Verena Wiederkehr, International Head of Food Industry & Retail at ProVeg International, talked about successful cases of supermarket chains introducing plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.
Tesco has co-created the role Director of Plant-Based Innovations with the famous chef Derek Sarno. Derek developed the Wicked Kitchen range which consists of ready meals and food-to-go for the customers who are not necessarily vegetarians or vegans.
What is Wicked Kitchen of Tesco doing well? They are fulfilling the parameters of the meta triangle: good price, convenient products and, obviously, great taste. In the end of the day, it is taste that motivates consumers to buy the product once again.
Within 33 weeks, Tesco sold 4 over million vegan Wicked Kitchen meals.
The products are positioned in the meat isle, turning it into a protein aisle. This approach enhances their visibility and boosts sales. You can see the same tendency in other food categories such as plant-based dairy, where rice, oats, soy and nut-based milk packages are placed right next to cow milk.
There is still a lot of room for improvement in this category: when we have a look at alternative yoghurts, they are mostly soy-based while vegan cheese options are lacking behind in terms of taste and texture.
Despite of that, 43% of all European consumers already tried plant-based milk.
British chain Sainsbury's is increasing the sales of their plant-based product line by 20% each week. In 2018, Waitrose & Partners expanded their plant-based range by 60%. Those retailers are sometimes supported by campaigns such as Veganuary.
This January, 300 000 people in the UK and other English-speaking countries signed up for trying plant-based lifestyle. And companies are surely taking advantage of this timeframe.
Producers are also in the game. Rügenwalder Mühle is a major meat producer from Germany focusing on meat alternatives. At the moment, they are making about 25% of their revenue with plant-based options. The company commited to making the whole vegetarian range completely plant-based and spent all of their marketing budget on the plant-based product line.
CEO of Rügenwalder Mühle Christian Rauffus is convinced that 20 years from they will be working without meat.
In the future, the industry might be disrupted heavily with cell-based products produced in bioreactors from animal cells. The end product is identical to meat but without many negative effects that industrial animal agriculture has. There are quite a lot of companies out there that are focusing on this technology so this is definitely a sector worth watching.