Baseball fans love their hot dogs and beers just about as much as the actual game. For decades, you would be luckier catching a home run ball than finding a plant-based meal. But now, vegan guests can find tasty, plant-based options at baseball stadiums nationwide. Most recently, Wrigley Field – home of the Chicago Cubs – just announced that it will introduce more vegan meat options with the help of Planterra Foods, the plant-based company from the meat giant JBS.
Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cub just named Planterra’s OZO brand the official plant-based protein of the historic stadium. With the partnership, the stadium concession stands and restaurants will begin offering new plant-based options including vegan burgers and menu items that use OZO’s vegan shredded chicken and Mexican-style faux ground beef.
“We’re thrilled to partner with OZO to provide the best fans in baseball with new protein alternative options here at Wrigley Field,” Chicago Cubs Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Alex Seyferth said in a statement. “Being able to provide our fans with a variety of choices when it comes to food and beverage options at the ballpark is a priority to ensure a great guest experience at Wrigley Field and we hope fans enjoy this new plant-based option.”
Wrigley Field will gradually release the new plant-based menu items over the course of the season. Currently, Smokehouse OZO Burgers are available at the concession stand. Guest sitting in the club seats and suites can order OZO Sliders. Cubs fans will be able to order the newer menu items using the grounds and shreds later in the season. Menu items will feature a variety of ballgame classics including nachos.
“We are ecstatic to partner with the Chicago Cubs at such an iconic ballpark,” Planterra CEO Darcey Macken said in a statement. “At OZO Foods, we know consumers are looking for delicious and healthy protein alternatives, which is why we are bringing as many options as possible to Wrigley Field.”
Before partnering with Wrigley Field, the Colorado-based company worked with its local NFL team, the Denver Broncos. The brand started serving plant-based meat products at Empower Field, becoming the official “Plant-Based Food Choice of the Denver Broncos.” Now, the company is helping expand vegan offerings at other sports stadiums.
America’s Pastime is Going Vegan
OZO is bringing cubs fans plant-based meat for the first time, but the Chicago ballpark is already well acquainted with other vegan alternatives. Last April, the stadium partnered with Oatly, introducing the company’s dairy-free soft serve to concession stands throughout the stadium. Oatly also partnered with the home of the Texas Rangers, Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX.
With partners including Oatly and Beyond Meat, a growing list of MLB stadiums have introduced plant-based offerings for their vegan fans. Citi Field (home of the New York Mets) provides plant-based chicken sandwiches, Beyond Meat bratwursts, Dole Whip dairy-free sundaes, and much more. Currently, Dodger Stadium (home of the Los Angeles Dodgers) is gaining a reputation as one of the most vegan-friendly stadiums in the U.S., offering Beyond burgers, tempeh tacos, and nachos covered in Follow Your Heart Cheese.
Companies have rushed to serve hungry plant-based sports fans. In Boston, Chef Matthew Kenney has helped local entrepreneurs Pat McAuley and Mary Dumont open their second location of PlantPub across from Fenway Park (home of the Boston Red Sox). The plant-based pub offers a wide selection of vegan bar food with plant-based versions of traditional baseball fare.
Noticing that Nationals Park (home of the Washington Nationals) is lacking vegan options, Washington, D.C.-based HipCityVeg launched a vegan hot dog cart this May. The hot dog cart serves Beyond Sausage brats to guests on their way to the stadium. Customers can grab a vegan hot dog and bring it into the stands to enjoy the game.
World’s Largest Meat Company Bets Big on Alternative Meat
JBS Foods is increasingly investing in the alternative meat and dairy industries worldwide. While the Brazilian company is currently the world’s largest meat production company, JBS is actively expanding its plant-based sector through Planterra and OZO. This June, OZO released a new vegan bacon selection set to rival traditional animal-based bacon.
Last November, JBS also invested $100 million into the cultured meat market. For a company recorded to produce nearly $50 billion worth of animal-based products per year, this plant-based shift indicates a notable interest in the sustainable meat industry.
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