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Meat- and dairy-free foods ‘ripe for innovation’

"Since the horse meat scandal broke, it seems that companies have been falling over themselves to go ‘back to British’, promising 100 per cent UK sourcing."

justin hughes, PA SUPPLY CHAIN expert

Rick Pendrous

Food Manufacture

2 October 2013



PA Consulting Group’s Roger Roberts, a food and drink industry specialist, is quoted in an article on the meat and dairy-free products sector. Roger claims that, as the meat and dairy sectors struggle against the challenges of increasing ingredients costs, compounded by the health and ethical questions related to animal-based food production, manufacturers should investigate the potential offered by plant-based alternatives.

Roger says: “This is something that is really going to take off in the next five to 10 years … There are lots of processed products where there is meat and dairy, which will be disappearing surprisingly fast as competition gets more fierce.”

Roger goes on to talk about the potential in the egg-free market: “The market for meat-free, fish-free, dairy-free and egg-free foods is booming – and expected to grow by 44% to £1.25bn over the next four years, as customers look for equally tasty, meat, fish and dairy alternatives (also known as analogues) … Nutritious, inexpensive and environmentally-friendly animal-free foods, indistinguishable from ‘real’ meat and dairy, are already starting to enter our supermarkets, corner shops and supply chains.”

Roger goes on to explain: “If you can produce the same product for a lot less cost – because meat and dairy is a relatively inefficient way of producing food – then that has got to be good news for British manufacturing … I’m thinking of mass products for the majority of people; I’m talking about Tesco, Sainsbury’s, whatever, where there will be this replacing going on but within established products where people won’t even notice the difference – except the companies will because it will help to increase margins.”

Roger also points out the significance of Bill Gates’s involvement in the sector: “Bill Gates’s involvement is significant. Along with a number of other well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalists, including Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, and Evan Williams and Biz Stone, co-founders of Twitter, Gates has been investing in cutting-edge R&D to find more sustainable alternatives to traditional meat and dairy production.”

Roger concludes: “The economics are persuasive…Alternative products derived from plant-based components mean that food companies can deliver the same taste and texture experience for a fraction of the cost".

“Not only are profits greater when animals are removed from the process but there is also more scope for producing wider varieties and flavours, which can only be good for business and future growth.”


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