It is the latest in the number of major meat brands which has acknowledged the significant number of people opting for meat-free meals – whether they are vegan or not.
When asked if the company was looking at moving into the growing and increasingly competitive plant-based market after it released its 2018 financial report, Kerry CEO Edmond Scanlon told analysts that it was focusing on the growing flexitarian sector.
“We are very much in the process of, I would say [the] early stages of launching, a significant drive forward into the whole meat-free area,” he said. “Still early days but we’ve committed the capital and we’ll see how that plays out over the next several quarters.”
He added: “[It’s] certainly an area we see our consumer foods business participating in, very much supported by our technology capability we have within our taste and nutrition business.
“We feel that’s a good approach. We feel the technology we have and are going to be deploying will be very much best-in-class, both from a taste and functionality perspective. We’re focusing on the flexitarian consumer that likes the taste and texture of meat while looking to cut down their overall meat intake.”
Changing the meat business
The Kerry Group is not the only major meat processor with plans to capitalize on the growing appetite for meat alternative products. This week beef giant ABP will launch a vegan burger in Asda and online in a bid to meet growing demand for flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan food.
“We are very excited about our first fresh brand launch into the meat-free category,” said ABP UK Commercial Director Darren Jones. “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.
“As a business we have long invested in understanding market and consumer trends and we have a keen interest in exploring opportunities that provide consumers with choice.”