VIOLIFE® Teams up with RZA to Launch Grant Program to Promote Plant-Based Eating

New Upfield US “Plant Grants” Program Provides Funding, Education and Mentoring

First Year Supports Black-owned Restaurants

HACKENSACK, N.J., (June 29, 2021) – Upfield US today announced a new grant program, Plant Grants, aimed at promoting plant-based eating through charitable funding, education, and mentorship. This first year is being sponsored by Violife®, an Upfield brand and portfolio of 100% vegan cheeses and spreads, in collaboration with legendary hip-hop artist and long-time vegan, RZA. The 2021 Plant Grants program will focus on helping community-based Black-owned restaurants recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic recognizing that these businesses are often the economic and cultural centers of their communities. The program will provide funding to support re-investment in the business, an introduction to plant-based ingredients, and coaching on menu development from two plant-based chef pioneers, Lemel Durrah and Laricia Chandler to inspire Black-owned restaurants to add more plant-based dishes to their menus or convert well-loved recipes to plant-based.   

I’m partnering with Violife because we share a similar philosophy about eating plant-based, and we want to make plant-based eating more accessible, affordable and sustainable to all,” said RZA. “The influence of hip-hop and the culinary history of plant-based eating in Black communities contribute to a movement of embracing meatless options. I’m proud to support Plant Grants to continue this movement and make plant-based eating more readily available at Black-owned restaurants that are at the heart of communities.” 

“At Upfield, we’re excited to be working with community-based chefs and restaurateurs, and plant-based visionaries who are scaling-up the plant-based revolution across the U.S. to bring great tasting plant-based foods to more people,” said Brian Orlando, Chief Marketing Officer, Upfield North America. “Now with the new Plant Grants program, we can expand and promote their incredible efforts in an impactful way to help them develop new menu items with plant-based ingredients and create dishes and recipes, so more people choose to eat plant-based foods because they are delicious, and better for you and better for the planet.” 

“We are thrilled to partner with RZA to raise awareness about the benefits of plant-based eating and bring awareness to the Plant Grants program,” said Bernice Chao, Senior Brand Manager, Upfield. “We look forward to providing well-deserved recognition and support to Black-owned restaurants and opening the door to exciting new dishes and traditional recipes with a plant-based twist.”   

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