4 Food News Trends: Plant-Based Cravings, Celeb Partnerships and More

A look at the food and beverage industry news from PR Newswire in March and April that you might have missed.



By Joe Murphy | Published May 2, 2023


March and April always bring a series of changes. Flowers bloom. Baseball season begins. Weather in Ohio goes from sunny and 80 degrees to snowy and 30 degrees in a span of 12 hours.

This year, we’ve also seen a lot of changes in food and beverage prices. From grocery shopping trips to restaurant menus, consumers are feeling the weight of rising costs.

While rising prices are top of mind for most consumers (and rightfully so), it’s not what companies issuing releases over PR Newswire in March and April focused on. They chose instead to focus on the good, so that’s what we’ll do here.

PR Newswire issued more than 2,100 food and beverage releases in March and April. Among the thousands, these were a few of the most viewed:

In terms of trends, we’ll look at four: plant-based products, celebrity partnerships, women entrepreneurs/influencers, and the March college basketball tournament.



Plant-Based Everything

New plant-based food and beverage initiatives have dominated the news cycle for the last two months. PR Newswire issued 328 plant-based releases in March and April, up from 243 releases in the first two months of the year.

The increase fits with what we’re seeing across the plant-based market. Plant-based sales hit $8 billion in 2022, an increase of 6.6% from the previous year, according to Food Dive. For 2023, Datassential’s 2023 Food Trends report notes 40% of consumers plan to purchase plant-based meat products this year.

But it’s not just meat substitutes consumers are after. Companies are also seeing an increased interest in plant-based snacks, beverages, and seafood.

Several PR Newswire clients featured their plant-based developments at Natural Products Expo West, which took place March 7-11 in Anaheim, California. According to research from Green Queen, 333 exhibitors at Expo West described themselves as plant-based, or 10.5% of the total. Among the plant-based products featured were:

Plant-based initiatives were not limited to Expo West, however. Other plant-based items promoted in the last two months include:

  • Peet’s Coffee celebrated Earth Month in April with a plant-based Spring menu.
  • Finless Foods gave away plant-based poke-style tuna during the first weekend of SXSW.
  • As an alternative to fast food, Plant Junkie, a new fast-food restaurant specializing in plant-based cuisine, opened in multiple locations around Manhattan and Chicago.
  • Califia Farms teamed up with Cookie Monster to promote a healthier snack option -- cereal and almond milk.

All signs point to this trend continuing to grow and evolve as we enter the summer months.

Celebrity Partnerships

For our next trend, we’ll look at some notable partnerships that emerged between food and beverage companies and celebrities.

Celebrities promoting products certainly isn’t new. Back in the 1990s, every kid I knew wanted to drink Gatorade so they could “Be Like Mike.” While social media and the world of micro-influencers have changed things some, there still seems to be strong support for the use of high-profile celebrities in product promotion (with a few exceptions, of course).

Whether it’s a chef, athlete, or entertainer, companies partnered with celebs in a variety of ways.


Here’s what some celebrity chefs have been cooking up:

  • In early March, Bravo's Top Chef Season 12 winner Mei Lin and the hot sauce afficionados at HEATONIST teamed up to create three new sauces: Herbs Hot Sauce, Peppercorn Hot Sauce, and Garlic Hot Sauce.
  • Also in March, QVC announced the launch of a new collection of kitchen and food items from expert chef Carla Hall called Sweet Heritage by Carla Hall.


It wasn’t just chefs getting in on the partnership fun. Pro athletes in the worlds of soccer, basketball, snowboarding, and beyond buddied up with several products:

  • FIFA World Cup 2022 Champion Leo Messi and Lay’s teamed up as part of the brand’s "No Lay's, No Game" campaign.
  • NBA superstar James Harden collaborated with Accolade Wines to create a new Prosecco.
  • Nutrition company CORE® Foods announced two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Chloe Kim as the brand ambassador for its CORE® Bars. 


