Just the veganning…

With the month of ‘Veganuary’ offering the perfect opportunity for health-conscious consumers to try out even more plant-based products, it’s important to ensure your offering doesn’t disappoint, writes Gillian Hamill


Brand Central

21 January 2022 | 0

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Consumer demand for plant-based food is growing rapidly and exponentially and the market is set to grow even further this year. Food Matters Live reports that whilst almost all types of food are available in vegan form these days, there are still some areas that need further research and development, such as fish and cheese alternatives. In 2022, more proteins from vegetables to be used in plant-based meat alternatives will be making an appearance; keep an eye on cabbage and potatoes.

A pan-European survey, by ProVeg International in partnership with Innova Market Insights, the University of Copenhagen, and Ghent University as part of the Smart Protein project, has indicated that there is a significant shift towards plant-based eating taking place across the continent.

The survey published in November 2021, examined consumers’ perceptions of plant-based products. These include that nearly half of flexitarians (45%) think that there are not enough plant-based choices in supermarkets, restaurants, etc. 48% would like more information about plant-based products. Nearly two-thirds of flexitarians (61%) trust that foods based on plant protein are safe, and also think that they are accurately labelled (60%). The research also found that flexitarians trusted plant-based proteins the most, followed by fungi and algae-based proteins.

“The survey suggests tremendous potential for plant-based foods in Europe and gives a green light to all relevant players in the field to develop more and better products. Consumer demand for alternative proteins is growing at a remarkable rate, with no end in sight,” said Jasmijn de Boo, vice president, ProVeg International.

One pertinent example which shows just how popular plant-based alternatives have become in Ireland is the announcement by McDonald’s earlier this month of the national roll-out of its plant-based offering, the McPlant, to all restaurants across Ireland since Wednesday, 5 January 2022, following a successful trial last year. The McPlant, which took over three years to develop, features a patty co-developed with Beyond Meat and the fast food giant reports that it has already proved hugely successful with McDonald’s customers.

With more and more consumers looking for plant-based options, it’s important to have a varied range on your shelves and in fridges.

Biggest brand evolution yet

The team at Denny have been experts in meat for over 200 years and recent years have seen the brand’s biggest evolution yet as it moved into the meat free arena for the first time. The first products launched as part of the new range were the Meat Free Sausages, Burgers and Mince. This move paid off for Denny, as it quickly established itself as the fastest growing chilled meat free brand, with the number one chilled meat free product with its meat free sausages*.

Denny has always recognised emerging trends in the industry and caters to the changing needs of consumers. 2021 saw the brand embrace the opportunity to expand its Denny Meat Free range, with the launch of its Unbelievably Meat Free Ham and Chicken Style Deli Slices. Denny has also expanded its Meat Free breakfast offering to include delicious Meat Free Bacon and White Pudding. These tasty new products have been developed using soya protein, coconut oil and the famous Henry Denny signature seasoning, which delivers the great and delicious taste of Denny. Denny remains the fastest growing meat free brand in Ireland*.

The Denny Meat Free range is available nationwide. Prices range from €2.50 – €3.50 (RRP)

*(Source: Dunnhumby 52-week data up to 14/11/21)

Give plant-based a go

The Happy Pear is encouraging everyone to incorporate more plant-based meals into their weekly repertoire this new year.

In 2022, Dave and Steve from The Happy Pear are on a mission to encourage everyone to eat more plant-based, doing better for themselves and the planet.

The good news is that even adopting — just one plant-based meal into your week couldn’t be easier, with the help of The Happy Pear.

The brand’s range, available at SuperValu, Centra and Daybreak stores nationwide makes incorporating plant-based meals the easy option. With everything you need, from ready-made meals, breakfast options, a full range of dinner-ready sauces, super snacks and everything in-between, The Happy Pear is your one-stop-shop for giving plant-based a go this January.

The Happy Pear range includes super snacks such as the Coconut Bliss, Chocoluv Brownie and Mighty Millionaire bars

The simple fact is, eating more plant-based meals is better for you, and better for the planet. By pledging to make one simple meal-swap with The Happy Pear, you’ll be doing your part for the planet while nourishing your body with delicious food made with natural everyday ingredients.

