NETHERLANDS – Vivera Foodgroup has set a new focus on plant-based food products, following the sale of its chilled and deep-frozen meat products company, Enkco to Dutch Van Loon Group.

As part of the sale, Vivera will retain most of the 100 employees working at the Enkco facility.

The company is looking to more investments and capacity expansion in plant-based products and the divestment gives it room to strong growth opportunities in this category in the European market.

Vivera Foodgroup currently comprises Culifrost (IQF frozen, plant-based meal components) and Dutch Tofu Company (tofu) and the brand Vivera (plant-based meals and meat alternatives).

With the brand Vivera, the group has a strong market position in large parts of Europe and is one of the three largest players in the region.

“We are one of the first companies in the world’s meat industry to say final goodbye to meat,” said Willem van Weede, CEO of Vivera Foodgroup.

“From now on we only focus on plant-based foods which are really conquering the world.

“More and more consumers are discovering that plant-based products can be just as tasty as real meat and have many benefits for personal health, environmental impact and animal welfare.

“As a result of the sale of our meat activities we think we can boost even more Vivera’s rapid international growth.”

The future is plant-based

Vivera says it is entering a meatless future with the remaining plant-based companies underpinning its focus on healthier and sustainable food which is gaining traction among consumers.

To meet the needs of the rapidly developing market demand, the company will invest in expansions of production capacity and new products.

This includes expansion of production capacity at its plant in Netherlands in the third quarter of 2019.

The company has a production of more than one million plant-based products per week and is banking on product development to meet thee changing consumer tastes for healthier and sustainable products.

In May 2018, Vivera launched its 100% plant-based steak in Europe, first sold in Tesco supermarkets.

It has recently expanded its plant-based range with products such as Pulled Veggie, Shawarma Kebab and Veggie Quarter Pounder which are available at many large retailers in Europe.

To further target this growing segment, the group said it is actively expanding innovation investments.

According to Innova Market Insights, there was 58% increase in product launches recorded with a vegan claim in 2015 from 2014, with a further 35% increase in 2016 from 2015.