Neighbourhood Retailer speaks to business manager Ireland for Quorn Foods, Glenn McCracken on how their innovative range of alternative proteins is well placed to be ahead of the curve as consumers become increasingly more susceptive to a meat free lifestyle.
In Neighbourhood Retailer’s experience, speaking to retailers across the region has unveiled a clear consumer trend for leading a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle – an idea that meat alternative brand Quorn can get behind.
Quorn Meats, a brand name long synonymous with the vegetarian industry, has experienced considerable growth in the past few years, gaining more market share than ever before. Quorn’s business manager Ireland, Glenn McCracken told Neighbourhood Retailer: “We are well established in Northern Ireland, especially within the multiples channel but we have seen huge growth within the symbols and convenience sector too.
“The meat free market is growing at an exceptional rate in both chilled and freezer ranges and we are experiencing increasing demand for our products as the Northern Irish market becomes more aware of meat free alternatives and the health benefits associated with them.”
Remarkably, Glenn comments that three quarters of Quorn’s consumers are non vegetarian. “This is a result of people wanting to decrease their consumption of meat and events like ‘World Meat Free Day’, ‘Veganuary’, and ‘Vegetarian Week’ have been brought about by consumers who are actively reducing their meat consumption and sometimes taking meat out of their diet completely.”
Quorn Meats believe that consumers are adopting meat reduced diets for a number of different reasons, with the top three motivators being; concern for animal welfare, awareness of their own health, and environmental conscience regarding the health of the planet.
Glenn said: “We are increasingly seeing that younger consumers aged 15-24 are leading the way for meat reduced diets.
A Sustainable Lifestyle
“Data released by Charter House in 2014 outlined that intensive meat production emits more greenhouse gas emissions each year than all the transport in the world. As this is being taught in schools and universities, younger students are taking a stance on how the food they eat impacts the planet.”
As Quorn mince produces 90 per cent less GHG emissions than beef mince and uses 90 per cent less land and water, the brand is already seeing the benefit in their sales as younger consumers seek out more ethical alternatives to meats.
With a hugely varied range, non meat eaters can still enjoy great tasting meals with their family when consuming Quorn products.
“We are finding lines like chilled sausages and burgers are really popular as they help provide consumers with alternatives to their favourite meat products.
“Family is at the forefront of Quorn and our current TV campaign highlights Quorn nuggets which are a key seller and a healthier alternative to their meat counterpart. They taste great too!”
In addition to being more sustainable, Glenn is keen to point out the health benefits Quorn products provide.
“We are seeing increased scientific data that shows alternative proteins, such as the main source in Quorn, is as effective at building and maintaining muscle mass as the whey protein which is the protein source currently considered the ‘gold standard’ in research circles.”
The Quorn brand has just launched a video promotion with Jermain Defoe talking about the correlation between meat reduction and good performances in sport.
“We have seen an increasing number of athletes advocate a vegetarian and vegan lifestyles including Lewis Hamilton who has recently turned vegan and the World’s Strongest Man who has an entirely meat free diet.
“The era of ‘beefing up’ on meat is becoming a thing of the past in sport.”
Quorn Meats are especially proud of the blend of protein and fibre in their products which Glenn believes will be a huge talking point among consumers in the future.
He said: “Gut health is becoming increasingly more prevalent in our society and we are currently assisting Imperial College London with research that suggests a causal mechanism between the consumption of mycoprotein (the main protein source in Quorn) and the reversal of type two diabetes, the biggest obesity killer in the developed world.”
Growing the Brand
Quorn also believes that price will be a major challenge for the meat industry in the future as global demand for meat soars.
“We believe the meat free category will grow considerably as consumers recognise they can eat more healthily and sustainably with meat alternative products and likely deliver better value meals,” Glenn said.
In 2018, Quorn Meats will be growing their brand to keep up with consumer demand. Glenn commented: “The key to growing this category is visibility in-store. We are investing more than ever in the brand and we need to replicate this with distribution and off-shelf promotions to drive category growth.”
Quorn has plans to launch NPD including ready meals and vegan deli meats to help drive the category and also give consumers more choice and convenience when it comes to eating meat free.
“Longer term, we believe that consumers will become increasingly motivated to reduce their meat consumption,” said Glenn. “We will continue to invest in communications, to raise awareness of the need for meat reduction, and with strong category growth we need retailers to drive the visibility of this category to drive this trend.
“We are committed to helping the population of Northern Ireland enjoy great tasting meals with the added benefit that they will likely be reducing calories, and saturated fat in their diet, as well as having less impact on the planet,” he concluded.
For more information on Quorn products visit: quorn.co.uk