Be it for health, lifestyle, or dietary reasons, Irish consumers have thoroughly embraced free from products, leading to double-digit value and volume growth in both 2021 and 2020. Fionnuala Carolan reports on an ever growing sector which is expected to gain even more traction this year
20 June 2022 | 0
Free from includes gluten free, lactose free and dairy free products, ingredients that many people believe inhibit their health or foods that cause them allergies or discomfort when eaten regularly.
In its ‘Free From in Ireland’ report, published January 2022, Euromonitor said free from will register the highest constant value growth of all health and wellness packaged foods over the forecast period, with free from dairy, followed by free from meat, continuing to be the largest product areas in terms of value sales, as well as also registering the highest constant value growth. ShelfLife looks at the many new and established brands on the market.
40 years of plant-based!
Proud to be the pioneer of plant-based eating and drinking, Alpro has been creating delicious plant-based drinks, alternatives to yogurt, cream, custard and desserts for more than 40 years. The brands mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible and Alpro knows that in real life, healthy comes with an (ish) – because life happens.
Leading the food revolution and making plant-based a positive choice for the planet and its people, Alpro is the number one in the plant-based drinks and yogurts category with 66.9% MAT Value share*. Made from either non-GM soya beans, coconuts, almonds, hazelnuts, rice, or oats, the Alpro range gives Irish consumers the widest choice in plant-based dairy alternatives. 2022 is an exciting year for Alpro with the launch of “This is Not M*lk”, it’s closest tasting product to dairy, which will push Alpro to a whole new audience who are eager to grab a creamy milk-like experience but is 100% plant-based.
*(Source: Nielsen Total Scantrack ending 24 April 2022)
For the milk lovers
Plant-based category leader, Alpro, is planning to make its biggest splash yet in the chilled aisle with the launch of its new ‘This is not M*lk’ range, set to excite the tastebuds of milk-loving shoppers.
Alpro’s latest innovation, ‘This is not M*lk’ is made from oats and has been created to match the taste of dairy milk as closely as possible and comes in both semi (1.8% fat) and whole (3.5%) variants.
Available in 1 litre recyclable packs (RRP – €2.79, promo offer €2.00), Alpro ‘This is not M*lk’ can be used in a number of ways, including in hot drinks, over cereal, in cooking and baking – or simply enjoyed as it is.
Rolling into Supervalu, Centra, Tesco, Henderson Group (Spar and Eurospar NI), and BWG group (Spar and Eurospar ROI) stores nationwide, Alpro ‘This is not M*lk’ will be supported with disruptive in-store theatre to capture shoppers’ attention, a targeted sampling, PR and social media and outdoor advertising campaign is also planned.
Message in a bottle
Fused by Fiona Uyema has partnered with the Irish Red Cross to launch two new spicy sauces to aid humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine. 100% of the profits of both sauces will support humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled.
Made according to founder Fiona’s recipes with 100% natural ingredients, Fused’s Katsu Curry Ketchup and Japanese Style Hot Sauce contains no refined sugars, additives or preservatives. The two spicy sauces also sport blue and yellow labels in a nod to the Ukrainian flag.
Both sauces are now available to buy online at fusedbyfionauyema.com for €3.99, with 100% of profits going to the Irish Red Cross’s vital work in Ukraine for the first six months after their launch.
Speaking about the intention behind the initiative, Fused founder Fiona Uyema said: “After making an initial donation to support the relief efforts, as the sad and shocking events continued to unfold in Ukraine, we reflected on how we as a small business could continue to contribute.”
For retailer listing enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just like honey
Local wholefoods brand Homespun has introduced a vegan alternative to honey called Chicory Root syrup. According to its founder Erica Sheehan, “Chicory root syrup looks just like honey but has a less intense sweetness reflecting its low sugar content, just 14g per 100g. It’s ideal for anyone monitoring sugar intake, and is low glycaemic index and diabetic friendly,” she says.
“The sugars in Chicory root syrup are up to 70% lower than honey, maple syrup or agave. And it has almost 50% of the calories of honey and 20% of the carbohydrates. In addition, Chicory root syrup is high in inulin or prebiotic fibre, which is beneficial for gut health and digestion.”
