Licence to kale

With many of the large retailers recently announcing new and expanded vegan ranges, shoppers increasingly expect to find a vegan option on-shelf when they visit their local store – regardless of shop size. Here, we look at the leading product ranges that are increasingly becoming favourites on the shopping lists of both vegan and non-vegan consumers alike

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Brand Central

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19 August 2019 | 0

The rapid growth of vegan foods is clearly illustrated by major retailers’ response to the trend. According to new research from The International Food & Drink Event (IFE), 38% of food and drink businesses were impacted by the plant-based trend in 2018 – demonstrating the influence consumers’ growing interest in health and wellbeing is having on the sector.

In the past five years, food and beverage product launches with a vegan market positioning have achieved an average year-on-year growth of 45% (CAGR, 2013-2017)*. Despite this, more than 90% of vegans still feel that there is a lack of choice when it comes to buying convenience foods.**

Shoppers expect to find a wider range of vegan options than ever, which is why innovative retailers have expanded their ranges accordingly. Marks & Spencer grew its vegan ‘Plant Kitchen’ range earlier this year with the likes of its nattily-named ‘Not’zzarella’ Sticks made with vegan cheese in crispy breadcrumbs and Vegan Mac Bites, following positive feedback to its existing vegan products. “We were absolutely delighted by the response to our Plant Kitchen range when it launched back in January,” said M&S product developer Claire Richardson, “so much so, we set about immediately creating some exciting new products for customers to try. I’m really pleased we’re now able to offer customers some delicious desserts and I challenge anyone to try the Not’zzarella Sticks and be able to tell the difference!”

Tesco Ireland has also highlighted its expanded vegan range, with Joe Manning, commercial director at Tesco Ireland, stating: “In response to growing customer demand we’ve expanded our range to include more variety in vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian foods from an array of different suppliers.”

In May, meanwhile, Applegreen reported a considerable rise in sales since the launch of its vegan sausage roll the previous month. Sales across the Applegreen hot deli increased by 13% since the launch on 29 April and an uplift of 43% was seen across the sausage roll range since the same time last year.

Aaron Duggan, head of food, Applegreen said its success exceeded all expectations.

“As the first retailer in Ireland to sell an Irish-made vegan sausage roll nationwide,” he said, “we had anticipated a certain level of hype, similar to that seen by the success of Greggs’ product launch. “However, the response to ‘The Vegan’ has been far greater than we imagined! ‘The Vegan’ currently accounts for 19% of all our sausage roll sales, far exceeding our expectations.”

Iceland Ireland has also taken a bite out of the plant-based competition with its new Vegan range, a diverse set of 13 tasty vegan dishes, which the supermarket says demonstrates its commitment to food innovation and accessibility. The range is designed to allow customers to cook like they would with meat and provide the solution for those wanting to eat more plant-based foods without sacrificing the taste or texture.

New and innovative offerings include No Porkies Chorizo, the first meat-replicating chorizo, as well as No Chick Chunks, and No Bull Asian Burgers which includes wheat protein seasoned with Asian spices.

Iceland’s head chef Neil Nugent said it’s clear the new range is satisfying consumer demand. “We had tremendous success with the No Bull Burger,” he said, “and it’s clear our customers want more from us. In creating this range, we have embraced the nation’s love for alternative plantbased foods in an innovative and exciting way.

“We created the most extensive and diverse range currently on offer in Ireland that demonstrates just how tasty and inspiring plant-based food can be,” he added. “We’ve also launched ingredients to make it easier for customers to create flavoursome dishes.”

Meanwhile, Aldi has also extended its vegan range ‘The Deli’ . What all this activity goes to show is that the major retailers see a clear value in broadening their vegan ranges, demonstrating the growth in demand that has taken place. Stores that do not cater to this demand could increasingly find themselves missing
a trick.

Fortunately, delivering a strong vegan range does not have to involve a large in-house development team. Several companies have come up with solutions to cater for a whole host of occasions, as we outline below.

*(Innova Market Insights – “Plant-Based Potential: Vegan demands surge, opens the door to future innovation”, October 2018)
**(www.vegansociety.com)

 

Beer raises vegan cheer

Since its launch in December 2016, Hufi has become the go-to beer for the 43,000 coeliacs living in Ireland, as well as a growing number of people choosing to live a gluten-free lifestyle. As well as being gluten-free, Hufi is one of the lowest calorie beers available, with the 33cl bottle containing only 93 calories and the 50cl can containing 140 calories. This makes it very popular amongst gymgoers and people who adhere to low calorie diets.

