The largest beef processor in Ireland and the U.K. just became the latest major food company to make their own version of a meatless burger meant to look, cook, and taste like the real deal.
Ireland-based ABP Group announced this week the launch of its new plant-based food line, Equals. The first product: a two-pack of quarter-pound meat-free burgers. The burgers are made of seasoned pea and soy proteins, plus something to make them look red and meaty (maybe beet juice, like Beyond Meat uses?).
ABP has been making pre-cooked meatless products since 2011, but this is the company’s first foray into fresh plant-based foods. Britons can now purchase Equals’ products in Asda supermarkets. A two-pack will cost £2.50 ($3.30). That’s on par with other meatless burger options like Vivera, and roughly half the price of Beyond’s patties, which cost £4.95 ($6.50) for a two-pack.
There must be something in the water. Recently a wave of Big Food (and more interestingly, Big Meat) companies have been developing plant-based burgers that have an uncanny resemblance to meat. Nestlé launched the
Impossible Incredible Burger in December, and earlier this month Tyson, the world’s second-largest producer of beef, chicken, and pork, announced plans to internally develop its own line of plant-based proteins. Meatless food company Lightlife also recently unveiled its own beefy-looking burger.
Big Food might have the advantage of sizeable warchests, manufacturing facilities, and existing sales channels, but Beyond Meat — which is also available in the U.K. — is set to go public this year, which means they could theoretically raise enough money to challenge Big Food.
Then again, as we’ve said time and time again, demand for plant-based protein is growing so quickly that it’s not a zero-sum game. There’s plenty of room out there for more meatless burgers, especially in the U.K. where The Guardian reports that one-third of consumers have are either vegetarian or flexitarian. Good thing: I have a feeling that over the next few months we’ll be seeing other Big Meat companies launching plant-based burgers of their own.