ABP, one of the largest meat processors in the UK, is the first UK meat producer to launch a plant-based meat alternative. This decision marks a significant shift for the industry, which could lead to bigger efforts from meat companies to develop meat-free products.
Worldwide, it seems that the meat industry is far ahead. In the early 2000s a Dutch meat-free company was bought by a Dutch meat processors, now focusing their business entirely on meat-free products. Moreover, in the US and Canada, many large meat processors have invested stakes in meat-free start ups to develop products based on plants, algae or insects.
Rügenwalder Mühle, a German brand, admitted that a balanced diet does not need to contain meet. They said that “if anyone has the competence to produce vegetarian alternatives so that they taste like meat and sausage, then it should be us.” This sends a clear message: consumers can trust their preferred brand, whether meat-based or meat-free. The brands carry consumer trust and convey the message that they are best positioned to make the best tasting alternatives to meat.
In the UK, the most established meat-free producers – Quorn and Linda McCartney’s – have built consumer awareness and market demand. However, they sometimes suffer a bad reputation, particularly with more traditional meat eaters who may be new to reducing their meat intake. Market research shows how some critics accuse them of tasting bland or question the view of them as natural.
There is definitely room for the traditional meat industry to present itself as solving these problems, especially since it has the money to back investment and conduct extensive research. The existing infrastructure and financial muscle of the meat industry means it is well-positioned to take over the meat-free replica market.