Hufi has also recently been certified as veganfriendly by the Vegan Society. With over 2% of the population claiming be fulltime vegans, and 8% describing themselves as vegetarian, Hufi manages to meet the growing demand for products that are produced using environmentally-friendly and ethical means.

Low in calories, gluten-free and vegan-friendly, the Hufi 50cl is stocked nationwide in supermarkets and off-licences including Dunnes, SuperValu, Centra, Spar, Fine Wines, Number 21, Molloys Liquor Stores as well as independents.

The 50cl can retails at €1.90 or three for €6. The 33cl bottle is also available in pubs nationwide and usually priced around €4-5. Comans Beverages also offers a range of exclusive wines that are certified vegan-friendly including wines from L’aurate and Trapiche. To start stocking them in your own business, speak to your local Comans Beverages sales representative or call the company directly on 01-466-2700.

 

Bringing nature’s best

Fiid, the Irish plant-based food start-up which launched in December 2018, has just announced further expansion in Irish retail in a deal to supply 75 Tesco stores with its range of nourishing lunch bowls.

Currently stocked by SuperValu as well as Spar stores across Ireland in addition to Ocado in the UK, the deal with Tesco brings the food company’s total number of stores in which it has listings in Ireland to 180.

Fiid brings together nature’s best vegetables, legumes and spices, crafts them into truly crave-inducing plant-based meals and serves them in the single most convenient format possible. The range variants are all natural with no additives or preservatives, high in protein and fibre and made using 50% vegetables, delivering an impressive three of an individual’s five a day.

Key to the range’s success, founder Shane Ryan says, is what he terms the ‘ultimate in convenience’.

“As a society,” Ryan says, “we’ve never been so fluent in terms of what we should eat and what constitutes being healthy, but we’ve also never had so little time. There’s a very clear disconnect between how we aspire to eat and how we have time to eat, which is what motivated the launch. What’s innovative is that the new range of meals are served in a flexible pouch, affording each meal a year-long shelf life meaning they can be kept in a kitchen cupboard, office desk or locker at work.

Ryan adds that “we want people to have access to real nourishing food all the time so finding a cooking method that gave us the shelf life without compromising on quality was the number one priority”.

The company now prepares its meals using the sous vide method which locks in the freshness, cooking each meal to perfection and preserving without the need for any additives or preservatives.

Sausages full of flavour

Aldi has added two new vegan and vegetarian friendly products to its The Deli range. Those looking for healthier, flavoursome meat-free options can now choose from Red Pepper & Butternut Squash Sausages (€2.49) or Masala Roast Cauliflower Sausages (€2.49), both of which are currently on sale in 137 Aldi stores nationwide.

From Sunday morning fry ups to summer barbecues, The Deli vegan sausage range offers a tasty choice. The Red Pepper & Butternut Squash Sausages are made with yellow spilt peas, red pepper, roast butternut squash and parsley, while the Masala Roast Cauliflower Sausages are made with red onion, brown rice and yellow split peas. Plant-based, gluten-free and full of flavour, these products bring Aldi’s current vegan and vegetarian-friendly deli range to ten products. The products are all stocked in Aldi’s 137 stores nationwide.

Extensive vegan selection

Ampersand has a range of award-winning vegan wines available for Irish retailers and consumers. Five wines from its extensive vegan selection have won awards at the Gold Star Irish Wine Show Awards in the past few years. Ampersand’s collection of wines from the iconic Rioja Vega winery are all vegan. Rioja Vega Crianza won the title of Best Old World Red Wine Under €15 at the most recent Irish Wine Show awards and the Semi-Crianza was also awarded a Gold Star and category winner of Best Old World Red Wine Under €10 a couple of years previously.

Rioja Vega recognises its estate depends and nourishes from the environment, thus having an inevitable impact on it. Therefore, the brand defends other important values such as human rights, honesty, development, solidarity, integrity and transparency. The company has carried out several projects relating to social growth, through its co-operation with NGOs such as Intermon, Oxfam and the conservation and preservation of the environment, thanks to a sustainable exploitation of resources.

The Da Vero wines (‘davvero’ meaning ‘really’ or ‘naturally’ in Italian) are Sicily’s largest planters of organic vines. Da Vero Vino Rosso Biologico also won a Gold Star at the recent Irish Wines Show and the accompanying white wine, Da Vero Vino Bianco was awarded a Bronze. This range of wines is becoming extremely popular with the trade and more importantly with consumers as it is organic, vegan and vegetarian, priced at the magic price point of €9.99.

