Rumor has it Ireland-based food company Kerry Foods is set to launch vegan chicken fillets, ham, and mince under its Richmond brand.
Popular Instagram account Vegan Food UK made the announcement online. “The ham will supposedly come in these varieties: smoked, unsmoked, breaded ham slices, honey roasted ham slices, wafer-thin ham slices, and thick-sliced ham slices,” it captioned.
Vegan Food UK added: “This information was sent to us by one of our sources, but we await official confirmation off Richmond.”
Richmond launched vegan sausages in U.K. retailers last year. The meat-free sausages feature soy protein. The brands said it released the meat-free range due to growing consumer demand for meatless options.
”Richmond is one of Kerry Foods’ longest-standing brands, but we’re constantly looking for ways to innovate and meet the demands of consumers,” said Dawn Spencer, director at Kerry Foods.
“We’re focusing on the flexitarian consumer that likes the taste and texture of meat while looking to cut down their overall meat intake,” Spencer added.
Flexitarian Diet Trending In the UK
In the U.K., flexitarianism has now gone mainstream. According to market research firm Mintel, 20 million Brits are reducing their meat intake and adopting flexitarian diets. This accounts for nearly 40 percent of meat-eaters.
Those that consume a flexitarian diet eat mostly plant-based foods. Flexitarians generally only eat animal products in moderation.
The popularity of flexitarianism in the U.K. has given rise to more vegan product launches. Companies are trying to meet the growing demand for plant-based foods.
Mintel revealed the U.K. released more vegan products than any other country in 2018. It found 16 percent—or one out of every six—of new product launches didn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients. This was a 200 percent increase in vegan product launches from 2015.
Experts predict the sales of plant-based products will exceed £1.1 billion by the year 2024.
“The rising popularity of flexitarian diets has helped to drive demand for meat-free products,” said Mintel Global Food & Drink Analyst Kate Vlietstra. “Many consumers perceive that plant-based foods are a healthier option.
“This notion is the key driver behind the reduction in meat consumption in recent years,” added Vlietstra.