Launched in January this year, the B12 Burger lays claim to being the first plant-based bleeding burger to enter the UK market. Manufactured by Moving Mountains, it arrived on the scene while pioneers Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods were still establishing their product in the US – neither American brand has managed to make it to Britain yet, with the Beyond Burger’s much touted release into Tesco postponed indefinitely.
Proudly waving its credentials as a British company, Moving Mountains has manoeuvred its B12 patty – named for the vitamin that is often deficient in vegetarian and vegan diets – into more than 10 locations around the country, including London, Bristol, Sheffield, Belfast and Brighton. In July, the product entered Maxwell’s Bar and Grill in Covent Garden, as it continues to target not just meat-free menus but also businesses that are seeking a better veggie option for customers.
Food Spark spoke to founder Simeon van der Molen about how the B12 Burger sets itself apart from rivals and what the future holds for Moving Mountains.
Why did you start Moving Mountains?
Moving Mountains was launched with a mission to bring real, radical change to people’s everyday diet by giving a plant-based alternative that is genuinely competitive in taste, texture and satisfaction to animal meat products.
We have been working in the organic and plant-based industry for over 20 years and founded the brand Ecozone, which provides ethical cleaning products. However, the cleaning sector is fairly limited in the impact we can have on the environment, so we spotted a gap in the market to develop an innovative plant-based food product that could affect positive change for the health of the planet and reduce animal meat consumption.
Although there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan burgers available to purchase already, we wanted to be the first independent British food producer to offer a 100% raw plant meat burger that can genuinely compete with the taste, texture and satisfaction of a regular animal meat version.
Who do you see as the target consumer?
Moving Mountains can appeal to everyone. What makes us different from other plant-based food brands is that as well as appealing to the vegetarian and vegan community, the brand is targeted at the ever-growing flexitarian market – people looking for quality meat-free products that taste good enough to convert even the most committed carnivores.
By creating the B12 Burger, we wanted to provide a plant-based product that enticed traditional meat eaters and flexitarians, as well as appealing to vegans and vegetarians.
How long did it take to develop the B12 burger? What issues did you face with perfecting the ingredient mix?
The production process has taken over two years in a lab working with a team of leading scientists, chefs and farmers and more than 100 test-kitchen recipes to create the B12 Burger. It uses simple, natural ingredients and incredible scientific processes so that the burger replicates animal meat in every way, from the sizzle and texture to the taste.
Working in uncharted territory of food production has been a huge challenge – and developing a UK first for the plant-based food industry has tested the limits of both ourselves and food industry experts.
How does the B12 differentiate itself from other similar products on the market?
The B12 burger differentiates itself because each burger has zero cholesterol, 16g of plant protein, is 100% vegan and free from antibiotics and hormone. Also, vitamin B12, traditionally associated with red meats, has been added so that the Moving Mountains burger can genuinely compete with a beef burger and provide essential nutrients.
When cooked in the pan or BBQ, the B12 Burger also sizzles, smells and browns just like real meat. And just like the very best juicy burger, when perfectly cooked, the Moving Mountains B12 burger bleeds through the middle – with beetroot juice instead of animal blood.
How easy was it to get your products into restaurants?
Restaurants and food service outlets have been extremely interested in the launch of Moving Mountains and excited to have an independent British brand developing innovative new plant-based products to cater to the burgeoning demand. Our B12 Burger sits really well on restaurant menus and allows chefs the flexibility to create their own serves to coincide with different eating occasions and demand from their customers – one of our partners, Lucky Beach Café in Brighton, has six different burger serves on the menu!
Do you have plans for retail?
Meat free is a great and growing opportunity in food retail and represents part of a larger movement for the future of food, our health and the planet. The global meat industry cannot sustain itself at the current rate and brands like Moving Mountains that provide a viable alternative to meat have huge opportunity to expand into new products. We have been in talks with retailers already but are yet to confirm a retail partnership – watch this space!
Would you consider a partnership with a meat company?
Moving Mountains remains a 100% independent British brand, but we have been fortunate enough to secure some exciting collaborations with meat brands to launch our B12 Burger into the mainstream market. For example, our first permanent launch into UK food service was into NYC-inspired comfort food restaurant and cocktail bar, Dirty Bones, across their London and Oxford sites.
This was the first time the Moving Mountains B12 burger became available for purchase at a non-vegetarian restaurant. Dirty Bones put an entirely vegan twist on one of their most popular signature meat dishes, The Mac Daddy, and it has been a huge success for plant-based and meat eaters alike!
What other products are you working on for the future?
The environmental impact of the animal agriculture industry is becoming so catastrophic that it is essential that technological innovation keeps progressing. We want to continue growing Moving Mountains and continuing to develop more products that can provide a mainstream and viable alternative to meat.