Rooting for you!

With a growing number of people now interested in pursuing a plant-based diet – whether on a ‘flexitarian’ or full-time basis, alternative proteins are allowing health-conscious consumers to pursue their nutritional goals without having to sacrifice on flavour, writes Gillian Hamill



27 April 2022

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As consumer awareness of the environmental impacts of the meat industry grows, so too have demands for plant-based protein products. In just a few short years, producers have found pioneering new ways to supply the growing market for alternative proteins, from vegan-friendly roasts and sandwich stuffers to barbecue-ready favourites and breakfast essentials.

Ingredients such as textured pea proteins, mung beans and seaweed are being utilized alongside soy to improve the taste, texture, functionality, and nutritional credentials of the meat analogues.

Food Matters Live reported on five plant-based food trends and innovations for 2022 and ‘new proteins from vegetables’ came top of the list. “Soy, peas and beans are widely used as the main proteins in plant-based meat, but food companies are working towards extracting proteins from other vegetables too,” it states. For example,  UK-based potato supplier Branston announced in July that it was building a £6 million facility to extract protein from potatoes to be used in plant-based, vegetarian, clean-label and starch-based products for other manufacturing applications. The new potato protein extraction plant is said to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Cabbage is also being eyed up for the plant-based protein market, Food Matters Live reported. At the end of November, Naylor Farms, one of the largest cabbage growers in Europe, applied for planning permission to build a new processing plant in Lincolnshire, to be used to extract plant-based protein from cabbage.

Deliciously creamy taste, now plant-based

Dairygold, Ireland’s number one dairy spread brand, continues to maintain its position as market leader in the ‘butter, spreads and margarine’ (BSM) category. Now, the brand is expanding on its already vast consumer base by introducing a new plant-based range.

Ireland’s number one dairy spread brand, Dairygold is now expanding its already vast consumer base by entering the plant-based sector

Appearing on shelves from 4 April onwards, the new line of products will feature plant-based cheese alternatives in grated and sliced format as well as a plant-based version of the renowned Dairygold spread.

The new range, which is entirely vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and lactose-free, comes as more and more Irish consumers seek to reduce their dairy consumption. Consumers are at the heart of the Dairygold brand and it has always been hugely important for Dairygold to continue to adapt to their evolving needs with innovative, great tasting products.

With the introduction of this new range, Dairygold becomes the first Irish brand to operate in plant-based across multiple categories. The decision to make this momentous leap followed many rounds of open dialogue with consumers all over Ireland. Feedback from consumers ultimately revealed that many struggled to find plant-based dairy alternatives from a brand they know and trust without having to compromise on taste and functionality. With trust and credibility key to Dairygold’s success, it was instrumental to Dairygold that it become the Irish brand that consumers have been looking for, by allowing them to pursue their own nutritional goals without having to make sacrifices along the way.

“With the launch of our new plant-based range, we wanted to acknowledge the increasing percentage of the population that are choosing to incorporate less dairy into their diets and ensure they feel seen by the brands that have always been a part of their lives,” says Michelle Daly Lennon, marketing manager for Dairygold. “We pride ourselves in our relationship with our customers and so when they change and grow, we want to be able to adapt and grow with them.”

Dairygold is proud to say that the new plant-based range maintains the same deliciously creamy taste whilst expanding its offering to become a brand that fits with the identity of all its customers, makes them feel great, meets their nutritional needs and fits with their sustainability expectations.

Dairygold has been a staple in Irish hearts and fridges for over 30 years. The brand is worth over €30m in retail sales value (RSV) and holds 20% market share within the BSM category. The long-term success of Dairygold has been built on the brand’s ability to continuously connect with consumers through its high-quality products and commitment to continuously evolving the brand’s communications platform.

Fabulous and fishless

Birds Eye Green Cuisine Fishless Fingers are made of rice protein, which is a source of Omega 3

Birds Eye Green Cuisine is a plant-based 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.

2021 saw the launch of Green Cuisine into ‘chicken-free’, following successful launches into red-meat substitutes, and veg foods, which have made great inroads in terms of market value share for Green Cuisine which now sits at 20.3%*.

The H1 2022 focus for Green Cuisine is the April NPD launches with a delicious addition to the ‘veg foods’ sector that is a Cauliflower, Sundried Tomato & Mozzarella Burger.

Another exciting launch for Green Cuisine utilises the Birds Eye Fish Finger heritage, by tapping into the ‘fish-free’ sector with the launch of Green Cuisine Fishless Fingers. A tasty, protein packed product, with a crispy golden crumb. Made up of rice protein, which is a source of Omega 3, this product provides all the benefits of a real fish finger. Both NPD SKUs are available now.

