Kerry’s Richmond brand launches meat-free meatballs in UK as demand for alternative protein soars

UK – Richmond brand, one of Kerry’s most prominent food brands,  has expanded its Meat-Free range by launching new meat-free meatballs and minces in the UK.

The launch comes at a time when there is soaring demand for alternative proteins as consumer tastes and preferences shift away from animal proteins.

According to a recently released report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Blue Horizon Corporation (BHC), the alternative protein market including meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood will reach US$290 billion in value by 2035.

The study also concluded that alternative proteins will account for 11% of all protein products sold by 2035 as well.

If both technological innovation and regulatory pathways are optimized, that total could reach 22% in the same timeframe, the report noted.

Richmond’s new products are made from soy and wheat protein, similar to the two existing products in Richmond’s Meat-Free range, burgers, and sausages, first launched in 2019.

According to Kerry, both new products are Vegan & Vegetarian Society approved and aim to capitalise on the exponential growth of plant-based meat alternatives.

 “We know the meat-free market is booming but we’re seeing a real opportunity for growth in shoppers who are looking for affordable, delicious meat-free food to slot into family favourites – that they know will result in clean plates all round,” said Victoria Southern, marketing and category director at Kerry Foods.

“The launch of Richmond Meat-Free Mince and Richmond Meat-Free Meatballs is a natural expansion of the range as we continue to champion bringing people together at mealtimes.” Southern added.

The alternative protein segment has come a long way since Impossible Foods debuted its first product, the Impossible Burger, in 2016.

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At the onset, price was a major deterrent to the wide adoption as  alternative proteins costed more compared to conventional meat.

The report however notes that price parity with conventional meat products could also be within reach, making alternative protein even more competitive.

According to the report, products with soy, pea and other plant-based protein bases could achieve parity by 2023 while microorganism-based proteins developed from things like fungi and yeast could do so by 2025.

Animal cell-based proteins, which have a close relation to conventional meat, are also projected to be economically comparable by 2032, further accelerating the adoption of animal-free proteins.

The pandemic seems to have added fuel to the alternative protein fire. Sales of plant-based meat products skyrocketed during the pandemic, exceeding sales of conventional meat products, according to Nielsen data.

The Good Food Institute also concluded that grocery stores sold 231% more plant-based products in March 2020 compared to the year prior.

This has made some outlets like think tank RethinkX to predict a major metamorphosis for the conventional meat production industry.

RethinkX predicts the demand for products derived from cattle will drop 70% by 2030 and that beef and dairy companies will see a 90% drop-off in revenue.

With US$3.1 billion invested in alternative proteins in 2020 alone, according to The Good Food Institute, current estimations like the most recent one from BCG and BHC may be striking close to the bullseye.

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