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Valparaiso High School grad named to Forbes 30 under 30 list

Valparaiso High School grad named to Forbes 30 under 30 list


A former Valparaiso resident was honored on the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 list after co-founding a vegan fast-food chain in Southern California.

Valparaiso High School graduate Zach Vouga, 29, was recognized by the national magazine on its 30 Under 30 — Food & Drink 2020 list.

"Along with his cofounders, Zach Vouga is trying to create the vegan McDonald's. In 2016, he opened his first plant-based, cruelty-free and environmentally sustainable fast food restaurant in San Diego, California," Forbes magazine wrote. "With more than $6 million in funding, Plant Power Fast Food has grown to five locations and a mobile food truck throughout California that will see revenues of nearly $10 million combined. Vouga plans to open three more locations by mid-2020, projecting revenues of $15.8 million next year."

Vouga now lives in San Diego, where he helped establish the fast-food chain that sells "burgers, fries, salads, shakes and other tasty treats made entirely without the use of animal products, GMOs or artificial ingredients and served to you in 100% biodegradable materials."

The restaurant aims to reduce how much meat people consume for moral and environmental reasons. It now has locations in Long Beach, Ocean Beach, Encinitas, Redlands and at San Diego State University.

The menu includes a variety of plant-based fast-food items, including buffalo wings, chicken tenders, chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches, fish filet sandwiches, and burgers like the Holy Guacamole burger that's topped with guacamole, jalapeno, lettuce, tomato and a chipotle "aioli." 

All of the food is 100% plant-based and cholesterol-free, as well as free from GMOs, hydrogenated oils, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. The company touts the sustainability of a plant-based diet, which is less land- and water-intensive than raising livestock and other animal agriculture.

"The future of fast food is here, and it looks like this," Plant Power Fast Food says on its website.

For more information, visit


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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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