ProVeg Team picture
Source: ProVeg International

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Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

Five years of ProVeg: the industry highlights

ProVeg International has officially turned five!

In 2017, ProVeg International was established in Berlin, Germany. Since then, the organisation has grown by leaps and bounds. We are now active in ten countries, with more than 200 team members worldwide, and a whole lot of accomplishments under our belt.

In the corporate sector, some of our major highlights as an organisation include the launch of the New Food Hub in 2022, as well as the annual New Food Conference, returning this year in-person for the first time in two years.

Since our inception, there have been major developments in the plant-based sector. To commemorate our five-year anniversary, we’ve compiled a list of highlights from the plant-based sector from the past five years. This is by no means an exhaustive list – the plant-based industry is expanding at such a pace that no one blog post could include them all!

So, let’s begin in 2018, one year after the founding of ProVeg…

Source: ProVeg International

2018: Wicked Kitchen launch in Tesco, followed by an explosion in other private-label plant-based ranges

In 2018, supermarket brand Tesco launched Wicked Kitchen, leading to immense growth in plant-based private-label products throughout the UK and beyond, including at supermarkets Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.[1] Such expansions even led some to tout 2018 as “the year that veganism went mainstream”, with Tesco revealing that demand for its chilled and frozen plant-based food items increased by over 50% in that year.[2]

ProVeg’s associated organisation V-Label continues to support brands and consumers in the shift towards plant-based eating, with over 30,000 products now certified.[3] With plant-based branded and private-label products exploding onto the scene, having the V-Label to assure consumers that the products they’re buying are vegan or vegetarian is invaluable. If you’d like to work with V-Label to certify your product, click here to find out more.

2019: Bakery chain Greggs launches its plant-based sausage roll

In 2019, almost a quarter of new food product launches in the UK were for vegan products, compared to 17% the previous year.[4] One of the most popular launches that year was UK bakery chain Greggs’ vegan sausage roll. In the first half of the year, Greggs reported a 58% surge in profits, highlighting its vegan sausage roll as a key factor in this exceptional growth.[5]

Many startup companies seek success with bombshell products like Greggs’ vegan sausage roll. ProVeg’s Incubator Programme has and will continue to support startups in the plant-based and cellular agriculture sector, leading them towards success. Since its launch, the programme has supported over 50 startups, with one of the major success stories being Formo, Europe’s first cultured-dairy startup. 

founding team of Formo
Source: ProVeg Incubator

Founding team of precision fermentation startup Formo

2020: Singapore approves the sale of cultured meat

2020 was marked by major advances in cellular agriculture, with Singapore pioneering the first regulatory approval of cultured meat.[6] The approval by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) was a major step forward for the cellular agriculture sector, promoting confidence in the safety of cultured meat for other governments, as well as helping to leverage further investment in the field. 

ProVeg is dedicated to paving the way for cultured foods, globally. In 2020, we collaborated on the first Franco-German study on cultured-meat acceptance, revealing promising levels of consumer acceptance. Through its Cell-Ag Project, ProVeg is working to further the development of cellular agriculture and support stakeholders in their efforts to bring cultured alternatives to market. The sector has the potential to help the world transition to a healthier, more sustainable, and more humane food system.

2021: Fast food goes plant-based as McDonald’s launch the McPlant burger

In 2021, fast-food giant McDonald’s launched its plant-based burger, the McPlant, in select locations throughout the UK, followed by a nationwide rollout in 2022. It is now continuing to expand internationally, with trials in the US and Australia. In the same year, Burger King teamed up with the Vegetarian Butcher to launch the first-ever meat-free Burger King branch, in Cologne, Germany. In South Africa, Burger King added three new plant-based products to their menus nationwide with the support of ProVeg

In order to continue to support the development of plant-based menu options, ProVeg lobbies against detrimental policies. Our petition to stop the Veggie Burger Ban, a policy that would have restricted plant-based products from using terms traditionally associated with meat products, such as ‘burger’ and ‘sausage’, received over 200,000 signatures. 

2022: Plant-based meat becomes cheaper than animal-based meat in the Netherlands

In 2022, plant-based meat in the Netherlands became cheaper on average than conventional meat. The research, conducted by supermarket researcher Questionmark on behalf of ProVeg International, found that plant-based burgers are 78 cents cheaper per kilogram than animal-based burgers, while plant-based chicken pieces are 37 cents cheaper per kilogram compared to their animal-based counterparts.

Source: ProVeg International (2022): Plant-based meat now cheaper on average than conventional meat in Netherlands.[7]

This is great news for the plant-based sector, as price is often a key barrier for consumers who are looking to consume less meat but are also feeling the squeeze of cost-of-living increases. ProVeg works with brands and retailers to achieve price parity with animal-based products and thus drive sales of plant-based products. Check out this article on the New Food Hub to find out more about this topic.

Celebrate with us…

These and many other developments over the past five years show just how far the plant-based industry has come, and gives us a taste of the exciting changes in the pipeline. In the next five years, we hope to see more plant-based product launches, fewer regulatory hurdles facing cultured meat, and improved price parity between animal-based and plant-based food products.

If you’d like to know more about ProVeg’s successes over the last five years, please click here to celebrate with us. For more advice relating to plant-based brands, retailers, food-service businesses, and manufacturers, check out ProVeg’s New Food Hub.

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References

References
1 Smithers, R. (2018): Tesco launches own-brand vegan range amid rise in plant-based eating. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jan/08/tesco-launches-own-brand-vegan-range-amid-rise-in-plant-based-eating Accessed 2022-08-04
2 Food Ingredients First (2018): A UK vegan retail surge? Tesco tips vegan food as “biggest culinary trend of 2018,” as Christmas ranges boosted. Available at: https://www.foodingredientsfirst.com/news/a-uk-vegan-retailer-surge-tesco-tips-vegan-food-as-biggest-culinary-trend-of-2018-as-retailers-boost-christmas-ranges.html Accessed 2022-08-04
3 Vegconomist (2019): V-Label Products Hit Record Level of 30,000 Certified Products. Available at: https://vegconomist.com/society-2/v-label-products-hit-record-level-of-30000-certified-products/ Accessed 2022-08-04
4 Mintel Press Team (2020): Plant-Based Push: UK Sales Of Meat-Free Foods Shoot Up 40% Between 2014-19. Available at: https://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/plant-based-push-uk-sales-of-meat-free-foods-shoot-up-40-between-2014-19 Accessed 2022-08-03
5  Greggs (2019): Interim Results For The 26 Weeks Ended 29 June 2019. Available at: https://corporate.greggs.co.uk/sites/default/files/190730%20-%20Greggs%202019%20Interim%20Results%20-%20Final.pdf Accessed 2022-08-03
6 Ives, M. (2020): Singapore Approves a Lab-Grown Meat Product, a Global First. New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/02/business/singapore-lab-meat.html Accessed 2022-08-02
7 Report available at: https://proveg.com/press-release/plant-based-meat-now-cheaper-than-conventional-meat-in-netherlands/ Accessed 2022-08-03

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