Birds Eye is the latest big-name brand to make its entry into the meat-free market.
Its debut is a range called Green Cuisine that uses pea protein to recreate popular dinnertime staples that offer a taste and texture similar to meat products, according to the company.
It includes meat-free burgers, sausages and Swedish meatballs, which are now available in Asda for £2.50 each.
All products are free-from soy and wheat and consist of yellow peas as a base, rather than the petit pois and garden peas that Bird Eyes is known for in its fixture. The SKUs are manufactured in Birds Eye’s factory in Spain.
Parents, flexitarians and evening meals
Plant-based meal occasions grew by 37% compared to the previous year, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel. An estimated 92% of plant-based meals are eaten by non-vegans and over 4.83bn evening meals are consumed with no meat, representing almost 30% of all evening meals.
Birds Eye’s Green Cuisine range is looking to tap into the popularity of flexitarian diets, leveraging its heritage in peas and experience in frozen food to help retailers capitalise on changing consumer eating habits. The company points out that parents are among those driving the demand for meat-free products
“This is a major strategic launch into an increasingly important and fast-growing segment within the plant-based foods space. Birds Eye, as leader in the overall frozen food market with broad consumer appeal, is well positioned to play a key role in driving the further acceleration of the segment, as it moves further into the mainstream, with a unique and natural proposition that builds on our well-known heritage in peas,” said Steve Challouma, marketing director at Birds Eye.
“We have successfully been able to recreate the taste and texture of popular meat products, helping families reduce their meat consumption through healthy options without compromising on flavour.”
Green Cuisine’s baked burger contains 17g of fat and 1.4g of saturated fat – less than the 19g of fat and 6.5g of saturated fat in Birds Eye’s original beef quarter pounder when grilled.
The range will be supported by a£4.2m marketing campaign in the first year of its launch.
Birds Eye’s new line follows in the footsteps of Nestlé, which launched its Garden Gourmet range into the UK last year. Also aimed at flexitarians, it included 12 plant-based products, ranging from meat-free burgers and mince to chicken-style pieces. However, it no longer appears to be on sale in this country.
That’s not to say there isn’t extensive competition from others brands, like Vivera’s plant-based Aberdeen Angus style burger, Iceland’s No Bull burger and even Quorn, which has released vegan fish recently and also tipped a bleeding vegan burger as high on its development list.