Dave and Steve say: “We feel passionately that eating plant-based is easy and achievable for everybody. With our range, we aim to make the swap easier than ever. We have everything you need to make the move into eating plant-based the easy option, no matter who you are and what your lifestyle is. The new year is the perfect time to give it a go. Everyone is looking to be a bit healthier and make less of an impact on the planet and going plant-based is an easy switch you can do to make this happen, even if it is just for one meal or one day a week.”

The Happy Pear range is stocked in SuperValu, Centra and Daybreak stores nationwide.

Join the conversation at #HappyPearNewYear #TheHappyPear #eatmoreveg.

Instagram: @supervalu_irl @centra_irl @thehappypear.

Darragh Flynn

Q&A with…Darragh Flynn, director, The Happy Pear

Q: Inspiring people to improve their health by eating more veg is central to The Happy Pear’s ethos. What are some of the benefits of eating a plant-based diet?

A: A wholefood plant-based diet is super high in nutrients, low in calories, low in saturated fat and naturally high in fibre which is essential for our immune system. What’s more, a wholefood plant-based diet is the only diet clinically proven to reverse and prevent heart disease.

The Happy Pear Lentil & Sweet Potato Dahl Meal Pot is a beautifully creamy coconut dahl packed with sweet potato, spinach and brown rice

We have seen plant-based diets transform more than 50,000 people through our Happy Pear online courses, where we work with gastroenterologists, cardiologists, dieticians and performance psychologists to help our users through this process and transform their wellbeing for the better by eating a whole food plant-based diet.

Q: Through its One Week Plant-based Challenge, The Happy Pear gives consumers the tools they need to sustain a plant-based diet in the long term. What advice do you have for those making the switch for the first time?

A: Going all in works best for some people but taking it slow and going step by step is a tangible way for most of us. Our food habits are typically very habitual, so starting with swapping out one meal each week and building from there is key. Maybe it’s going meat-free on Monday or picking one lunch or breakfast; the important thing is to give it a go and build on this. If you want easy healthy hacks, try one of our 60 delicious plant-based products across soups, meals, salads, granola, pizzas, sausages or if you need recipes, there are more than 500 recipes on our Happy Pear YouTube channel, all are free, and we’ve had more than 40 million views on them with lots of the recipes taking only five minutes.

The Happy Pear Mexican Style Chilli Meal Pot is a heartwarming chilli with peppers, black and kidney beans and brown rice

Q: What are some common misconceptions Irish consumers have about plant-based eating? How does The Happy Pear hope to change those misconceptions?

A: Here are some common misconceptions:

  • Plant-based foods are tasteless.

We have created 60 delicious tasting plant-based products, many of them award-winning, where we have focused on ensuring they taste great first and be healthy and nutritious, with many of them being two of your five-a-day.

  • Plant-based foods cost more.

Vegetables and lentils are less expensive than meat or dairy, so focusing on eating whole food plant-based will be lighter on your pocket.

  • I’m going to become a skinny, hippy vegan person.

David and Stephen have been eating this way for over 20 years now, and they are a proven example that eating a whole food plant-based diet can assist people in becoming strong and healthy. Our family just won Ireland’s Fittest Family Celebrity Edition over Christmas, which is a testament to our whole food plant-based diet.

  • The Happy Pear has a range of pestos to suit every preference

    The Happy Pear has a range of pestos to suit every preference

    I’m going to become part of a cult

Health is such an essential factor in terms of well-being and happiness, and eating more veg, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds is a proven factor to assist your health and has also been proven to be beneficial for our planet.

Q: With more Irish consumers embracing vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diets than ever before, how does The Happy Pear ensure it stands out in an increasingly competitive market?

A: We’ve been around nearly 20 years now, published five cookbooks and have almost 50m YouTube views of our recipes. We feel we bring practical experience to life and deliver it in a human, light-hearted, fun way which we feel is accessible for people of all ages.

The Happy Pear Spicy Red Pepper Pesto is a real flavour explosion – it’s bright, spicy and a little creamy

We also have vibrant Happy Pear fixtures in SuperValu and Centra stores as well as Daybreak and independent stores, where consumers can browse our full range of products. We’re in this to change lives for the better and the long game and are committed to making plant-based products available to Irish consumers.

Q: The Happy Pear has played an integral role in the rising popularity of plant-based eating in Ireland. What do you think the future of the Irish plant-based market looks like?


