January 22, 2013, 7:00 am

MTA Foods are aiming to shake up the meat free market with the launch of their chilled “Meet the Alternative” range in Waitrose in January.

They are working on rolling out to the convenience and independent retail channels soon and to other multiples going forward, along with further plans for the foodservice sector.

Designed to capitalise on the continued growth in the meat free market, the products offer an alternative as they are manufactured to look and taste like the meat equivalent and hope to appeal to health conscious consumers actively looking to reduce their meat consumption.

This brand development within the £696 million chilled vegetarian category targets a growing demand from consumers to reduce their meat intake as well as appealing to vegetarians.

The market has been buoyed in recent years by the rising number of people choosing to reduce their meat consumption for health, ethical, sustainable and welfare reasons.

 “Meet the Alternative” range in Waitrose in January.
“Meet the Alternative” range launched in Waitrose this January

Sales of chilled vegetarian foods are currently growing at 6.6%.

This new proposition aims to deliver sustainable category growth by attracting current meat eating consumers (£5.9 billion – fresh meat and poultry market -Kantar) as well as vegetarians and meat reducers.

There is huge potential to explode the market with 46% of consumers now eating red meat very occasionally or avoiding it altogether.

MTA Foods have carried out research and have a product that they believe has the appearance, depth of flavour, texture and the taste is the closest possible to real meat.

Consumer appeal in both pre and post tasting tests combined with a fully integrated trade promotion programme and PR and social media are set to make the launch successful.

A highly team of chefs and nutritionists will be developing a wide selection of healthy and flavoursome recipes, tips (online and print) and videos guaranteed to suit all tastes.

These recipes hope to help inspire MTA customers to create the right balance of tasty and nutritious meals to a consistently high standard.

Launched in six varieties; Beef Style Mince, Beef Style Pieces, Chicken Style Pieces, Pork Style Sausages, Cooked Beef Style Wafer Thin Slices, Beef Style Meatballs, they are made from soya- a plant based protein with an excellent nutritional profile, containing no artificial flavourings or preservatives.

Tony Watson, founder and MD of MTA Foods Limited, said:

“Innovation is one of the key drivers to success and already the company is working on further new products for 2013 to continue developing the market with an emphasis on convenience.

“The meat free market is ready for the next stage of development particularly in light of many of the current price and availability issues facing traditional meat proteins and we believe that Meet the Alternative will be the catalyst to deliver significant unfulfilled potential.”

The MTA range is packaged in clear trays with a large window area for clear visibility and the sleeves have been designed for merchandising in a portrait format for shelf space optimisation.

Rolling out in nearly all the Waitrose stores from mid-January, the business is currently in close discussions with the convenience and independent retail trade where confirmed listings are expected within the next three months.


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