Both actors and musicians signed on with various food and beverage companies in the last two months. Let’s start with the actors:

  • Model Slash Actor Derek Zoolander teamed up with PepsiCo during its "Great Acting or Great Taste?" campaign for Pepsi Zero Sugar.
  • Emmy-nominated actor and producer Millie Bobby Brown paired with Essentia® Water in its "Stop for Nothing" campaign series.

Several musicians/performers broadened their business interests in March and April as well:

  • Takis® rolled out its Intense Nacho product with the help of 2x-GRAMMY-nominated world-renowned artist, DJ, and producer Steve Aoki.
  • And Snoop Dogg stayed busy with a pair of partnerships. First, Snoop partnered with Indonesian coffee entrepreneur Michael Riady to launch INDOxyz, a premium lifestyle coffee brand. Then, Snoop and Martha Stewart’s 19 Crimes Wines were featured in a 19 Crimes Brunch menu from meal planning service eMeals.

Women Influencers

March 8 was International Women’s Day, and the month of March was Women’s History Month, so it seems fitting to spend some time talking about the women who made or are making waves in the food and beverage industries.

PR Newswire issued 531 women-related releases in March alone, including 97 on International Women’s Day. Some of the memorable releases included:

  • Häagen-Dazs launched “The Rose Project,” a global initiative that pledges $100,000 in bursaries to support unsung women around the world who deserve recognition.
  • The Hershey Company brought back its empowering, limited-edition Hershey's SHE bars for a third year to honor the influential women and girls making an impact.
  • The day before International Women’s Day, Lunchbox released its Top 30 Women in Food 2023 list. The list included women such as EVP & CFO at Starbucks, Rachel Ruggeri, and VP of Digital Marketing & Off-Premise at Chipotle, Tressie Lieberman, among others.
  • One of the more memorable women-related releases of the last two months was Miller Lite’s effort to turn Bad $#!T to Good $#!T. The premise of the initiative was to take old, outdated, sexist ads and turn them into fertilizer used to help female hops farmers grow over 1,000 pounds of hops. Those hops would then be donated to over 200 female brewers to make approximately 330,000 beers.

March Unpredictable Basketball

March and early April also featured the college basketball tournament (the more familiar name is trademarked). According to SportsPro Media, the opening round of the tournament drew an average of 8.4 million domestic viewers, setting an eight-year high. Companies used a combination of nostalgia, bracket excitement, game-time refreshments, and even facial hair to tap into that audience.

  • Pizza Hut took me back to my childhood by bringing back its mini basketballs for the first time since the 1990s.
  • Sticking with the pizza theme, DIGIORNO offered consumers a chance to win a DIGIORNO Cry Pie – an all-onion pizza made to mask your basketball heartbreak.
  • Even non-basketball fans filled out a tournament bracket, so Philly Pretzel Factory created its own “Salty 16” bracket contest.
  • White Castle promoted its “Slider 6” collection of shareable recipes for basketball fans, while Hormel Foods provided eight ways to spice up your snacking habits. 
  • For the tournament, Wingstop offered three new wing flavors: Pure Mayhem, Crunch Time and Meltdown
  • Finally, in mid-March, Pringles® mascot Mr. P took a backseat to a few college basketball stars with some pretty sweet ‘staches of their own for their March Mustache Collection.


It’s been an exciting couple of months in the food and beverage world. There’s been a lot of momentum toward the health-conscious consumer, yet companies are not forsaking those who enjoy some comfort food. We’ve also seen the continued influence of celebrities and the important contributions of women, as well as the joy of an unpredictable basketball tournament where seeds don’t matter. We're looking forward to seeing what lies ahead.



About the Author

Joe Murphy headshotJoe Murphy is a Senior Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. He serves as Cision’s Food and Beverage Industry Ambassador and curates the @PRNFood Twitter handle. In his free time, he enjoys watching Cleveland sports and spending time with his wife and two kids.