While the UK debut of U.S.-based Beyond Meat’s popular vegan Beyond Burger, that looks, cooks, and tastes like beef, is still at least several months out, UK supermarket Sainsbury’s is getting ready to launch another vegan meaty burger set to rival traditional meat sales. This one comes from Danish manufacturer Naturli’ Foods.
The Naturli’ Foods’ burgers and mince are made from almonds, tomatoes, and porcini mushrooms; and while not as meat-like in flavor as the Beyond Burger or its main rival, the Impossible Burger, the company says the products indeed have a noteworthy meatiness imparted by the umami flavor of the hero ingredients. Like the Beyond and Impossible Burgers, Naturli’s burger “bleeds” with the help of beets, which give the burger a reddish color.
The move comes as a growing number of consumers are seeking out vegan and vegetarian foods even if they still eat meat. More than a few human health and environmental impact studies show strong reasons for reducing or avoiding meat intake. Naturli’ says it’s a driving force: “Our goal is to contribute to restore the balance between nature and man,” Henrik Lund, the chief executive officer of Naturli’ Foods, told the Guardian. “We’ve developed this product assuming that many people want to eat plants instead of animals, but are afraid of compromising on flavour and maybe even missing out on their favourite dishes such as lasagne or burger patties.”
The company says it’s now struggling to keep up with demand for its burgers since they first launched in January. Across the pond in the U.S., Beyond Meat is facing similar challenges. It recently expanded production facilities but retailers and restaurants continue to find themselves out of stock on the Beyond Burger and the company’s newest vegan offering: the Beyond Sausages. The sausage range (Original Brat, Sweet Italian, and Hot Italian) launched last December first in select sausage shops before hitting Whole Foods Market shelves in May. But stores continue to sell out faster than they can order the popular products.
Naturli’s launch in Sainsbury’s is the latest plant-forward move from the region’s supermarket leaders. Waitrose recently launched a dedicated vegan section in its stores, and Sainsbury’s also recently added the vegan cheesecake range from Canada’s Daiya Foods. But Tesco, the region’s largest supermarket chain, is perhaps making the most significant dent. It sold 40,000 units of Vivera’s vegan steaks in just the first week it launched; and the success of its Wicked Kitchen range of ready meals created by Wicked Healthy chefs Chad and Derek Sarno, has been so successful the chain recently announced plans to expand the line after only launching in January.
Image Credit: Naturli’ Foods