Red meat giant ABP has seized on the plant-based boom with the launch of its first fresh, branded meat alternative range.
Equals will launch into Asda next week with a quarter-pounder burger made from a mix of seasoned pea and soya proteins.
Priced at £2.50 per two-pack, the burger would cost the same as Vivera’s plant-based burger in Asda and the Meatless Farm’s burger in Sainsbury’s. By way of comparison, Beyond Meat’s fresh Beyond Burger is priced at £4.95 in Tesco.
The brand will be merchandised next to Asda’s meat range and had the texture and flavour “to equal the meat-eating experience” ABP said. It was designed to appeal to meat reducers and non-meat eaters alike.
The company’s core business “is and will remain in beef”, stressed ABP UK commercial director Darren Jones. However, the supplier recognised “the growing demand for products that fit a flexitarian and meat-free lifestyle”, he added.
“As a business we have long invested in understanding market and consumer trends and we have a keen interest in exploring opportunities that provide consumers with choice.”
The launch will be supported by a £250,000 in-store marketing and social media campaign.
The brand is set to be rolled out to other retailers and foodservice providers over the coming months, while there were plans to launch additional barbecue products in time for the summer.
ABP first entered the meat-free category in 2011. Since then it had grown to become “a UK market leader for own-label vegetable-based meat-free foods”, it claimed.
The business manufactures a range of frozen products such as burgers, crispy bakes and grills at its Eatwell meat-free processing facility in Liverpool, for both retail and foodservice clients.
The launch of Equals comes a week after US meat giant Tyson Foods - which has already invested in brands such as Beyond Meat - promised to “flex its muscles” to ensure alternative proteins were more accessible in its quarterly accounts.