Veggie Peperami just launched nationwide at UK supermarkets.
The new meat-free range is called ‘Vegerami’ and currently includes two flavors — Pep’d Up and Smokin’ Chick’nless Bites. While the snacks are 100 percent vegetarian, they do contain animal-derived ingredients in the form of egg white powder and honey powder.
Peperami’s vegetarian chicken bites combine wheat gluten with pea protein isolate for 8.6g of plant protein per 40g pack. Tesco describes the Smoked flavor as “formed, cooked, pasteurised meat-free nuggets coated with a smoky Chinese style glazing.”
The company is primarily known for its salami-style spicy jerky bars, and Vegerami is its first vegetarian offering so far. Instead of a long bar, each pack of meat-free bites includes lots of bite-sized chicken pieces.
Veggie Peperami and Changing Consumer Demand
Earlier this month, Peperami launched an updated aesthetic and message — including a social media campaign featuring former professional footballer Rio Ferdinand — in a brand-wide attempt to appeal to a broader and more mature audience.
Unilever sold Peperami to protein snack company Jack Links in 2014. Marketing manager Pavan Chandra told Marketing Week that the brand has since grown from a £35 million brand to a £93 million one.
Peperami hasn’t always been so friendly towards vegetarians, and back in 2020 used a mobile van to waft meat smells around London on the final day of Veganuary.
The vehicle, which featured a large image of the brand’s notorious meat-based mascot ‘Animal’, displayed slogans such as “only one day of Veganuary to go,” and “no-one says vegans can’t enjoy the smell of meat!”
Chandra said that launching new products (such as Vegerami) formed part of the overall marketing push to make Peperami “much more relevant.”
Vegan Alternatives to Peperami
Peperami is not the only company using meat-free additions to make itself relevant to a wider audience. Plant-based foods are more popular than ever before.
In the UK alone, 41 percent of people are cutting back on meat and fish to help combat the climate crisis. This is now even more common amongst younger consumers, with 25 percent of millennials more open to veganism after the coronavirus pandemic.
There are many 100 percent vegan alternatives to traditional jerky and Peperami, including Granovita’s meat-free pepperoni bar, Noble Jerky, Kings Veggie Jerky, and Primal Spirit. In the U.S., vegan meat company Upton’s produces four varieties of plant-based jerky, and even Trader Joe’s stocks an organic watermelon-based version.
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