The United Kingdom now accounts for nearly 40% of the plant-based meat alternatives market in Europe. And it’s not just vegans and vegetarians that are interested. A growing number of consumers are adopting the ‘flexitarian’ lifestyle, wherein they eat vegan or vegetarian for weeks at a time and then indulge occasionally in meat. Of course, if the meat free option could be just as tasty and healthy – who knows how many might drop dead animals out of their diet completely?
There are today a huge number of great tasting meat free options available to consumers, from established brands such as Linda McCartney or Quorn to up and comers such Beyond Meat – who released their signature ‘bleeding’ burger in the UK in late 2018. This week the LA based company, who are the most valuable meat substitute start up in the world, announced that they would be adding meat free sausages to UK supermarkets too. Made from vegetable proteins (peas and fava beans mostly), Beyond Meat uses a scientific approach to replicate the key factors that make meat taste like, well, meat.
Coconut and Beetroot?
As unlikely a combination as that sounds, these are two of the key ingredients in Beyond Meat’s massive success. In fact, since they first debuted at London burger chain Honest Burgers last year, they now account for around 30% of the restaurants’ entire sales.
The coconut oil sticks on top of the burger and helps seal in the juices as well as giving it the chargrilled texture and appearance beloved by many burger eaters. The subtle inclusion of the beetroot means the burgers have an appropriately reddish appearance, with a real juiciness that stands a good chance of fooling many meat eaters. Beyond Meat products are also packed with protein and contain less saturated fats than their meat equivalents – although this does depend partly on how you cook them.
The next addition to their range will be meat-free sausages, which are set to debut in selected Tesco stores across the UK from the end of September 2019. Costing a cool £4.95 for just two sausages, this is the biggest drawback to Beyond Meat products so far – the expensive research and development cycle required to make them.
“This has taken years to develop and we believe that the difference between a real sausage and Beyond Sausage is indistinguishable” CEO and co-founder of Beyond Meat, Ethan Brown, said in a statement. However, as they achieve more market penetration and recoup their development costs, simple economics dictates that the price will soon fall.
Also stocking these new ‘bangers’, at an even higher price point though no doubt, will be iconic Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton’s new meat free burger chain – Neat Burgers. Opened only last month by the vegan of nearly two years and his business partner, Italian entrepreneur Tommaso Chiabra, Neat Burger has worked with Beyond Meat to develop their own unique version of the commercially available patty.
You’ll be able to try their meatless burgers and sausages for yourself from September the 21st at their first (and currently only) branch near Oxford Circus in Central London.