As of today, Sainsbury’s is starting to sell vegan meat in the meat aisles of 400 stores. The plant-based mince and burgers from Danish brand Naturli’ will be the first meat alternative in the UK to be sold alongside meat products.
While many vegans and vegetarians might not be keen on visiting the meat aisles, this is a product which is mainly aimed at flexitarians, a market now estimated in the UK at 22 million people.
The concept of selling meat alternatives next to meat products has been pioneered in the US by Beyond Meat. The vision behind it is to give everyone vegetarian or vegan options which is paramount to reducing meat consumption. The quality standard of plant-based meat has greatly improved recently and more and more meat-eaters are keen to try them. But sometimes they are reluctant to shop in the vegetarian or vegan sections.
Barriers towards a plant-based future are being broken down. You can already find dairy-free milks in the chilled aisles next to milk. So having meat alternatives in the meat section seems to me like the next logical step.
Henrik Lund, the chief executive officer of Naturli Foods told the Guardian: “We’ve developed this product assuming that many people want to eat plants instead of animals but are afraid of compromising on flavour and maybe even missing out on their favourite dishes such as lasagna or burger patties.”
Made from soya, almonds, coconut, wheat, mushrooms and tomatoes with a dash of beetroot for colour, the mince and burgers have a hearty texture that is very similar to meat. You can learn more about Naturli’ and where to find the range here.
I received a sneak preview a couple of weeks ago and tried the products at home. Burgers and mince have been a big hit with Graham and the kids. I am generally not a fan of plant-based mince but this one is different. It has much more bulk and texture, sticking together while cooking, just like meat does.
Plant-based meat are not for everyone. Many vegetarians and vegans simply despise the texture of meat. Also there is no getting around the fact that they are processed food. In the end, I believe it is all about balance. Most of our plant-based meals are made from scratch but from time to time I enjoy having the convenience of meat alternatives. When I first went flexitarian, products like Quorn were essential to help reduce my meat consumption.
If you would like to try Naturli’ mince, I have a recipe for you. I made one of my favourite French Summer classic with it. These vegan stuffed peppers can be eaten hot or warm. They have a hearty filling and are bursting with Mediterranean flavours. Enjoy!