A: We believe the future of the Irish plant-based market will be more whole food plant-based based and less junk food vegan. Right now, we have an extensive range of retail products from breakfast granolas to midmorning snacks, lunch options right through to family dinners. We believe there will be even more meal solutions across all dayparts and more ingredient box type solutions where consumers can expand their plant-based repertoire.

The Happy Pear Thai Red Curry Meal Pot is a deliciously creamy curry with edamame beans, baby corn and brown rice

We expect stronger links between consumers and local farmers with awareness of where our food is coming from and how it is being grown continuing as consumers push for more transparency.

Q: What marketing and innovation plans does The Happy Pear have in store for 2022?

A: We have an exciting plan for 2022. This January, we have a full 360⸰ campaign challenging consumers to ‘Eat More Plant-Based’ because powered by plants is better for you and the planet. Our communications will be seen across bus shelters and 6-sheets, via digital display advertising, on national radio, on all our social media channels, and in-store in participating Centra and SuperValu stores as well as Daybreak and independent stores nationwide.

Happy Pear sauces make it easy to rustle up a healthy, tasty meal

2022 will see The Happy Pear expanding our retail product range into some inspiring new categories – more to come on this soon, however, we expect to launch 20 new great food solutions for customers this year, enabling them to eat healthier plant-based foods.

The Happy Pear online educational courses continue to be a key priority for the brand, with our new Happy Pear lifestyle App now available on both iOS and Android with new key features.

We will also be launching a community farm at the scale of 2 acres focused on producing high quality, organic food for the local surroundings (the wider Greystones area) with a key focus on regenerative agriculture, building soil and increasing biodiversity.

Dublin vegan Aisling Cullen created the Thanks Plants range

Wholesome ingredients

One-to-watch within plant-based products for 2022 is wholesome meatless meat brand, Thanks Plants. Created by Dublin vegan Aisling Cullen, she was fed up of buying meat substitutes for her family that contained ingredients that she didn’t understand, so she set out to create her own products with ingredients that are as wholesome as possible. The range comprises three flavoured sausages in Apple & Sage, Sundried Tomato & Herb and a Frankfurter. There is also a roast dinner centrepiece called the Everyday Roast, stuffed with wild rice and apricots, and a seasonal Festive Roast.

The Thanks Plants range includes flavoured sausages and roasts with exciting plans for new additions in the pipeline this year

“We have lots of plans for 2022,” says Cullen. “This starts with a move into a larger kitchen where we will be rolling out our products nationwide. We also have new products in the pipeline for this year including Chorizo Crumbles which will be great on pizzas or in a taco, and a Spring Roast at Easter which is a lamb alternative stuffed with roast potatoes, red peppers and rosemary. We also intend to extend our foodservice capabilities as we get a lot of enquiries from restaurants, cafes and takeaways.”

Thanks Plants products are currently available in SuperValu stores around Dublin and in good independent stores.

Outstanding oats!

High in fibre and providing a source of energy, Flahavan’s Granolas are packed full of real fruit pieces, nuts and seeds as well as Flahavan’s finest Irish oats

Flahavan’s is one of Ireland’s most trusted family food brands and has been providing consumers with wholesome, natural oat-based products for seven generations. Based in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford the company prides itself on the simplicity and consistent quality of its product range which comes not only from its unique milling expertise, but also from sourcing the highest quality oats from local farmers based within 60 miles of its mill.

Recognising changing patterns in consumer behaviour around health and the growing trend toward plant-based diets, Flahavan’s is well-positioned to cater to the needs of consumers embracing a vegan way of life with its wide range of traditional and organic porridge offerings.  Porridge is a simple breakfast solution for vegan consumers – a single-ingredient oat product providing energy, fibre and nutrients to help fuel busy lives.

Flahavan’s added two new vegan-friendly products to its Granola range last summer – No Added Sugar Raisin, Cashew & Almond and No Added Sugar Strawberry & Almond. High in fibre and providing a source of energy, these new granolas are packed full of real fruit pieces, nuts and seeds as well as Flahavan’s finest Irish oats, toasted to perfection.

The Flahavan’s Oat Drinks range contains no added sugar and offers a deliciously subtle oaty flavour

The latest addition to Flahavan’s vegan-friendly Irish Oaty Flapjacks range is Chocolate & Hazelnut, combining rich Belgian dark chocolate and roasted hazelnut pieces for a deliciously indulgent taste experience. Made with over 40% wholegrain oats, each flapjack provides 7% of your daily fibre requirement, helping fill the energy gap between meals. Other varieties in the range include Original, Choc Chip, Dark Choc & Orange, and Cranberry & Orange.

