Vegan-meat-hungry Brits will finally have the chance to sink their teeth into the popular plant-based Beyond Burger making headlines around the world.
U.S. based Beyond Meat says it now has a UK distribution partner with the Authentic Food Co. for its beefless burgers, expected to land in the UK in August.
“The partnership is an exciting opportunity for us to bring our flagship product to consumers across the pond,” Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown said in a statement.
The partnership marks Beyond Meat’s second European placement. Earlier this year it announced a partnership with Germany’s PHW Group, the region’s largest meat distributor. PHW Group will bring on the full Beyond Meat range, which includes sausages, chicken, and ground meat crumbles. Authentic Food Co. will start only with the burgers. European and UK placement is part of a broader global distribution plan for Beyond Meat. The company says it will work on gaining distribution in 50 countries by the end of the year. Its Beyond Burger is already a top seller in several Hong Kong-based outlets including Green Common, the Butcher’s Club, and most recently at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong.
The Authentic Food Co. is a Manchester-based “ready meal specialist,” says trade magazine The Grocer. Authentic Food CEO Nik Basran called Beyond Meat a “fantastic addition” to its range of products, noting that it’s “leading the plant-based burger revolution.”
A revolution indeed. Beyond Burgers have caught the attention of meat-eaters just as much as vegetarians in chains like Bareburger, Epic Burger, and BurgerFi. Its launch at meat-heavy TGI Fridays locations was the chain’s most successful promotion in its history, leading it to implement a Meatless Monday campaign as a result.
The Beyond Burgers will be distributed to both UK supermarkets and foodservice outlets as a result of the new partnership. While not yet confirmed where the Beyond Burgers will be primarily placed in UK stores, the company has been strict in its U.S. placement policy that requires supermarkets to merchandise the meaty burgers (and now sausages) alongside meat counters.
In a recent interview, Brown said that placement strategy was critical in helping the company reach meat-eaters seeking alternative protein sources. And it’s been highly effective in driving sales. Since the burger’s launch in 2016, Beyond Meat has sold more than 11 million of its pea protein patties that look, cook, and taste like beef. And Brown noted that the burgers outsold all other types of beef at a Southern California supermarket chain during a five-week period earlier this year.
Beyond Meat and the Authentic Food Co. haven’t announced retail partners for the burgers yet, but it’s likely to find space at Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain with more than 600 stores in the region. Tesco has become a driving force in the UK’s vegan movement since bringing on chef Derek Sarno, co-founder of Wicked Healthy. Sarno now heads up the chain’s Plant-Based Innovation Division and created the Wicked Kitchen line of ready meals. The chain recently sold 40,000 units of Vivera vegan steaks in just the first week of launching.
“More than 8 BILLION animals are killed each year for the U.K. alone,” Sarno wrote in a recent Linkedin post.“We all talk about change and innovation as businesses,” he said. “Success will come to those that hold a wider view and those open to change.”