Alpro UK’s commercial director John Allaway is set to leave after 14 years at the helm.

Allaway is in charge at Alpro UK, reporting to Bernard Deryckere, CEO of Belgium-based Alpro Group.

He has been key to Alpro’s emergence from a relatively small player in the soya-based free-from market to the leading company in both soya milk and the emerging ‘plant-based’ food and drink category, holding a 64% share of the £138.4m total category [Nielsen MAT 9 November 2013].

Under his stewardship, Alpro UK extended its product range to launch almond and hazelnut milk alternatives in January 2012. It has subsequently added rice and oat milks to the range.

“Over the last 14 years, John has brought valued contributions to Alpro UK, and we greatly appreciate this achievement. We look forward to developing the plant-based category further,” Deryckere said.

Alpro was sold to US food giant Dean Foods in 2009. It was spun off, as part of White Wave Foods, last year.

Alpro would not comment on Allaway’s departure date or his reason for leaving. It is currently in the process of recruiting a new commercial director but Sven Lamote, from Alpro’s head office, will act as interim boss.

Allaway has also worked for Burton’s Foods and Unilever.

His departure comes with Alpro currently resisting pressure from allergy groups following its decision to add a ‘may contain traces of almond or hazelnut’ warning to products ahead of the merger of its soya and nut processing facilities at the end of this year or early next year.

They claim there is no need for Alpro to add the warning if robust cleaning and control procedures are in place and that other companies produce nut and non-nut products in the same facilities without on-pack warnings.