Over the past 10 years, the number of consumers choosing plant-based food in the UK nearly doubled from 6.7 per cent to 13.1 per cent, a study reports.
Consumers’ shift to adopt a vegan, vegetarian or even flexitarian diet is driven by health, environmental concerns, and increased availability of plant-based alternatives.
So it should be no surprise that more brands are tapping into this growing market, however, with so many choices available, it can be difficult to discern those genuinely for the planet and those just climbing aboard the bandwagon. Here is Viable.Earth’s roundup of the top plant-based food brands sold in the UK.
Top plant-based food companies in the UK
Founded by Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman, This creates “hyper-realistic meat alternatives” to chicken, lamb, and pork.
According to its website, it took around two years and nearly 2000 iterations to develop and launch eight products. The company uses plant-based ingredients such as soy or pea protein and uses heat, pressure, and water to replicate the fibrous texture of animal meat.
- Products available: Not Pigs in Blankets, Isn’t Pork Sausages, Isn’t Pork Sage and Apple Stuffing, Isn’t Pork Meatballs, Isn’t Lamb Meatballs, Isn’t Bacon Lardons, Isn’t Chicken Soy and Garlic, Isn’t Bacon Rashers, Isn’t Chicken Nuggets, Isn’t Chicken Pieces, Isn’t Pork Cocktail Sausages, Isn’t Chicken Tikka Pieces.
- Where to buy: Tesco, Coco di Mama, Drake & Morgan, Chilango, and more. A full list of stockists is available on the This website.
Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat offers plant-based options in poultry, pork, and beef.
Its initial product was Chicken Strips, manufactured from gluten-free soy powder and given a chicken-like texture using a food extrusion machine. However, due to negative feedback, it was discontinued in 2019.
The company then created beef and pork substitutes for pea protein isolates, rice protein, mung bean protein, canola oil, coconut oil, potato starch, apple extract, sunflower lecithin, and pomegranate powder. Finally, beet juice was used to create artificial ‘blood’.
This year, the company introduced its new alternative chicken in the shape of chicken tenders manufactured from faba bean, pea protein, and wheat gluten.
- Products available: Burgers, Ground alt-beef, Sausage, Alt-meatballs, Breakfast sausage, Alt-beef crumbles, Alt-chicken tenders.
- Where to buy: Tesco, Sainsbury. Beyond Burger is on the menu of Honest Burgers and All Bar One.
Founded in 2017, Heura is a plant-based startup founded by Bernat Añaños and Marc Coloma from Barcelona, Spain.
The company’s products are made from soy. They have no added sugars, are gluten-free, low in saturated fats, and have zero cholesterol.
Heura’s products are also available in Andorra, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In the UK, only its alt-chicken products are available as of the moment.
- Products available: 100 per cent vegetable Original Chunks, Mediterranean Chunks, Strips and Burgers.
- Where to buy: The Vegan Kind and Planet Organic.
Launched in 2016 by Danish entrepreneur and former trader Morten Toft Bech, UK-based Meatless Farm produces vegan, plant-based meats made primarily from soy, rice, and pea protein.
According to its website, the brand uses only non-GM soy and recyclable packaging made from 50-per-cent recycled material. In addition, all products are made in the UK.
- Products available: Plant-based mince, Plant-based sausages, Plant-based sausage roll, Plant-based hotdogs.
- Where to buy: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Booths, Gousto, AllPlants, Planet Organic, Wholefoods Market, The Vegan Kind.
Launched in the Netherlands 30 years ago, Vivera is the brand behind the UK’s first vegan steak.
Its plant-based offerings include an assortment of raw and pre-cooked products using ingredients such as soy protein, chickpeas, rice, corn, and potatoes.
In terms of sustainability and social responsibility, all dishes are packaged using recyclable PET material, while the cardboard is made from originates from woodlands managed under the sustainable principles of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).
The brand is also Europe’s third-largest producer of plant-based goods, with 50 products available in more than 27,000 retail outlets in 25 European countries.
- Products available: Plant Nuggets Southern Fried, Plant Chicken Breast Style, Plant Spicy Chicken Kebab Style, Plant Chicken Burger, Plant Garlic Kyiv, Plant Mince, Plant Greek-style Kebab, Plant Chicken Goujons BBQ, Plant Meatballs.
- Where to buy: Tesco, Sainbury’s, Ocado, Morrisons, Asda, Waitrose.
Launched in 1991 by former model Heather Mills, VBites is a plant-based meat alternative and vegan cheese company that has developed 40 products and sells in 24 countries worldwide.
According to its website, the brand’s mission is to deliver the taste and texture of meat, fish, and dairy products without the harmful environmental, dietary, and sustainability consequences of pastoral agriculture and fishing.
All its foods are manufactured in the UK at VBites’ factory in Corby.
- Products available: Crumbed Fsh Steak, Smokey Cheezly Beans and Chinks, Pepperfoni Vdeli Slices, Simply Chkn Vdeli Chunks, Vegan Mexican Cheese, Gluten and Soy-free Chkn Goujons, Smokey Slmn Vdeli Slices, Hoi-sin Duk Vdeli Chunks, All-day Bcn Rashers, Plant-based Beeph Mince.
- Where to buy: Morrisons, Alternative Stores, The Vegan Kind, Sainsbury’s.
A subsidiary of US-based food manufacturer Congara Brands, Gardein, was launched in the UK in 2019; the brand offers a product line of meat-free frozen foods such as alt-chicken strips, plant-based fillets, and jerky.