Versatile and tasty, Chicory syrup can be enjoyed drizzled on pancakes and porridge, stirred into hot and cold beverages and is an ideal low sugar sweetener in cooking and baking.
It is available in SuperValu, Tesco, Nourish at Dunnes Stores, Avoca and on Homespun.ie and retailing at €4.99.
Free from ice cream
2022 has been a hugely positive start for Dairyglen with the addition of nearly 300 new accounts so far this year and the expansion of its vegan product line to include two new dairy-free soft-serve mixes. The range now offers both powder and liquid options to compliment all machine types and features a variety of plant-based toppings, syrups, cones and an exclusive vegan Nutella luxury sauce.
Free from dairy, gluten and nuts, the vegan soft-serve mix offers no compromise on taste with the same luxurious, creamy flavour of the Irish 99 you know and love. The mix is 100% vegan certified and suitable for anyone with milk allergies or lactose intolerance.
“We’re really excited by the new additions to our vegan range. Typically, vegan alternatives mean a compromise for the consumer which naturally affects sales for the retailer. We’ve worked tirelessly over the last two years to develop a range that means no trade-off on taste, flavour or texture is necessary. Most of the team here in Dairyglen have a background in retail so we know what retailers typically look for and we try to combine that with the expectation of the Irish consumer,” explains a Dairyglen representative.
Recognising the growing value of plant-based alternatives in the Irish market, Dairyglen is proud to offer a complete package that includes everything from mix, to compostable packaging and a range of machines to suit. “Vegan soft-serve has been on the up for a while now but it’s never come close to matching the taste and texture that the Irish people have come to look for from Irish dairy soft-serve. We can happily say we’ve solved that problem. We’ve created a range with no compromise for consumers or retailers bottom line. It’s a win-win for everyone”
Supreme Indian street food
Vada Pow’s award-winning vegan Spiced Potato Cakes and Croquette Tikka Masala are now on sale nationwide in Farm Foods stores, bringing authentic Indian street food to UK homes. This unique range of frozen vegan and vegetarian products may be inspired by Indian street food but are very different from stereotypical Indian curry products.
Vada Pow’s founder, Naveen Bachani, who has lived and worked in Ireland for many years, spotted a gap in the market when street food began to gain popularity, driven by consumer curiosity and a desire to explore new flavours. He looked to the flavours of his native Bhopal, India and created a fusion of tastes using Indian spices and premium, natural ingredients from Irish suppliers, including of course, potatoes. All products in the range are designed to be tasty, convenient but most of all, authentic. They can be eaten on their own, as a snack or as part of a more substantial meal, and as they naturally contain no animal products, are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
The full range comprises Spiced Potato Cake – fortified with turmeric, fresh herbs and ground spices and Croquette Tikka Masala – vegan-friendly potato croquettes loaded with herbs and tikka masala spices.
Since April, Farm Foods stores have stocked the Spiced Potato Cake and Croquette Tikka Masala which have proved so popular that follow-up orders have already been placed. This sales success could have been partly driven by the Croquette Tikka Masala’s recent silver medal achievement in the UK Free From Food Awards in the Prepared Meal category.
“I am delighted that Farm Foods in the UK are stocking two of the range and hope that other stockists will follow suit,” said Bachini. “Indian street food is definitely a growth area and Vada Pow’s enables consumers to easily recreate the experience at home thanks to our unique blend of authentic herbs and spices and Irish potatoes.”
For more information, and to stock Vada Pow, visit www.vadapow.com.
A true pioneer
An original food pioneer, Linda McCartney believed in great tasting, honest, meat free food and the shared pleasure that eating well could bring.
Those involved in the brand today, including the McCartney family, are dedicated to sharing Linda’s passion for wholesome cooking with everyone.
The team are inspired daily by Linda’s enthusiasm for celebrating life through good food. And so, the brand’s unique range never compromises on taste or quality and is made with care and compassion.
“How we’re doing our bit”
Linda McCartney embraced kindness and compassion in everything she did and this continues to run through what the company does today.
The brand takes its social responsibility seriously and is on a mission to be good to the planet in every way it can, from ingredients to packaging, and everything in between. Linda McCartney’s products are available in all good Irish retailers. For more information, contact email@example.com.