Flexitarian snacking: Mora enters NPD partnership with The Vegetarian Butcher

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26 Sep 2018 --- Major Dutch snack manufacturer brand Mora is joining forces with De Vegetarische Slager (The Vegetarian Butcher). The first products, including a vegetarian croquette, will be available early next year in supermarkets, company canteens, cafeterias & hospitality establishments. The distinctive feature of the vegetarian version of this iconic snack is that it’s “so close to the original, you can barely tell the difference.” 

“We have a great cooperation with De Vegetarische Slager. We quickly felt that we are complementing each other very well and that we can reinforce this in our common ambition to make the range of vegetarian snacks bigger and tastier,” Marcel Joosten, Marketing Director at Van Geloven tells FoodIngredientsFirst

“De Vegetarische Slager is an authority in vegetarian food which makes it credible from their own ideology. They have a great knowledge of vegetarian raw materials. Mora is the snack authority who knows how to make these raw materials into a tasty croquette and has the network, supply chain and marketing tools to make it big and accessible,” he adds.

Click to EnlargeThe unique partnership between the Dutch companies is a response to the growing number of consumers who are becoming vegetarian (750,000 Dutch people) or choosing to eat less meat (the so-called “flexitarians,” who now make up two-thirds of the Dutch population, according to University of Wageningen research). By entering into this partnership, the snack manufacturer and vegetarian meat specialist are making “delicious, high-quality vegetarian snacks accessible to a broad audience.”

Mora and The Vegetarian Butcher complement each other perfectly. Mora is the most popular snack brand in the Netherlands and known for its innovative products and for Cora. In recent years, The Vegetarian Butcher has been the fastest-growing brand in meat substitutes, with a strong identity that cleverly uses language and images from the world of meat. 

Jaap Korteweg, founder of The Vegetarian Butcher says: “We’ve now launched a wide range of meat and fish substitutes onto the market. By partnering with a high profile snack brand such as Mora, we can make vegetarian snacks even more delicious and accessible. Above all, we want to bring out a range of snacks that taste the way they should, for meat-lovers, flexitarians and vegetarians alike.”

Mora and The Vegetarian Butcher have developed a vegetarian version of the croquette and croquette balls, filled with slow-cooked “meat.” These have been quality tested and are claimed to be barely distinguishable from the original versions containing meat. At the moment, around 39 million Mora croquettes are eaten every year. In addition to the croquette and croquette ball, another icon is soon to be brought onto the market in a vegetarian form: the Kipcorn [a breaded chicken stick].

Click to EnlargeIn terms of the formulation for these croquette products, Joosten says: “Of course we do not reveal everything but in the declaration, it can be found that the ‘pulled pork’ of the croquette is made from chicken egg protein. The protein is spun into threads through a unique process.”

As of October 2, the vegetarian slow-cooked “meat” croquette will be available from The Vegetarian Butcher’s restaurant in The Hague, De Vleesch Lobby. At the start of 2019, the whole range of vegetarian snacks will be available for supermarkets, cafeterias, company canteens, fuel stations and hospitality establishments. This means that consumers will be able to enjoy meat-free snacks both at home and while out and about. Over the coming period, Dutch people will be hearing about the new vegetarian slow-cooked “meat” croquette from Cora van Mora and Jaap Korteweg, under the slogan “taste it, you won’t believe it.” Mora and The Vegetarian Butcher are continuing to discuss the joint development of even more vegetarian snacks.

Click to Enlarge
The Vegetarian Butcher recently launched
a plant-based smoked sausage with a traditional taste.

New data presented at the IFT Food Expo in Chicago in July 2018, illustrated how the Mindful Choices trend [“I feel good about what I eat” and “what I eat is good for me”] is driving plant-based innovation, with a 62 percent rise in plant-based claims, amid a series of key drivers. For example, when assessing the CAGR of food & beverage launches by selected platforms of innovation (Global, 2013-2017), there was a 17 percent rise in vegan/vegetarian claims and a 57 percent rise in sustainability claims on products marketed under this banner (see figure). 

Product innovation is booming, with a great recent example including Dutch meat alternatives innovator The Vegetarian Butcher, which is launching a plant-based smoked sausage with a traditional taste. The brand aims at allowing meat eaters to ensure that they don’t have to miss out on taste experiences if they reduce their meat intake or remove it altogether from their diet. The animal-friendly smoked sausage will be widely available in Dutch supermarkets from October 2018. Products from the brand are now available at more than 4,000 outlets in 15 countries worldwide. However, for the time being, the smoked sausage will only be available in the Netherlands.

By Robin Wyers

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