Peperami is moving into meat-free with a duo of imitation chicken snacks – and plans to launch a veggie version of its classic meat stick.
The brand has unveiled a range called Vegerami Chick’nless Bites – its first ever sub-brand – which are made using pea protein.
They will roll into Tesco later this month in two flavours: Pep’d Up and Smokin’ (rsp: £1/40g).
The Pep’d Up bites are coated in a tikka-style glaze, while the Smokin’ variant had a “unique smoky flavour”, said Peperami.
Weighing in at 134 calories per pack, they would appeal to “nutritionally aware young adults looking to reduce their meat consumption”, said Peperami.
The brand’s marketing manager Pavan Chandra also confirmed to The Grocer that a vegetarian imitation of the brand’s classic meat stick was in the works.
“It’s something we’re striving for to make plant-based, but we won’t do it until we can get the right product in place”, he said.
Peperami has spent past years mocking vegans and vegetarians with its marketing campaigns.
In January 2020, its mobile poster took to the streets of London and wafted meaty smells at passers-by in a bid to lure consumers away from their plant-based diets on the last day of Veganuary.
Chandra said: “Peperami takes the mickey out of everybody, it doesn’t just take the mickey out of vegetarians and vegans.” The brand’s “tongue-in-cheek” tone of voice shouldn’t be taken too seriously, he added.
A greater consumer demand for flexitarian-friendly snacks over the past few years had inspired the launch of Vegerami, he said.
It was “really important” that Peperami kept up with modern consumer tastes and continued to produce “great-tasting” products across multiple snacking categories. It wouldn’t introduce anything “inferior” to the original product and risk disappointing consumers that had grown up with the brand.
The news follows Peperami’s recent rebranding, which it said hoped would lure in a “mainstream and younger” shopper.
Last month it unveiled a new logo and redesigned packaging, which has rolled out across its core range of products.