Aisle Spy

Baked goods and burgers: Sainsbury’s adds to its vegan range

The supermarket is expanding its meat-free alternatives, including Vivera’s Veggie Quarter Pounder, while Tesco’s director of plant-based innovation hints at what he’s working on next.

8 October 2018

The vegan arms race continues to rage in retail. Following Iceland’s latest vegan product release – with plans for more to come – Sainsbury’s is ramping up its range with a number of new offerings.

The Fry Family Food Co is launching several meat alternatives and bakery goods, which will be stocked exclusively in Sainsbury’s from October 10. Eight chilled products will be available in over 500 stores across the country, with a further selection of frozen alternatives set to roll out the following month.

Vivera is getting in on the act too, with Sainsbury’s the first to sell its Veggie Quarter Pounder.

So what will these new products offer plant-based eaters?

Vegan pie, pasty and sausage roll

The Fry Family Food’s new range includes everyday solutions, from ingredients and snacking options to full meals.

Products include artisan, Southern-style tenders, chicken-style strips, chargrilled beef-style strips, a ‘steak’ and ale country pie, spicy three bean pasty, artisan chickpea and roasted butternut balls, and ‘sausage’ rolls. Most are made with soy and wheat.

“It’s a really exciting time for veganism in the UK with the demand for innovative new products greater than ever,” said Tammy Fry, international marketing director at The Fry Family Food.

“The rise in the popularity of a plant-based diet in the last year has been far more significant than we could have ever anticipated, so this new relationship with Sainsbury’s has come at a really exciting time for us as a brand and veganism in general."

The company has plans to evolve its current ranges as well as developing new plant-based products.

James Hamilton, meat-free buyer at Sainsbury’s, added: “We’re really excited to bring a wide selection of The Fry Family Co products to our aisles.

“With more customers than ever purchasing meat-free alternatives, Sainsbury’s is dedicated to expanding its variety of great quality vegan options. With nearly 30 years’ experience in making vegan products, The Fry Family Co products seemed like the perfect fit for Sainsbury’s and our customers.”

Angus ‘beef’ burger

Having released its plant-based steak into Tesco back in May, Vivera is now tackling the burger market with its latest product.

Vivera’s aim was to mimic the famous Aberdeen Angus beef burger, producing a patty so close in texture and appearance that any carnivore would be satisfied.

Frying achieves a sizzling exterior whilst keeping the middle tender, according to the company. Nutritionally, the burger is made from soy and wheat protein, red onion and potato starch. It is high in protein and is a source of fibre, iron and vitamin B12.

"We expect a large market potential for our Veggie Quarter Pounder due to its superior taste and structure. The smell, taste and bite can hardly be distinguished from an Aberdeen Angus beef burger. We are convinced that this product will meet a large need,” said Gert Jan Gombert, commercial director of Vivera.

“For a growing group of consumers the benefits of eating less meat is key. British retailers and consumers are on the forefront of adapting high-quality meat alternatives, which is the reason for us to have our worldwide introduction here. Innovative and high-quality plant-based products can make a significant contribution to a more balanced diet towards more plant-based proteins."

The alternative meat maker currently manufactures more than one million plant-based products per week, making it one of the largest producers in Europe.

Desserts and beyond

Tesco’s director of plant-based innovation, Derek Sarno, has also been hinting at new products under development in a series of Instagram posts.

Posing “hypothetical questions,” he has asked how people would feel about the introduction of vegan delights like a red velvet chocolate lovers brownie, a Wicked creamy dream cake topped “with some magical spangly things for added sexiness and deliciousness factor,” big submarine sandwiches and an oven-baked lasagne.

Sarno has also put a call out about baked goods, asking if a “chef crafted, flaky and cravable” sausage roll would appeal, and whether people would want it hot or cold.

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