Launched in August 2020, Flahavan’s range of Oat Drinks includes Barista, Vitamin Rich and Organic varieties. Made with Irish oats, the Flahavan’s Oat Drinks range contains no added sugar and offers a deliciously subtle oaty flavour, which has proven extremely popular among Irish consumers of plant-based drinks.

As consumer demand shifts more toward healthy vegan-friendly breakfast, snacking and drink offerings, Flahavan’s product range will continue to evolve and expand to cater to this market’s needs. Flahavan’s is a proud member of Love Irish Food.

You’ve got the power!

Birds Eye Green Cuisine successfully moved into the chicken-free segment last year

‘You’ve Got the Power’ with Birds Eye Green Cuisine this Veganuary. Green Cuisine is a plant-based brand which consists of ‘veg foods’ and ‘meat substitutes’. The perfect brand for vegans, flexitarians and consumers who simply want to reduce meat intake in their family dinners. Since launch, Birds Eye has invested increased media and trade spend for the Green Cuisine brand year-on-year. 2021 saw the launch of Green Cuisine into ‘chicken-free’, with a range of small pieces (dippers, strips and nuggets), and more recently, larger pieces (grills and burgers). In 2022, the brand continues to optimise investment further with a fully integrated Veganuary campaign supported above-the-line through TVC, VOD, digital partnerships and social, through to in-store activity.

With a robust pipeline in place, integrated with exciting activity plans, there is a lot more to come for the Green Cuisine brand in 2022.

Serving up global flavours

Galmere’s Roots and Shoots Vegan Meal Bowls range of slow-cooked, globally inspired dishes is set to refresh consumer taste buds in 2022. Fresh from having won a 2021 Great Taste Award for Roots and Shoots, Galway-based Galmere was also awarded Gold membership in 2021’s Bord Bia’s Origin Green sustainability programme.

With its rainbow of flavours, set to make January taste sensational, Roots and Shoots is available in selected Tesco Ireland stores and Joyce’s of Galway as well as Avoca. And for a limited January period, Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland will feature Roots and Shoots as a special across the 32 counties.

According to Galmere CEO, John Casey: “With Roots and Shoots we wanted to create an innovative range of calorie friendly, healthy meals for busy people, who also want dishes that inspire. So, for example, Kerala Aubergine Curry has just 256 calories, while Green Lentil Dahl has just over 400 calories, so this is a perfect low-calorie way to try out meat-free meals. They are all perfect for someone who would like to try a Veganuary approach and have a reset while not losing any of the flavour.”

To find out more about Galmere’s ranges including Roots and Shoots’ collection of award-winning vegan meal bowls, visit: www.galmere.ie and  www.rootsandshoots.com/. For trade queries, contact the sales team on +353 (0) 91 751 796 or email: sales@galmere.ie.

Sweet news for vegans

Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, Rowntree’s Fruit Gums and Rowntree’s Pick&Mix are now vegan friendly

Rowntree’s, one of Ireland’s most popular confectionery brands has further extended its vegan friendly range with Rowntree’s Fruit Gums and Rowntree’s Pick&Mix joining the full range of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles sweets using a new vegan-friendly recipe.

Rowntree’s priority was to develop a deliciously chewy recipe suitable for those following vegetarian, vegan and religious diets

“We’ve had many requests from consumers over the years asking if we can make our range vegetarian or vegan,” says Maria McKenna, confectionery marketing manager, Nestlé Ireland. “We want the brand to be enjoyed by as many consumers as possible and so we were delighted to be able to introduce our new vegan friendly recipe across the full range of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles sweets in 2020. We are now extending that even further with the launch of vegan friendly Rowntree’s Fruit Gums and Rowntree’s Pick&Mix.

“In developing the new formulation, we were very conscious of our responsibility as custodians of this much-loved brand and its long history,” she adds. “Through this recipe change, we’ve made the sweets slightly softer, which we know has been a market trend for a number of years. However, our priority was to develop a recipe which is as deliciously chewy as it has ever been, whilst at the same time being suitable for those following vegetarian, vegan and religious diets.”









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