The La Granja range of wines from Ampersand are also vegan and pair perfectly with a wide range of vegan dishes. La Granja is the Spanish name for ‘The Farm’ and has fun and bright, colourful packaging highlighting different animals that will brighten your day from the moment you see them. Originally, the brand was created to entertain consumers and to bring happiness to the world of wine, but it is now a belief that the brand can expand on this and bring some happiness to the wider world where necessary.

La Granja believes that the environment plays a key role in the production of its wines, and therefore wants to contribute towards a sustainable environment. La Granja is also mindful towards all the social and environmental related decisions its team must make. In collaboration with Farm Sanctuary, La Granja also adopts rescued farm animals to contribute towards the improvement of animal welfare.

For more information on these wines, or if you would like more information on Ampersand’s entire vegan collection of wines, contact the sales line on 01 413 0150.

Delicious growth

Starting with a blog, Deliciously Ella has evolved into an app, recipe books, a deli and a highly sought-after range of plant-based food products, including impulse, breakfast options and frozen meals. Deliciously Ella’s popularity is driven by a growing, engaged social media community that currently sits at 2.5 million across all platforms.

Ella, like many of those seeking vegan options, was driven by the much talked about benefits of following a plant-based diet. In addition to being vegan, the product range is gluten-free, free from refined sugar and made with clean, simple ingredients. Deliciously Ella’s loyal and growing customer base has led the brand to grow 96% year-on-year (YOY) in Ireland alone.

The new stars of the show; the nut butter filled balls in hazelnut and almond (RRP: €2.49) are a must-stock and Irish customers are constantly asking Ella where they can get them. Inspired by the love of chocolate and nut butter, cacao and dates are blended together to make chocolatey balls, then filled with creamy nut butter. They are vegan-friendly, glutenfree and taste great. To stock the range, contact Claire.rushe@wholefoods.ie.

Bite of life

Eden is a new, sustainably sourced, chilled food brand. It has introduced a tasty range of five vegetarian and vegan-friendly burgers and bites which are all proudly produced in Ireland. Eden will soon be adding to this range with the introduction of a vegan sausage and an expansion of the bites range.

Eden is stocked in Dunnes Stores, SuperValu, Tesco and a host of independent retailers nationwide with additional UK retailers listing Eden products in the coming months.

The Eden range uses only natural, wholesome and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Ensuring the best taste, the Eden product range is steamed rather than fried, ensuring a flavoursome, honest and better tasting meal option. The Eden range includes burgers in a choice of Curried Cauliflower, Spinach and Feta, Beetroot and Kale or Garden Vegetable and sides of Beetroot and Kale bites.

Eden’s mission is to give the health-conscious more enjoyable eating experiences by creating better quality vegan and vegetarian products that are unrivalled in flavour and texture. The Eden brand vision is to be pioneers for better quality, wholesome and sustainable green meal choices, at the same time as leaving the planet in a better place.

Simplicity, quality and consistency

Flahavan’s is one of Ireland’s most trusted family 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, quality and consistency of its product range which comes from its unique milling expertise, handed down through generations, and sourcing the highest quality oats from local farmers within 60 miles of its mill.

Recognising changing patterns in consumer behaviour around health and the growing trend toward plant-based diets, Flahavan’s products are well placed to cater to the needs of consumers following a vegan way of life. 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 traditional porridge range includes Progress Oatlets, Organic Porridge Oats, Jumbo Oat Flakes, Pinhead Oatmeal and Real Fruit Porridge, all of which are suitable for vegan consumers. Consumers seeking more convenient breakfast offerings can also avail of its range of Quick Oats in drum and sachet formats, many of which are also vegan-friendly.

Vegan-friendly innovation

On-the-go snacking continues to grow and Flahavan’s Flapjacks, which are all vegan-friendly, are helping to drive this growth. Deliciously light and golden with an irresistible crumbly texture, Flahavan’s Flapjacks are made with over 40% wholegrain oats, with each flapjack providing 7% of an individual’s daily fibre intake that can help fill the energy gap between meals.

