THIS plant-based meat sees 35% growth month-on-month as it signs UK distributor

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

THIS plant-based chicken pieces. Photo: THIS.
THIS plant-based chicken pieces. Photo: THIS.

Related tags meat-free plant-based Protein

UK startup THIS, which makes plant-based meat has announced a UK distribution deal with foodservice company Brakes.

Founded byAndy Shovel and Pete Sharman, THIS mimics meat, chicken and bacon in taste, texture, appearance and smell, but without the ethical or environmental impact, instead using peas and soya beans as the base. 

More meat-free menus

"Our partnership with Brakes signifies THIS going mainstream. Brakes is the largest wholesaler in the UK and we’re excited for the chance to start working with its expansive network and shaking up more meat-free menus across the country,” ​said Shovel.​ 

Brakes has one of the biggest ranges of responsibly sourced products in foodservice from Red Tractor accredited meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables to MSC certified fish and seafood, winning Foodservice Operator of the Year 2019 at the Quality Food Awards (Q Awards) and the Sustainable Supplier Award at the 2019 Footprint Awards. 

Brakes will launch with Great Taste Award-winning THIS Isn’t Bacon rashers, THIS Isn’t Chicken Salt & Pepper pieces, and THIS™ Isn’t Chicken Goujons - offering the hyper-realistic plant-based meat to restaurants, pubs, cafés, schools and hotels across the UK.

“We are pleased to add THIS to our growing portfolio of plant-based suppliers and look forward to helping the brand as it continues to grow in popularity,” ​said Charlotte Laity, category manager, Brakes. 

“THIS is a young, innovative and modern plant-based brand and its fantastic ‘chicken’ and ‘bacon’ alternatives will add a further point of difference to our selection of meat alternatives.”

Mintel: Sharp increase

Across the food sector sales of meat alternatives were up 40% to an estimated £816m last year, Mintel reported, whilst Brakes has seen a sharp increase in the demand for meat alternatives and has reported unprecedented category growth in double digits.

“I am regularly approached about our current range of meat alternatives and receive requests for new and innovative products weekly,” ​addedLaity. 

“Demand is heavily focused around meat-like replicas and vegetable proteins that taste and look like meat which is not surprising given that a significant number of foodservice establishments are reporting strong demand for these products from consumers.”

These patterns are in line with industry trends, which report that almost two thirds of Britons now choose to eat meat substitutes, up from half two years ago (Mintel) and the vegan market is also set to increase, with a quarter of Brits predicted to be vegetarian or vegan by 2025.

THIS has expanded across the foodservice and retail sector with its products in over 1,200 outlets across the UK including Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, Ocado, Honest Burger, Patty & Bun, Barburrito, PURE, Coco Di Mama, and now Brakes. 

Experiencing a compound growth rate of 35% month-on-month has been recognised by restaurant partners who feature THIS products on their menu, including at Chilango, where THIS dishes now make up over 15% of sales. 

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