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West MI vegan meat company ‘honored’ to be sold at Whole Foods

Nutcase Vegan Meats produces plant based burgers, sausage, meat loaf, jerky and more. They will be found in the freezer section of the new Kentwood Whole Foods.

KENTWOOD, Mich. — The new Whole Foods in Kentwood opened Wednesday with crowds. In the freezer section, customers can now find plant-based meat from Nutcase Vegan Meats, a Wyoming, Mich. based company.

“It’s very exciting,” said Monica Randels, co-founder of Nutcase Vegan Meats, “It’s validating to us that it’s a healthy, high-level product that we will be able to get into more people’s hands.”

Randels said Whole Foods came to them to sell their product. She said they said it was a happy surprise, since they are a small, locally-owned business. 

Nutcase Vegan Meats is one of more than a thousand locally-sourced products Whole Foods in Kentwood sells. 

“It will open up a lot of doors for us,” said Andrew Maternowski, Nutcase’s other co-owner, “Because once you’re in Whole Foods, that gets a little more notice. We’re super high quality, and I think unique in the plant-based world as far as no added oils, no additives, all natural ingredients. So, I think it’s a good thing.”

Nutcase Vegan Meats uses mainly nuts as the base of their meats, as well as ingredients like brown rice and quinoa. 

Randels said the couple began eating plant-based after their daughter watched the documentary Food Inc. in 2010. 

They began making plant-based meat in their kitchen and giving it to friends. 

“We didn’t find anything that we really enjoyed, and felt that was nourishing,” said Randels, “We wanted all organic products. So, we started creating it at home.”

Soon, the product began to pick up attention. They incorporated in 2014 and began selling out of the Downtown Market. 

Later, they moved production to their location on 44th Street in Wyoming. 

You could say meat was in the family’s blood. They simply turned that into plant-based meat. 

“I’m the grandson of butchers and my uncle was a butcher,” said Maternowski, “We have butchering on both sides of our family. So, we actually used to make our own sausage and Polish sausage and everything and smoke it. And so the thought was, well, we’re going to make a vegan meat.”

Both are former physicians, and say selling plant-based meals is a great way to help both people and the planet. 

“There’s a lot of good scientific evidence and medical studies that would say the more plant based you eat, you can be on a spectrum, but the more you eat, the longer you will live without medical problems,” said Maternowski. 

Nutcase Vegan Meats can also be found at other stores around West Michigan, like Kingma’s and the Downtown Market. 

RELATED VIDEO: West Michigan Whole Foods store is a dream come true for Kentwood Mayor

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