In order to meet the growing demand for No Added Sugar breakfast offerings, Flahavan’s has recently added a new variant of Hi8 Muesli to its range – Date & Coconut. Along with Hi8 Muesli Original, this product combines a tasty variety of grains, fruits and seeds to provide a tasty, fibre-rich muesli product to appeal to the growing cohort of consumers following healthy, plantbased lifestyles. Flahavan’s Overnight Oats range, which recently expanded to include Cranberry & Chia Seeds, targets younger consumers seeking healthy convenient breakfast solutions for busy lives.

With taste and nutrition at the heart of this vegan-friendly range, Overnight Oats combines premium quality locally-sourced oats, with seeds and fruits to create deliciously simple chilled breakfast offerings. As consumer demand moves toward healthy vegan-friendly breakfast offerings, Flahavan’s product range will continue to evolve and expand to cater to this market’s needs.

A slice of the action

Goodfella’s Vegan Vegetable Salsa Pizza is a range extension to the brand’s hugely successful Goodfella’s Stonebaked Vegan Falafel, launched in April 2018. Following the initial Falafel launch, the Goodfella’s team knew its range extension had to be exciting and offer a different proposition to the Falafel product. Given the now mainstream nature of vegan products, it was critically important to create a product that offers standout and delivers on quality. Consumer insight suggested that Goodfella’s next range extension should contain vegan cheese. Consequently, through extensive product development and supplier collaboration, Goodfella’s has launched a Mexican-style vegan pizza, which the brand is confident delivers an exceptional taste.

Marvellous mayo

Consumers are becoming more conscious of the food they are consuming, which has led to an increase in those following specialist diets. Hellmann’s is responding with a new proposition set to win over younger shoppers with an on-trend mayonnaise, containing no artificial colours or flavours.

The new vegan addition features the deliciously creamy taste that consumers expect from the nation’s favourite mayonnaise brand*.

“The mayonnaise category is in growth** and this is due to brands bringing exciting new flavours and formats to the market,” says Robert Lyons, brand manager for Foods at Unilever Ireland. “To continue to appeal to new shoppers, we are actively investing in key consumer triggers, which is why we are introducing a mayonnaise that taps into the vegan dietary trend.

“Following the successful launch of Vegan Mayo in the US,” Lyons adds, “we’ve had numerous requests from fans wanting us to bring the product to Ireland, which is exactly what we’ve done. With a delicious recipe specially adapted for our consumers, we expect new Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo to bring incremental growth to the mayonnaise category.”

New Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo is available in a premium 270g glass jar, which is 100% recyclable, and will feature a vibrant green visual to create standout on-shelf when positioned with the rest of the Hellmann’s mayonnaise range. The new mayonnaise is available nationwide at an RRP of €2.99 per unit (270g)***.

*(Source: Ireland’s number one mayonnaise brand – Nielsen Scantrack: Total Market, including Discounters, Mayonnaise Value Sales MAT to 16 June 2019)
**(Source: The Mayonnaise market is in growth – Nielsen Scantrack: Total Market, including Discounters, Mayonnaise Value Sales MAT to 16 June 2019)
***(Pricing at sole discretion of retailers)

Because you’re Gorge Us!

Unislim celebrates eating delicious, nutritious food which comes from a reliable source and has therefore selected the best potatoes and finest ingredients for its Gorge Us range. The brand currently has four impressive vegan-friendly products on the market: Unislim Gorge Us Rustic Cut Chips, Sweet Potato Fries, and two new additions; Sweet Potato Wedges and Organic Skinny Fries (the first frozen organic chip on the Irish market).

Where healthy meets delicious, the Gorge Us family offers a wholesome, and great-tasting option for vegans, slimmers and health-conscious foodies. Created by Unislim’s top food experts, the Gorge Us range is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, low in saturated fats, contains no artificial colours, preservatives or flavourings and has been approved by Ireland’s top dieticians. Importantly, Unislim offers premium quality vegan products, with high retailer margins.

As a family-run, Irish-owned company, Unislim also benefits from strong brand recognition, supported by more than 300 nationwide Unislim classes. Unislim is Ireland’s leading slimming and healthy lifestyle club since 1972. It offers members a personalised and effective weight loss plan, which encourages them to make healthier food choices. With a network of supportive weekly classes all over Ireland, there is a class near every local area.

Visit Unislim.com for more information.

 

Plant-based latte

Nestlé has launched a new range of Nescafé Gold Lattes crafted with plant-based ingredients. These are the first-ever non-dairy soluble coffee lattes and certified by the Vegan Society as suitable for people following a vegan diet.

The new premium Nescafé Gold non-dairy lattes are made with almond, oat and coconut perfectly blended with 100% Arabica coffee beans to create smooth and creamy coffees.

