Furthermore, the company collaborated with parents, chefs, school monitors and directors in order to educate children as to the benefits of plant-based meat.
“Introducing the advantages of plant-based eating from a nutritional standpoint is essential,” Marc Coloma, CEO and co-founder of Heura, told FoodNavigator. “Plant-based proteins tend to excel in nutrient density, containing less fat, total calories and sugar, while providing more protein, micronutrients such as B12 and iron and dietary fibre.”
The programme’s aim is not to simply provide an alternative to meat, but a substitute which surpasses meat in many of the ways that matter.
“The fact is, in Europe most kids aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables,” Coloma told us. “By introducing plant-based foods early, we can encourage healthy habits and behavioural change.
“We give the community an opportunity to try ‘meat successors,’ foods that are superior to animal meat from a nutrition and sustainability standpoint, to break stereotypes about taste and show them that eating animals isn't the only way to enjoy the foods they love.”
Another key aspect of Heura’s programme is education. It has conducted training workshops, which include both written and video materials on the benefits of eating plant-based meat.
It has also educated the school staff, through a range of training sessions. “Our trainings have been conducted by our Culinary Team,” Coloma told us, “alongside expert external partners like Mireia Porta, Nutritionist for Football Club Barcelona.
“This includes all the information about our ingredients and why plant-based eating is important. This has been a crucial element, to ensure the best cooking and culinary experiences possible with our Heura products.”
Heura plans to expand the programme to 550 schools. “And while we are starting in Iberia,” Coloma told us, “we also hope to expand the program throughout our key regions across Europe, including France, Italy, UK and DACH.” DACH is Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Plant-based meat in Spain
In Spain, fondness for plant-based diets is on the rise. Heura’s aim to be a ‘successor’ to meat has a lot of groundwork laid by the prevailing trends across Spain, where plant-based diets, and plant-based meat itself, is slowly increasing in popularity.
According to the EU-funded Smart Protein Project, around 30% of Spanish consumers would describe themselves as flexitarian, with 6% following a plant-based diet.
Around 47% of Spanish consumers are at least willing to buy plant-based meat – specifically, 50% want more plant-based burgers to be available, 44% want more chicken alternatives, 39% want plant-based mincemeat, and 34% want plant-based fish sticks. Rice, potatoes and almonds are Spanish favourites for plant-based ingredients.