This Company Wants You to Eat Less Meat

Atlantic Natural Foods is on a mission to feed the planet with vegetable protein

Atlantic Natural Foods markets an extensive line of meatless foods under the Loma Linda label, which takes its name from the city of Loma Linda in California's San Bernardino County. Loma Linda was identified as one of the world's "Blue Zones” by author Dan Buettner, who famously highlighted it as one of the five places on the planet where people live the longest. The large contingent of Seventh-day Adventists in the area have a strong sense of community, commit to a kosher diet, eschew alcohol and tobacco, and many are vegetarians — factors believed to contribute to their long life expectancy.

Seventh-day Adventists founded a bakery in 1905 called the Sanitarium Food Company, gradually expanding into vegetarian products that mimicked meat, and transitioning into the Loma Linda Food Company in 1933. The firm was renamed La Loma Foods in 1989, and sold the next year to Ohio-based Worthington Foods — which in turn was acquired by the Kellogg Company in 1999.

Doug Hines, chairman and general partner of Atlantic Natural Foods, purchased La Loma from Kellogg in 2014, and moved its headquarters to Nashville, North Carolina, where we reached him to find out more about the brand.

"When Loma Linda was created over 100 years ago as one of the original plant-based options," he told us, "the market [for meat analogues] was virtually nonexistent, and the brand has been at the forefront of innovation in plant-based proteins ever since. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in plant-based protein. With the global population continuing to rise, we won’t be able to feed everyone with animal-based proteins, making plant-based alternatives crucial to our future. We’re very proud of our heritage in the space, but are looking forward to playing a pivotal role in that future with healthy, delicious vegetarian and vegan options."

The company has moved far beyond its original offerings. Its Blue line features non-GMO ready-to-eat vegetarian meals packaged in individual shelf-stable, grab-on-the-go microwavable pouches that can be cooked in 60 seconds. The line is international in inspiration, including such offerings as Spicy Pad Thai, Italian Bolognese, Tikka Masala, Green Curry, and Southwest Chunky Stew, in addition to three ready-to-eat flavors of fishless "tuna."

Aside from the Loma Linda brand, Atlantic Natural Foods also sells egg and meat replacement products and vegan baking mixes under the Neat label and produces Kaffree Roma, a coffee substitute made from roasted grains.

"At Atlantic Natural Foods, we know there are limited resources on our planet, and too many people with not enough to eat," Hines told us. "Our mission is to provide great solutions to both these problems. As with most big changes, it starts with small steps. If everyone just ate one meatless meal a week, the amount of water, crops, fuel, land, and greenhouse gas emissions saved would be staggering."

Loma Linda isn't the only company producing meatless alternatives for vegans and vegetarians. Here are 10 that are so good, you won't miss the meat or dairy.