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Source: Boots

Boots’ potential move into vegan food comes as some suppliers are leaving the market

Boots appears to be gearing up to launch a new plant-based range with an application to trademark the brand name ‘Plant Made’.

The health & beauty retailer wants the name to be applicable to a long list of food products including cake, ready meals, sauces, beverages, cereal, energy and oat bars, noodles and pasta, ice creams, frozen yogurts and sorbets, as well as pies.

It comes despite a number of brands having recently retreated from the vegan space, as sales fail to live up to previous expectations in a saturated market.

Premium sausage maker Heck said earlier this month it was cutting many of its vegan lines. Founder Andrew Keeble told The Grocer the anticipated shift by consumers away from meat had not materialised.

“I suppose we slightly believed what the press was telling us about everyone stopping eating meat, but that hasn’t really happened,” he said at the time.

“We’re still the fourth-largest brand in vegan, but that isn’t much to shout about because it’s a tiny market.”

Signs of plant-based saturation also emerged earlier in the year, when Nestlé axed Wunda and Garden Gourmet.

Nestlé UK&I food and dairy MD Honza Dusanek told The Grocer at the time competition in the plant-based market had been a key driver. “The UK meat alternative market in particular is very crowded,” he said.

The meat-free category has seen sales fall by 7.4% over the past year, to £543m [NIQ 52 w/e 22 April 2023].

Own label saw slightly faster value decline last year than the meat-free category as a whole, with sales down 6.7% compared with 6.1% [NIQ 52 w/e 10 September 2022].

Boots latest quarterly results recorded sales up 16% in the three months to 28 February as it focused on value and own brand essentials.

The retailer did not provide a comment on the trademark plans.