled its Christmas menu, featuring vegan party food and a meat-free centerpiece. The Mexican-inspired party pack comes with mini tacos, barbecue jackfruit tortilla rolls, and chipotle flautas. The dim sum menu features vegan duck rolls and pumpkin dumplings. Mains include two kinds of pastry parcels and a meat-free Wellington made from cauliflower.

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
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The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for August
From Leonardo DiCaprio speaking out on Amazon rainforests to Subway launching Beyond Meatball Marinaras and Lewis Hamilton starting a vegan burger chain, these are August's top plant-based news stories.
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