Equals is a range of fresh plant-based products designed to have the texture and flavour to “equal the meat-eating experience to appeal to meat reducers and non-meat eaters alike”.
The first product to launch is a two-pack of meat-free quarter pounders made from a mix of seasoned pea and soy proteins.
The Equals range is made at ABP’s Eatwell meat-free processing facility in Liverpool. A spokesman for ABP told Food Manufacture that the new range did not require any significant processing investment due to the existing set-up at the facility.
Darren Jones, commercial director for ABP UK, said: “We are very excited about our first fresh brand launch into the meat free category. Our core business is and will remain in beef, but we recognise the growing demand for products that fit a flexitarian and meat-free lifestyle. As a business we have long invested in understanding market and consumer trends and we have a keen interest in exploring opportunities that provide consumers with choice.”
The Equals brand launch is being supported by a £250,000 in-store marketing and social media campaign and will be available in Asda stores this week.
The processor has plans to extend listings to other retailers and foodservice providers over the coming months. The move is part of the company’s multi-million pound investment in its branded and ready-to-cook meat and meat-free solutions, which complement ABP’s core processing business.
When launching the range, ABP UK cited Kantar Worldpanel research that showed a growing demand for meat-free alternatives from consumers. The study showed that one in 12 households now included some aspect of meat-free alternatives as part of their weekly diet, while demand for vegetarian meal options by consumers had grown by 8% over the past five years.
This isn’t the business’ first foray into meat-free. It first entered the meat-free category in 2011 and since then it has grown to become the UK market leader for the production of own-label vegetable-based meat-free products.
In June, GlobalMeatNews is hosting The Future of Plant-based Proteins Conference in Amsterdam. Featuring presentations from the European Plant-based Food Association, The Good Food Institute and Finnebrogue, it will discuss all elements of the plant-based sector. To book your place, click here.