UK supermarket chain Waitrose has expanded their range of meat-free and vegan products to meet the growing demand from customers.
The supermarket developed the range with a Dutch company called The Vegetarian Butcher. It consists of 30 vegetarian dishes, 11 of which are suitable for vegan customers.
A spokesperson announced: “Waitrose is the first UK supermarket to use this brand of alternative protein which looks like and has the texture of meat, appealing to those who want to reduce the amount of meat in their diet without the compromise.
“According to a Mintel report earlier this year, demand for meat-free food is forecast to rise by nine per cent over the next five years to 2021. And this trend isn’t limited to the buying choices of vegetarians and vegans. Flexitarianism, a term for those who want to reduce but not completely stop their meat intake, was added to the Oxford English Dictionary as recently as 2014.”
Waitrose has slipped behind some of its competitors in terms of its range of plant based products, something that the supermarket’s Vegetarian Buyer, Chloe Graves, acknowledged. She said: “This is our largest ever meat-free range. Vegetarian meals are one of our fastest growing categories with sales up 14 per cent year on year and we know this will only get bigger.
“There’s little doubt that plant protein will play an increasingly important part in a healthy balanced diet in the future. By working with The Vegetarian Butcher we can offer our shoppers a first-to-market high quality replacement protein that is more akin to the texture of meat than anything we have stocked before.”
Jaap Korteweg, founder of The Vegetarian Butcher, added: “Our ideal is to have meat enthusiasts experience our products and then realise they don’t have to miss out on anything if they take meat out of their diet for one or more days.
“That is why we always try to capture the flavour of real meat and why we characterise ourselves as an entirely new generation of meat substitutes that are, according to top chefs, indistinguishable from the real thing.”
The plant based food sector is thriving. Last month, new data released showed the sector to have hit $3 billion with no signs of slowing down.