Sainsburys, a UK supermarket, recently made plans to put fake meats in chilled sections alongside the real thing in 400 of their stores, due to the rising numbers of UK vegans (3.5 million), and ‘flexitarians’ (22 million) that want to buy more plant based foods.
This is a big move in the UK as vegan and vegetarian food is normally sold in separate sections within these stores.
The burgers, which are not designed to taste like beef, but have their own meaty texture, come with beetroot juice, which ‘drips like blood’ out of the burger.
Sainsburys made plans to go ahead with the trial run following the ‘major study,’ which claimed that avoiding meat and dairy was the biggest way consumers could reduce their impact upon the Earths environment.
In other countries such as the US, supermarkets have already adopted this marketing strategy with great success, as lookalikes have at times outsold the meat ranges.
Backed by Bill Gates and twitter co founder Biz Stone, the US cult brand Beyond Meat is expanding to other food retailers, including Tesco, who recently sold 40,000 plant based steaks, from food company Vevira in under a week.
Other UK supermarkets have followed suit and are taking advantage of the expanding number of consumers leading a more ‘flexitarian’ lifestyle.
Waitrose have increased their plant-based range by 60% and has an entire section dedicated to vegan food.
With consumers everywhere reaching for their wallets, it seems that Naturli’ Food, who’s burgers are set to land on Sainsburys shelves on June 27th, are just the latest addition to a rapidly expanding plant based food market.
Henrik Lund, Chief Executive of Naturli’ told the Guardian. ‘We’ve developed this product assuming that many people want to eat plants instead of animals, but are afraid of compromising on flavour and maybe even missing out on their favourite dishes such as lasagne or burger patties.’
Its thought that by putting these fake meats in front of a wider range of consumers, that this will encourage people to consider the option as a normal dieting choice rather than one that is strictly for vegans.
The US beef industry recently filed a petition to stop plant based foods from being given similar names to actual meats because this might mislead customers.
France meanwhile has banned companies from putting words like sausage, bacon or mince on the labels of fake meat products.
‘It is absolutely incredible that supermarkets feel the need to try and replicate the great British beef burger with a ‘fake’ vegan replica which has beetroot juice as an ingredient to give the impression of fake blood once cooked,’ said butcher Stewart Collins, who won an accolade for best beef burger at Scottish Craft Butcher Awards.
‘All our burgers are 100% Scottish, 100% meat with no imitation or fake ingredients to confuse the consumer.’
However, vegan writer Aine Carlin believes that these fake meats are an important step towards protecting both animals and the environment, as she wrote in the Guardian:
‘Many of us no longer want to be burdened by labels but simply desire to tread as lightly as we can upon this planet, and regard these (plant based) products as beneficial to that journey.’
‘Instead of seeking ways to undermine them, we should be embracing them for our health, the environment and animal welfare.’