Meat alternative brand, Quorn, is to invest £7m in a new development centre in Yorkshire creating hundreds of jobs, as it aims to become a $1bn business within a decade.
According to Quorn, the high-tech facility will enhance capability in both core protein fermentation, and innovation capability to develop new and improved products.
Yorkshire-based Quorn – which specialises in ‘mycoprotein’ products – is regarded as a leader in its industry and currently exports to 20 markets across the globe including, South Africa, the US and Australia.
The £7m investment comes as meat and dairy alternatives have seen a continued surge in the food and drink industry over the past decade, with vegetarianism and veganism increasingly becoming mainstream.
In fact, the UK meat substitutes industry will reportedly grow by 25% by 2021, according to research from Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence.
A $1bn business goal
“With category momentum we are confident we can become a $1bn business in under 10 years”, says Quorn Foods chief executive, Kevin Brennan.
He added: “With our renewed investment in R&D, we expect to lead the way for decades to come. We hope to demonstrate that there are great British businesses in the North that can win on a global stage.”
The cash injection will reportedly see hundreds of jobs created in its Yorkshire base, as Quorn continues to capitalise on the growing trend for meat-free products, amid the growing popularity of vegetarian and vegan diets, with the sector growing by 10-20% every year.
Quorn has already created more than 100 jobs in the past year, with the company hoping to continue this growth particularly in the STEM area, as the business brings new facilities and technologies into production.
The company has even been recognised as one of the UK’s top 50 FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) brands.
Surge in meat-free and dairy-free alternatives
Changing consumer habits, and a rise in meat and dairy alternative diets, has led to a trend towards different food and beverage choices. By 2021, the UK milk alternative sector is predicted to rise by 43%.
British consumption of soy milk has also increased by 10 million litres, from 75.9 million litres in 2009 to 85.7 million litres in 2016.
Alpro and Quorn currently lead the market:
- Alpro, a Belgian company that markets soy-based food and drink products, has seen sales increase by £22.3m (14%), making the business the UK’s eighth fastest growing grocery product.
- Quorn Food experienced 16% global growth in the past year – its strongest ever, thought to be fueled by the rise in alternative lifestyles.
Other recent related investments include:
UK chocolate manufacturer, Moo Free, has opened a second, larger factory in Devon, which includes a dedicated space to develop new chocolates for the ‘free from’ and vegan markets.
Moo Free Chocolates has been manufacturing premium ‘milk’ chocolate alternatives since 2010. During this short time, the company has grown rapidly due to year-on-year increases in demand for its vegan and organic chocolates which are also free from milk, lactose, wheat, gluten and soya.
Crisps manufacturer, Tyrrells, has completed a £2m automation investment to improve the quality of its vegetable crisp manufacturing facility.
The automation reduces the amount of manual handling needed throughout the process and helps ensure that the end product is consistently bigger with less breakages.
Founded in 2014, Kent-based Nim’s Fruit and Veg Crisps are fat, gluten and dairy free, and in February 2018 signed its largest ever order with Tesco.
More than 1,500 stores nationwide now sell apple, pear and beetroot & parsnip varieties, all of which are manufactured from wholly UK-sourced fruit and vegetables.