Quorn gears up for massive NPD push

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Brennan: 'Germany could be one of the top three or four markets in the world for us'
Brennan: 'Germany could be one of the top three or four markets in the world for us'

Related tags: United states, Wheat, Vegetarianism

Quorn has revealed plans for substantial new product development (NPD) activity this year, including gluten-free and vegan lines, which it expects to fuel UK and international growth.

Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk after the meat-free giant posted a solid rise in annual sales, ceo Kevin Brennan said it was preparing products to build on intense interest in the ‘free-from’ claims category.

“Gluten-free products will hit shelves in the next few months and vegan lines hit shelves in September,”​ said Brennan. “Vegan is an exciting area for us. We have worked for a long time to get really great vegan products.”

Within the gluten-free arena, pasta-based lines, including filled pasta and ravioli made without wheat, were a core focus, he said. “We have research showing our products in these markets are better than wheat alternatives. Ravioli and pasta products will be out by the spring.”

Quorn also aimed to develop a range of products in snack formats for use in lunchboxes and food-to-go sections of stores, he said.

Further down the line, the company was looking to launch beef Wellington-style products towards the end of 2015, Brennan added.

Strong growth

Commenting on Quorn’s annual results, he said the company had enjoyed strong growth off the back of its first forays into Germany in 2014, with like-for-like sales there up 49.5%. “We were testing the German market for a year and it has gone well enough to go for national distribution.

“Germany could well be one of the top three or four markets in the world for us, after the US and UK, within five years. Meat-free is worth €130M (£97.4M) there and is growing at about 30%. We think it should continue to grow. There are 7.3M vegetarians there – the largest vegetarian market in Europe.”

The US delivered high double-digit sales growth last year and the business said it aimed to quadruple the size of its operation there by 2019.

Other regions offering considerable growth potential included Asia and Latin America, he said. Within Europe, aside from Germany and the UK, Quorn was already present in Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and the Nordics. Somewhere in southern Europe, such as France, Spain or Italy, would be the next step, Brennan said.

Exports now represent 19% of Quorn’s revenue and the firm currently supplies 15 countries.

Global opportunities

The company saw continued global opportunities to boost sales in foodservice as well as retail channels, Brennan said. Within foodservice, Quorn was generating a lot of interest at universities and hospitals, he added.

The business posted 10% UK like-for-like sales growth on January 22, with total global sales up 7%, to reach a record £150M, off the back of attracting 1.86M new customers.

Earlier this month in our sister title Food Manufacture magazine, Brennan disclosed big plans to grow sales of Quorn to more than $1bn in the next 10 years​.

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