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Cover issue 15

Irish food producer, Kerry Group moving towards plant-based protein

Ireland-based food producer, Kerry Group has announced that it plans to introduce plant-based protein, reportedly under the Richmond brand in 2019.

Kerry Group owns a number of meat and dairy brands, including Cheesstrings, Wall’s and Mattessons. The news about their new meat-free venture was shared in a finance meeting, and with the popularity of meat alternatives, introducing a vegan option would encourage more meat-free products to be made.

Kerry CEO Edmond Scanlon said: “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.

“[It’s] still early days but we’ve committed the capital and we’ll see how that plays out over the next several quarters.”

Details of the product and the launch information are yet to be shared, but it has been speculated that it will be under the Richmond brand.

“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,” Scanlon added.

“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.”

Scalon commented that although plant-based products will be introduced, vegans aren’t the target demographic. “We’re focusing on the flexitarian consumer that likes the taste and texture of meat while looking to cut down their overall meat intake.”

The trend of meat companies making vegan and plant-based options available continues with beef producer ABP launching ‘The Real Deal’ plant-based burger this week. The product will be launching into Asda stores around the UK and made from soya and pea protein.

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