Panera Dishes Up a New Plant-Based Menu; Drinkable Dairy-Free Protein Gets a Funding Boost; Trader Joe’s Goes Nuts for Cold Brew


This week in our Friday Bites, cool and creamy dairy-free hits the mainstream, and the plant-based trend continues to gain momentum.

Drinkable Dairy-Free Protein Gets a Funding Boost

Have you heard of Koia? This maker of plant-based protein beverages may be relatively new on the vegan scene, but they are primed to become a market leader. At least that’s what their latest investors believe, and we hope they’re right. Partners like KarpReilly, AccelFoods, and Bill Moses ( the founder of Kevita; sold to PepsiCo in 2016) have infused Koia with $7.5 million. They plan to support rapid retail expansion and a large marketing campaign.

Jordan Gaspar, AccelFoods co-founder and managing partner, stated, “The consumer appetite for plant-based protein is only beginning.”

Koia produces refrigerated, ready-to-drink,dairy-free protein drinks that are also soy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO. They use a proprietary blend of brown rice, hemp, and pea proteins for an unrivaled 5-to-1 ratio of plant protein to sugar. Their current flavors include creamy Vanilla Bean, Cacao Bean, and Coconut Almond.

Koia Dairy-Free Protein Drinks get a Funding Boost

Panera Dishes Up a New Menu for Plant-Based Patrons

Over the years, dairy-free consumers have had a love-hate relationship with Panera. They fully disclose ingredients, but sometimes make them hard to find. And many of our favorite options have come and gone. But their latest campaign promises to make it easier.

Panera Bread Company has added three new menu categories to its online and in-store ordering experience. They include plant-based, protein-rich, and nutrient-packed. Despite their marketing, the plant-based category is more generally vegetarian. It includes vegan options as well as vegetarian menu items that contain dairy and/or eggs. It is still helpful, but for a little more guidance on what to order, see their Eating Vegan Guide.

Panera Dishes Up New Menus for Plant-Based Patrons

Trader Joe’s Goes Nuts for Dairy-Free Cold Brew

The end caps at Trader Joe’s have been filled with vegan options this year. But their dairy-free love is now spilling over in the cool beverage section. This trendy grocer has added ready-to-drink Organic Cold Brew Mocha Nut Lattes for the summer. The non-dairy beverages are made with cashew and almond milk, and sweetened with dates, for a guilt-free refresher. And for that extra something special, they’re spiked with vanilla, cinnamon, and pink Himalayan salt.

For nut-free consumers and those with more sensitive milk concerns (we haven’t confirmed any potential cross-contamination issues with the lattes), Trader Joe’s also offers their Cold Brew Coffee Concentrates in a few fun flavors. They’re kosher parve and ready to blend with your favorite dairy-free milk beverage.

Trader Joe's Goes Nuts for Dairy-Free Cold Brew

Last Week’s Dairy-Free News Bites

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. RE: Panera:

    Their plant based additions to their menus is simply a greek salad, HOLD THE FETA CHEESE AND THE DRESSING. That’s it.

    Lot of hype for nothing.

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