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.

*(Source: Nielsen data (Scantrack) L4Wks. W/C 27 Feb, 2022)

Start the day right

The Happy Pear is making breakfast something worth waking up for with the launch of two new tasty mueslis to add to its expanding range.

The new Super Mueslis – May’s Original and Elsie’s Fruit & Nut are both made with a delicious blend of crunchy sprouted flakes, oats and spelt flakes. Elsie’s Fruit & Nut has the addition of mixed dried fruits for added sweetness and texture.

What makes The Happy Pear Super Muesli a little bit different is that it’s made with crunchy ‘sprouted’ or ‘activated’ cereal flakes. This is a process where the natural grain is germinated or ‘activated’, which awakens the nutrition inside the grain, making it sweeter, and in the process, easier to digest, allowing the nutrients to be more easily absorbed by the body. The Happy Pear has used a tasty mix of buckwheat flakes, brown lentil flakes and red quinoa flakes to give a great crunchy taste experience.

Like everything from The Happy Pear range, the Super Mueslis are made from natural, wholesome ingredients and are great for vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians looking for a tasty plant-based cereal option.

The Super Mueslis contain no artificial colours, flavours and preservatives and come in a recyclable pouch, so consumers can easily recycle the packaging in their bins at home.

“Named after our daughters, these new Super Mueslis are especially close to our heart,” say founders Dave and Steve. “They’re the perfect way to start your day off on the right track, with our unique activated cereal flakes giving you an extra boost.”

The Happy Pear Super Muesli May’s Original and Super Muesli Elsie’s Fruit & Nut retail at €3.99 each (400g), available exclusively in SuperValu, Centra and Daybreak stores nationwide.

For more information, check out Instagram: @supervalu_irl @centra_irl @thehappypear #TheHappyPear #eatmoreveg.

Choose good, do good

Launched in 2021, Plant-It produces a wide range of plant-based food, including 100% Irish meat-free, chicken-free, egg-free, fish-free and veggie products, in retail and food service. Using its own in-house texture technology, Plant-It is confident it has successfully managed to produce delicious products that mirror the taste and texture experience of meat, while being reassuringly plant-based.

All Plant-It products are 100% vegan, with no GMO, no artificial colours or flavours and are high in plant protein and fibre. In addition, they are fortified with Vitamin B12, iron and calcium, which are traditionally lacking in plant-based diets. Plant-It also uses real chopped and sliced vegetables, frozen at source to lock in their goodness and avoid unnecessary waste.

Winner of the 2021 V Awards and voted by the Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance (IFSA) as Ireland’s best sustainable food, Plant-It is on a mission: to inspire Irish consumers to choose good and do good, by increasing the appetite for healthy plant-based choices (choose good) and help plant the planet (do good). The company dedicates a portion of sales from every Plant-It product to support reforestation efforts across Ireland. Already the brand has planted 15,000 native trees and aims to plant many more in 2022.

Full of wholesome ingredients

The Thanks Plants range includes three flavoured sausages and a roast dinner centrepiece called the Everyday Roast

Irish vegan company, Thanks Plants, packs a serious amount of protein in its range. With over 20g of protein per 100g, these products are not only wholesome but also very satisfying.

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 Spring Roast out now, stuffed with roast potatoes and red peppers.

“Packing our products full of great wholesome ingredients is really important to us,” says Aisling Cullen, owner and creator of Thanks Plants.

Thanks Plants’ Spring Loaf is made from tomato and lentil seitan, with a potato, red pepper and rosemary stuffing

“Our ingredients list is easy to understand and we have no nasties, artificial preservatives or binders added in. ”Our customers also love how much protein the products carry, especially those into sports and fitness,” she adds.

“Having a high protein content means that our products are very satiating. They will keep you fuller for longer.”

Cullen explains that the high protein content mainly comes from the vital wheat gluten, aka seitan. “Seitan was first discovered by Chinese Buddhist monks centuries ago,” she says. “It gives a great meaty texture to our products and is super high in protein.”

“We’ve got more products coming this year, including our NoMoooo Burger and Chorizo Crumbles. These will have the same great protein levels as our other products, plus a wholesome ingredient list.”

Thanks Plants products are currently available online at, in select SuperValu stores around Ireland and in good independent stores such as Lotts & Co, Nourish and Nolans of Clontarf.




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