Motivating meat reduction: Quorn collaborations drive Veganuary 2020 success
03 Feb 2020 --- Mycoprotein brand Quorn Foods says its protein has contributed to a record-breaking Veganuary, boosted by a nationwide rollout of KFC’s vegan burger, another vegan sell-out for Greggs. Meanwhile, Costa Coffee also launched a Quorn-inspired toastie and Pizza Hut served up the “Pepperphoni.”
2020 has marked another successful Veganuary, a global organization encouraging people to try veganism in January and beyond, with 400,000 people in the UK taking part in the plant-based pledge for 31 days.
Hundreds of new plant-based products and menu items were launched this January – including the first Veganuary offerings from fast-food giants KFC, McDonald’s and Burger King – with sales of many exceeding all expectations. According to Deliveroo, orders of vegan dishes almost doubled compared to last January, increasing by 78 percent. The delivery service also reported a 330 percent jump in plant-based orders.
A year after the launch of the highly anticipated vegan sausage roll, last month Greggs debuted the Vegan Steak Bake featuring bespoke Quorn vegan pieces. The high street bakery has claimed that the popularity of the item has been bigger than expected. According to YouGov BrandIndex data, Greggs’s Vegan Steak Bake launch has been one of the most successful Veganuary new product releases this year.
On the same day, there was the return of KFC’s pilot sell-out, the Vegan Burger, now permanently on-menu nationwide. KFC sold one million vegan burgers in the first month they were on sale – equivalent to one being sold every three seconds since the launch on January 2nd. The burger features a Quorn Vegan Fillet, coated in the Colonel’s Original Recipe. Quorn appeared in coffee retailer Costa Coffee, which provided Vegan Smoky Ham for their vegan toastie available across 800 outlets. Other Quorn collaborations include Pizza Hut, Wetherspoons and Stonegate Pubs.
Pizza Hut Restaurants saw similar results, with the pizza chain releasing a statement which reads: “This January the number of guests trying a vegan pizza has almost doubled, compared to pre-Veganuary. Additionally, guests and teams have loved the “Pepperphoni” so much that it will make a return to our main menu from February 26.”
Quorn’s “step in the right direction”
One in four consumers eat Quorn on a regular basis, it provides products that replicate their traditionally “meaty” foods and helps people to adopt a meat-free diet, notes the company.
Quorn recently launched a new campaign, “A Step in the Right Direction,” aimed at helping consumers to reduce their carbon footprint. Sixty percent of Quorn’s product volume is now carbon-labeled “farm to shop.”
Hot on the heels of these launches, this month YouGov announced its annual Buzz Rankings for 2019 – which saw Quorn ranked #1 across all brands tracked in the chilled/frozen foods sector for the second year running, a direct result of the work Quorn has done in 2019 to broaden its portfolio.
“We’re helping consumers to enjoy meat-free foods in the high street and the consumer response and subsequent sales across the likes of KFC, Gregg’s and Costa proves that we are doing something right,” explains Peter Harrison, Chief Commercial Officer, Quorn Foods.
“Whatever motivation the consumer has for meat reducing, it will be much easier to do, if great quality and well-known meat free products are available in their favorite food outlet, whether you are buying your morning coffee, lunch on the run, through to your weekend takeaway,” he explains.
“We’re collaborating with more food providers, as we all are working towards a common goal of delicious everyday affordable meat free meals,” Harrison adds.
Meanwhile, retailers also saw interest in vegan products soar. Sales of Hellman’s Vegan Mayo saw a growth of nearly 400 percent in Tesco during Veganuary, while M&S’s Plant Kitchen No Chicken Kiev sold at a rate of four every minute since it launched on January 2.
April Preston, Director of Product Development at M&S, says: “Veganism is a trend that we are absolutely loving at M&S. As our customers continue to experiment and adopt more ‘flexitarian’ diets, we too are having fun creating new products to fit within this.”
But for many businesses it was more than just a commercial endeavor. Over 50 companies took part in the Veganuary Workplace Challenge, encouraging their employees to try vegan in January and providing more vegan options in the workplace.
Reflecting on the success of the 2020 campaign, Veganuary’s Head of Communications Toni Vernelli says: “With the link between animal farming and the climate crisis making headlines nearly every day, we expected Veganuary 2020 to be the biggest yet, but it still exceeded all of our expectations. We applaud everyone who took part and encourage them to continue eating vegan food as often as possible. And we’re grateful to all of the businesses embracing Veganuary and making it easier for more people to eat more plant-based food more often. Together we are making an enormous difference for animals and the planet.”
By Elizabeth Green
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