California-based meat-free burger maker Beyond Meat is to arrive in hundreds of UK shoppers’ local supermarkets for the first time as demand for plant-based foods continues to grow.
The company said on Monday that it is entering 445 stores due to a combination of this month’s launch in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s executives’ choice to double distribution of its burgers.
The company, which already distributes around the US with giants including Walmart, said the move is part of a Europe-wide retail expansion.
Beyond Meat said it is also gearing up its availability in supermarkets across Europe, including launching in more than more than 1,000 stores in Germany.
Until now plant-based fans looking for Beyond Meat patties, which are made using vegetable proteins, could find them in smaller supply in some supermarkets including Whole Foods and Planet Organic, and on British high streets inside the buns of high-end chains including Honest Burger.
Sainsbury's first trialled the burgers late last year.
Beyond Meat's Chuck Muth said: “These new and expanded retail partnerships in the UK serve as strong proof points that Europe’s appetite for plant-based meat and Beyond Meat products in particular is on the rise... Due to consumer demand we’ve been able to grow rapidly to make plant-based meat options that are better for the planet and more accessible to all.”
It comes after reports emerged that fellow US meat-alternative producer, Impossible Foods, is considering a flotation that would value the company at around $10 billion.
When Beyond Meat listed on Nasdaq in May 2019 with an IPO price of $25 per share, it saw an 135% gain on opening day. The company is now valued at around $8.5 billion.
Alternative meat is set to account for around 10% of the $1.4 trillion-a-year global meat market by 2029, according to research from Barclays.
Nielsen’s Smart Protein Plant-Based Food Sector Report 2021 found that sales of plant based products grew 36% in 2020 in the UK - the fastest growing region in Europe.
Consumer goods giant Unilever has said it aims to increase annual sales of its plant-based meat and dairy alternatives to €1 billion within five to seven years.
The company said it expects €200 million in sales from plant-based substitutes in 2020/21.
Last year the corporate sealed a deal with Burger King to provide its European patties, beating competition from sector heavyweights, including Beyond Meat.