Three years ago, the company pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court of British Columbia to a 2016 offence of unlawfully discarding vegetable oil into a ditch in the brand’s property, which leads to the Fraser River.
- Products available: Chick’n, Turk’y, Fishless, Soups and Chillis, Plant-based jerky.
- Where to buy: Sainsbury’s.
The Vegetarian Butcher
A ninth-generation meat farmer, former butcher Jaap Korteweg became a vegetarian and founded The Vegetarian Butcher in 2007 to satiate his need for quality meat not made from animals.
The brand’s plant-based meat products are derived from soy protein. According to the brand’s website, although the nutritional values of each product may differ, all products are a good source of protein and fibre, with an additional vitamin B12 and Iron.
Unilever acquired the brand in 2018 as part of its strategy to expand its portfolio into plant-based foods.
- Products available: Vegetarian Sausages, Vegan Chicken-style Chunks, Soy-based mince, Soy-based alt-meatballs.
- Where to buy: Tesco, Sainsbury’s Morrisons, Coop, and Ocado.
American-based Tofurky is a brand of vegan turkey replacement. Its bestselling product, the faux turkey, is made from a loaf of plant-based protein with stuffing made from grains and flavoured with vegetarian broth, herbs, and spices.
The company has been family-owned for 40 years. According to its website, it is meant to stay that way over the next millennium. It also added that the brand always focused on purpose over profits.
- Products available: Vegetarian Sausages, Vegan Chicken-style Chunks, Soy-based mince, Soy-based alt-meatballs.
- Where to buy: Whole Foods, Planet Organic, As Nature Intended, Holland & Barrett and other independent health foods stores.
Fry Family Food
Fry’s was launched in 1991 by a family’s passion plant-based diets and a mission to provide “plants that look and taste like meat”.
The company uses soybeans, white rice, quinoa, and chia seeds as plant protein sources. All ingredients used are non-GMO, MSG-free, preservative-free, and vegan.
- Products available: Alt-chicken and alt-beef burgers, pea-protein mince, sausages, nuggets, alt-chicken and alt-pork schnitzels, hot dogs, strips, fish-style fillets, plant-based sausage rolls, vegan pies, and Chickpea and Roasted Butternut Balls.
- Where to buy: Ocado, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Muscle Food.
Oumph! Is a Swedish brand founded in 2014 by Anna-Kajsa Lidell and Anders Wallerman, offering plant-based meat alternatives made from soya beans, herbs, and spices.
All of the company’s products are gluten-free, high in protein, fibre, and a source of iron and folic acid.
Last year, the brand was acquired by plant-based digital lifestyle brand LiveKindly Co, with a goal of transforming food systems to feed 10 billion people by 2050.
- Products available: Kebab doner-style, Mince, Sticky smokehouse BBQ, Oumph! Burger, Pulled Oumph! Kebab Spiced.
- Where to buy: Tesco, Asda, Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods Market and independent stores across the UK, and food service.
Nestle launched its plant-based range Garden Gourmet into the UK consumer market in September of this year after a successful release in the foodservice channel, and as an option in the Subway sandwich chain.
Made from responsibly sourced soya beans, the products are high in protein and a source of fibre. None of the products are high in fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt, according to Nestle, meaning they have no red labels under the UK’s colour-coded nutrition labelling system.
- Products available: Burger, mince, Cumberland-style sausages, Mediterranean style filet alt-fish pieces.
- Where to buy: Major UK supermarket chains, and at Subway outlets.
Linda McCartney Foods
The British plant-based food company Linda McCartney Foods was created in 1991 by musician, photographer and activist Linda McCartney.
The company offers a range of frozen vegetarian products made from dehydrated textured vegetable protein (TVP).
Part of the sales proceeds helps fund McCartney’s animal aid charity, Animal Line.
- Products available: Golden Nuggets, Ploughman’s Pie (cheese pie), Ploughman’s Pasties, Lasagna, Italian Style Toppers, and Beefless Burgers.
- Where to buy: Asda, Budgens, Co-op, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, EH Booths, Holland & Barrett, Iceland. Lidl, and Morrisons.
Quorn is a brand that uses a meat substitute derived from a natural fungus, Fusarium Venenatum that converts carbohydrates into protein, producing the company’s trademarked “Mycoprotein”.
According to the company, its alt-meat products are high in protein, high in fibre, low in saturated fat, and contain no cholesterol.
- Products available: Meat-free mince, Crispy nuggets, Pieces, Fillets, Sausages, Fishless fingers, Swedish style balls.
- Where to buy: Leading supermarkets and food services
Founded and driven by chefs, alt-fish brand Good Catch produces alt-tuna and other seafood from a blend of peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans, and navy beans.
In a recent marketing stunt, Gathered Foods, the alt-fish brand’s parent company, launched a mobile OurWay pop-up sandwich food van touring Subway shops around London, treating hungry sandwich aficionados to free fish-less subs.
- Products available: Plant-Based Tuna and frozen Plant-Based Fish Burgers, Plant-Based Crab Cakes, Plant-Based Thai Fish Cakes, Plant-Based Breaded Fish Sticks, Plant-Based Breaded Fish Fillets, Plant-Based Breaded Crab Cakes.
- Where to buy: Tesco
The future of Plant-based in the UK
According to a report from communications agency Lexington, plant-based products are still on a trajectory of growth despite obstacles.
“Last year was a big year, as all of ten of the UK’s supermarkets had their vegan range; the top 10 food-to-go providers also provided a plant-based offering”, said Lexington.
Think we missed one?
Let us know in the comments section so we can add your favourite alt-meat brand to our list!
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