Vegbloc: Meet the start-up substituting, not imitating, meat with a clean label

By Augustus Bambridge-Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Meat substitutes are often thought of as 'ultra-processed', but newcomer Vegbloc is working to buck the trend. Image Source: coldsnowstorm/Getty Images
Meat substitutes are often thought of as 'ultra-processed', but newcomer Vegbloc is working to buck the trend. Image Source: coldsnowstorm/Getty Images

Related tags plant-based Clean label Consumer trust

Meat substitutes, especially those aiming to mimic the real thing, can be 'ultra-processed' in nature and associated with e-numbers and additives. But some plant-based meat substitutes, such as newcomer Vegbloc - which aims to replace meat in meals without actively imitating any specific meat - are working to buck the trend. Some meat substitutes, co-founder Simon Day tells us, are clean label.

One of the prominent benefits of clean labelled products is that they don’t carry the stigma that additives often do.

There are obviously health benefits​,” Simon Day, co-founder of Vegbloc, told FoodNavigator. “We’ll leave it to others to research the exact nature and extent of those – but the biggest benefit we see is consumer trust."

Vegbloc's ingredients include quinoa, red lentils, split peas, flax seed, onion, chia seed, gram flour, rosemary, sweet potato, mushroom, garlic, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, salt, mushroom powder, coriander and black pepper.

“We are upfront about the ingredients of Vegbloc and it is attracting the attention of meat-eaters who are suspicious of ‘fake meats’, as well as scratch cook vegans/vegetarians/reducers who would like a more convenient option that is still natural.”

The ‘clean label’ label doesn’t completely cover Vegbloc's ambitions, however. “We don’t think that clean label is enough however​,” Day told us. “It’s also about which ingredients. Vegbloc delivers a good variety of nutritious whole foods that people otherwise find difficult to include in their day-to-day diet​.”

A new type of meat substitute

Vegbloc is unusual in the meat substitutes market in that it doesn’t try to mimic any particular meat, but instead provides a more all-purpose stand-in for meat.

Consumers don’t need any more duplicates and buyers don’t either​,” Day stressed to us. “There are loads of delicious pulses, seeds, veg, mushrooms and other ingredients to be used.

Once you have shed the straightjacket of mimicry, you can drop highly processed and undesirable ingredients and you are free to create really nutritious products with their own delicious taste and texture​.”

Vegbloc has yet to launch its product, but the concept is proving popular among consumers. “The first reaction is that this is something genuinely new and that it’s refreshing that we have created something with its own texture and flavour that isn’t trying to mimic meat! It’s surprised us just how many people have commented on that.

The biggest appeal of the product itself seems to be our clean label and the fact that Vegbloc is stacked full of desirable plants and delivers high fibre on top of the high protein demanded in this category​.”

Vegbloc is in its early stages, but Day still has big plans. “We think that Vegbloc has big potential across Europe​,” he told us. “Ideally we’d like to build a solid and sustainable business foundation in the UK first, but we are open to discussing opportunities as they arise​.”

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