The ABP Group, one of Europe’s leading meat processors, is set to launch vegan burgers backed by a £250,000 marketing campaign.
Called Equals, the new meat-free food is made from soy and pea protein and was developed to have a “texture and flavour to equal the meat-eating experience” that will “meat reducers and non-meat eaters alike,” according to ABP.
“We are very excited about our first fresh brand launch into the meat-free category,” said Darren Jones, commercial director for ABP, in a statement. “Our core business is and will remain in beef but we recognise the growing demand for products that fit a flexitarian and meat-free lifestyle.”
ABP says that it’s launching Equals to meet the rising consumer demand for plant-based food throughout the UK. This year’s Veganuary, a campaign that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January, saw record numbers of participants.
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Last year, one in six new product launches in the UK were vegan – more than any other nation – according to data from market research firm Mintel. The surge in vegan products is primarily driven by the nation’s rising “flexitarian” population, people who are trying to eat fewer animal products for health, sustainability, or animal welfare.
“As a business, we have long invested in the understanding market and consumer trends and we have a keen interest in exploring opportunities that provide consumers with choice,” Jones continued.
ABP is not the only meat brand to realize this – last January, leading sausage producer Finnebrogue Artisan opened a £3 million dedicated meat-free facility in Northern Ireland.
Large corporations are also taking notice. Global consumer goods giant Unilever bought Dutch veggie meat brand The Vegetarian Butcher last December, citing rising consumer interest as its reason. Unilever-owned Dutch food brand Unox, known for its canned meat and smoked sausages, launched vegetarian smoked sausage that same month.
The Equals burger will launch in ASDA first and will roll out to other retailers later this year.