The race to meet rising demand for vegetarian meals is heating up as Nestle unveiled plans to introduce its plant-based burgers across Europe and the U.S. this year. The company is looking to take a bite of the fast-growing vegan foods market with a range of plant-based burgers. It claims that the new recipes could compete for taste with traditional beef patties.
The world’s biggest packaged foods group, Nestle, is trying to defend its place in consumers’ shopping carts by making products healthier, with less salt and sugar, and by introducing ranges more in line with modern eating habits. The company is well known for KitKat bars and Nescafe instant coffee.
As consumers reduce their meat intake, food companies are rushing in with alternatives. Demand for meat-free foods is increasing fast. As per the data from last year, the total U.S. retail sales of plant-based meat substitutes grew more than 23 percent to exceed $760 million, according to Nielsen sales data analysed by The Good Food Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting plant-based alternatives.
Food makers also say their latest offerings are tasty enough to tempt more meat eaters’ palates.
Nestle said in a statement, “Many consumers recognise that less meat in their diet is good for them and for the planet, but plant-based meat alternatives often do not live up to their expectations.”
The company stated that its meat-free burgers are going to be launched in several European markets this month under the Garden Gourmet “Incredible Burger” brand and made from soy and wheat protein with beetroot, carrot, and bell pepper extracts, tasted almost exactly like traditional beef burgers.
The group will start rolling out a plant-based range dubbed “Awesome Burgers” under its Sweet Earth brand from this autumn.