There’s a new plant-based burger in town, and its name is Oumph!
And by town, I mean Europe. The latest offering from Swedish company Food for Progress, the new Oumph! burger (pronounced “Oomph!”) is soy-based — like Oumph!’s entire plant-based product lineup — and gets its red, beefy color from beets.
In fact, after speaking with Oumph! marketing director Henrik Åkerman, the burger seems to be made only out of soy and beet juice.
I haven’t tried the Oumph! burger yet and don’t know what sort of technology goes into transforming their products. However, my gut tells me that with an ingredient list like that (read: basically just soy) it’ll be hard to stack up to other meat-like vegan burgers, like Beyond and Impossible. The latter two companies have spent years tweaking their burger recipes in labs, harnessing technology and different ingredient ratios in an attempt to make plants taste better than beef from a cow. Impossible even went so far as to genetically engineer heme to emulate the taste of blood. I’m skeptical that a burger made out of what seems like just soy with some beet juice for color could tempt people away from beef in the same way.
The Oumph! burger debuted last week in Stockholm’s Fastfood & Cafe, and will roll out in Scandinavia, the U.K. and Singapore early this spring. According to Åkerman, a two-pack of quarter-pound patties will retail for around €3.5 ($3.95). Compared to Beyond, which costs £5.50 ($7.00) for two patties, that’s a steal.
The company intends to sell the new plant-based burgers both through retail channels and in restaurants, though they have yet to reveal any specific partners. However, they currently sell their other plant-based products in supermarkets throughout Scandinavia, as well as in Tesco and Whole Foods stores in the U.K., so we can safely assume the new Oumph! burger will make an appearance over there during the next few months.
If so, that means that in the U.K. they’ll have to compete with Beyond, which debuted in Tesco at the end of 2018. But there’s plenty of room for more vegan “meat” offerings. Demand for plant-based food is on the rise: according to Mordor Intelligence, between now and 2023 the European plant-based protein market will increase at a CAGR of 7.1 percent.
Grocery stores are taking note of the growing demand for plant-based foods. In fact, Tesco recently increased its vegetarian and vegan offerings after observing that sales of refrigerated and frozen plant-based products rose by 50 percent in 2018.
“Beyond and Impossible have done a great job, but there is definitely room for some competition,” Åkerman told me. I’m just not sure if soy will be giving them much of a run for their money.