By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
Since Spring 2013 Tropical Smoothie Café (TSC) offers all-vegetable Beyond Meat®, a plant protein made primarily of pea and soy protein in any food item including wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads, and salads. TSC has over 300 locations in 36 states. According to Beyond Meat® founder Ethan Brown, TSC is the first national chain of its size to offer Beyond Meat®.
The VRG asked TSC in July through December 2013 to tell us more about the ingredients in several menu offerings where Beyond Meat® could be served. TSC’s nutritional consultant told us via TSC’s public relations firm that she had used our Guide to Food Ingredients to classify TSC ingredients. The public relations firm supplied us with the following information about three menu items.
In the Turkey Guacamole™ the guacamole is all-vegetable. The nine-grain bread contains honey and is “manufactured in a facility that uses milk and eggs.”
The flatbread in the Chicken Pesto™ contains no egg, dairy, honey or other animal ingredients. The pesto contains dairy. The cheeses may be left off of this menu option when ordering. The VRG was informed that “[There is] no animal rennet in the cheese [at TSC].”
Vegetarians and vegans may be interested in ordering TSC’s Hummus Veggie™. The hummus in the Hummus Veggie™ “is completely vegan; no animal products used.” The garlic herb tortilla does not contain any egg, dairy, honey, or other animal ingredients. The pepper Jack cheese is not made with animal rennet. This wrap can be ordered without cheese when requested. The rice may contain dairy depending on the supplier. The rice, like any ingredient at TSC, may be left off of a menu item when requested before ordering. The black beans do not contain animal flavors or animal ingredients. The salsa appears to be all-vegetable although The VRG did not receive confirmation from TSC on the salsa so concerned diners may wish to confirm this before ordering.
We were informed by the public relations firm that the nutritional consultant at TSC “…is working on defining all of the ingredients in all of the menu items…I am sure [TSC] will eventually make this information available for anyone who asks about something when they are ordering, so…patrons will get what they want.”
According to the Tropical Smoothie nutritional consultant: “For clarification, on the TSC menu all items categorized as vegan are completely animal free, no animal byproducts. Menu items categorized as vegetarian may contain honey, milk, eggs, or yeast and if they do contain these items, they will be indicated as such.”
The VRG also learned that the bagel and ciabatta served at TSC contain no dairy, egg, or honey.
In response to our question about TSC smoothies, The VRG was informed through TSC’s public relations firm that “…ingredients in the recipe (i.e. soy, whey, or turbinado) can be removed in any of our smoothies upon customer request. A full list of ingredients for our smoothies is available at each Café to help consumers determine the best option for their dietary needs.”
Readers interested in learning more about Beyond Meat® may visit their website: http://beyondmeat.com
A Tropical Smoothie Café store locator may be found here: https://order.tropicalsmoothie.com/#content=/Restaurant/Search
The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.
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