This exciting product range has already launched in the UK and Ireland, and is set to roll out out in several markets across Asia, Europe, Latin America and Oceania.

David Rennie, head of Beverages Strategic Business Unit, Nestlé SA, said the food and drinks giant is delighted to bring new coffee experiences to consumers with this launch.

“Our iconic Nescafé brand continues to lead and embrace new coffee trends with this innovation,” he said. These new premium non-dairy lattes complement the existing Nescafé Gold portfolio, recognised as the world’s favourite coffee brand.

 

A work of art

Art of Zen Foods is dedicated to sourcing, developing and distributing only the highest quality plant-based foods that are tasty, healthy and sustainable. Proud to be a 100% family-owned Irish company, Art of Zen is committed to making these foods available to everyone throughout Ireland. The company’s preference is for fair traded, organic, ethical, Non-GMO and natural plant-based products and never anything of animal origins, ever.

Art of Zen emphasises that it only partners with brands it truly believes in, preferring to keep the business focused and agile. Using a unique blend of traditional and social media marketing, Art of Zen works hard to develop and grow its brands into market leaders in their respective categories.

With an established distribution network throughout Ireland, the company offers a route to market in disparate sectors including independent stores, multiples, food service and pharmacy markets. It works with both ambient and chilled products, working out of an HSE certified cold storage premises in Dublin, Ireland.

As a distribution business, the company states it is “deeply aware” of the impact it has on the environment at local and global levels and strives to keep this to a minimum. The company uses renewable electricity and motion sensors to switch lights off when they leave rooms. It takes back plastic and cardboard packaging from customers and what can’t be reused, is recycled. Art of Zen also donates food with short shelf life to various charities and what cannot be donated is composted.

Art of Zen Foods is the exclusive distributor and brand developer for Violife and Follow Your Heart products throughout Ireland. Violife is a range of award-winning products that can help individuals dive effortlessly into a dairy-free diet. The range is free from preservatives, casein, lactose, whey, gluten, eggs, soy and nuts. Based on coconut oil, Violife is fortified with vitamin B12, which plays an important role in the metabolism of every cell in our bodies.

Available in a variety of tasty flavours, Violife is ideal for all occasions whether enjoyed straight up from the pack, sprinkled on pasta, sliced in sandwiches and toasties or melted in macaroni cheese, it’s the guiltfree alternative that cooks just like cheese. Violife products are stocked in Dunnes Stores, SuperValu, Tesco and most independent health food stores throughout Ireland. Violife is also available in foodservice formats and has proven to be popular with restaurants, pizzerias, cafes and catering companies nationwide.

Meanwhile, from its early days as a soup and sandwich counter to a now internationally available brand of plant-based foods, Follow Your Heart has always led the way in innovating great tasting and better-for-you foods while striving to make the world more compassionate (and delicious).

Follow Your Heart now makes a full range of award-winning products like Vegenaise, the original and the number one vegan mayo, as well as a variety of dairy alternatives including sliced and shredded vegan cheeses, a fresh line of salad dressings, and new breakfast staples like its dairy-free yogurts, and VeganEgg.

Select Follow Your Heart products are available in Dunnes Stores and most independent health food stores throughout the country and used by numerous restaurants and pizzerias throughout Ireland.

Oat-standing nutrition

Boasting a line-up of original oat drinks, Oatly defines its mission as being “dedicated to upgrading the lives of individuals and the general well-being of the planet”. Founded back in the 1990s, the company’s patented enzyme technology copies nature’s own process and turns fibre-rich oats into a nutritional liquid food that is perfectly designed for humans. In the UK, the brand saw 89% growth in 2018 and is projected to turnover £40 million for 2019. Globally, from 2018 to 2019, sales are projected to grow 100%.

2018’s ‘It’s Like Milk But Made For Humans’ campaign challenged long-held views towards the role of milk in a mainstream diet. Its most recent ‘Ditch Milk’ campaign directly called on consumers to re-evaluate their consumption of milk and consider the environmental benefits of switching to a plant-based alternative.

The brand recently launched an initiative to label all products with a number that defines its climate impact from oat field to store. This means that consumers can now clearly see each product’s climate footprint information, just like fat, sugar or nutritional content.

Oatly’s current product range includes its Barista Edition, designed to perfectly complement coffee, and its Chilled range, which includes Whole, Semi and Skimmed options allowing for a direct replacement to cow’s milk.

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