Nestlé has announced its biggest move yet into the meat alternative market, launching a new plant-based burger in Europe and unveiling plans for a similar product in the US.
Released under the Garden Gourmet brand, the Incredible Burger will launch in Europe from April, first coming to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
Featuring natural protein from soy and wheat, the product is 100% plant-based. Natural plant extracts – beetroot, carrot, and bell pepper – help create the look of a beef burger before, during, and after cooking, Nestlé said.
Wayne England, head of Nestlé’s food business, said: “These new burgers don’t compromise on flavour, texture and cooking experience. They underline Nestlé’s increased focus on tasty, authentic plant-based food. We believe this trend is here to stay, as consumers look at different ways to enjoy and balance their protein intake and lower the environmental footprint of their diets.”
As of this autumn, Nestlé will also roll out a plant-based burger in the US under the Sweet Earth brand, customised for the American consumer. Called the Awesome Burger, the product aims to complement Sweet Earth’s existing veggie-centric burgers. Nestlé USA acquired California-based Sweet Earth in 2017.
Nestlé said both new products are the result of a collaboration between culinary chefs, alternative protein researchers and food experts at both Garden Gourmet and Sweet Earth.
Wayne England added: “We’re proud of our ability to make healthy and sustainable food accessible to everyone through our trusted brands. This includes plant-based food products under our Garden Gourmet range in Europe and the Sweet Earth brand in the US.”
The announcement comes as consumers increasingly look to cut back on their meat and dairy consumption, due in part to ethical and health concerns. According to a study by research firm IGD last year, 52% of British grocery shoppers say they either follow or are interested in following a plant-based diet, with 68% of 18 to 24 year olds claiming to follow a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet.
Earlier this year, Impossible Foods released a new meat-free burger, containing no gluten, animal hormones or antibiotics. A new recipe sees the burger get its meaty chew and texture from soy protein, not wheat protein – a response to consumers who enjoyed the original Impossible Burger but wanted no wheat or gluten.
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