In early May, Shake Shack announced that it has partnered with food tech startup NotCo to release three new plant-based menu items nationwide, Business Insider reports.
Shake Shack’s new offerings are a Veggie Shack burger, a non-dairy chocolate shake, and a non-dairy frozen custard. The three items were originally tested at 10 select Shake Shack locations. After a successful trial period, the company has begun to offer them at every location.
In an announcement shared on May 2, Shake Shack detailed the development process for each item.
The Veggie Shack burger comes from the chefs at Shake Shack’s Innovation Kitchen in New York City and “is made from a proprietary blend of real garden vegetables and grains, seared to perfection with American cheese, pickles, crispy onions and ShackSauce all on a toasted potato roll.”
Its ingredients include mushrooms, sweet potatoes, carrots, farro, and quinoa in a recipe that beat several other formulas to become Shake Shack’s signature veggie burger.
According to Business Insider, NotCo’s specialty is an AI program called Giuseppe. This innovative tool produces recipes for plant-based alternatives to animal-based foods.
“[Giuseppe] analyzes the structure of an animal-based food at its molecular level and replicates it using only plants-based ingredients,” the NotCo website states. “It looks for matches in flavor, texture, nutrition, and functionality, among other characteristics.”
The result, Business Insider says, is a very close match to milk. Whole and 2% versions of NotMilk are also available at Whole Foods.
This innovation makes it easier than ever for people to live a plant-based lifestyle while enjoying familiar, delicious flavors at restaurants and home. If vegetarian alternatives like these become common, it could also help reduce animal agriculture and its impact on the environment.
According to VegNews, Matias Muchnick, CEO and co-founder of NotCo, was excited to share the announcement.
“Partnering up with Shake Shack used to be a dream of mine,” he said in a statement. “Having a tailored NotCo product in Shake Shack stores nationwide is a clear statement of our ability to create elevated tailored-made delicious and profitable versions of products in record time that appeal to the mass market.”
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