Tesco has listed an increase in plant-based products as a factor in its future growth, along with the role of technology in its supermarkets, in a statement given to investors and city analysts.
As part of its plan to expand the vegan-friendly range, Tesco is introducing a plant-based ready meals brand called ‘Plant Chef’ which will increase the number of vegan products available at Tesco ten-fold, from 32 to 300.
It is also looking to prioritise local food producers with the help of its own wholesaler, Booker.
More than 3.5 million Britons switched to a plant-based diet last year, compared to 540,000 people in 2016, marking an incredible growth of 548%.The UK is leading the way in plant-based products as the largest market in Europe for consumption of plant-based alternatives, accounting for around 40 per cent of the European meat substitutes market. This, along with Tesco, the UK's biggest retailer pinning its growth on plant-based products shows that they no longer belong to the niche market.
Startups.co.uk, the UK’s largest small business advice platform, listed plant-based food as a top business idea this year, saying, “As people are becoming more and more interested in the food they eat – including where it comes from, how it’s made, and what the effects of eating it are – plant-based foods are being increasingly recognised for their possible health benefits and eco-friendly footprint."
Several companies in the UK are now adapting to the trend of meat-free and dairy-free alternatives with new and innovative products to meet the increasing consumer base and demand. There has also been significant investment in such alternatives which - coupled with the growing market and resulting competition - will further the growth of this industry in the coming future.