The plant-based “bleeding” steak by Dutch company Vivera is now available in Belgian locations of supermarket Carrefour. The vegan product is meant to have the same look, taste, and texture as real steak.
Vivera’s vegan steaks first popped up on the shelves at 400 locations of British supermarket chain Tesco in May of this year. A press release from the company stated the company’s plans to launch in several locations in the Netherlands in June, followed by an expansion into Germany, France, and Italy.
A later release stated that Vivera’s steaks would reach multiple Netherlands locations on June 11, including the largest Dutch grocery chain, Albert Heijn, and the aforementioned Carrefour in Belgium. A statement by Carrefour, however, indicates that the goods didn’t actually arrive until June 19. This slight delay could be due to the high demand for Vivera’s vegan steaks: CCO Gert Jan Gombert told Plant-Based News that Tesco stores nearly sold out of the 40,000-strong initial shipment after just a few days.
Gombert wrote: “We apologize for the empty shelves, we just could not keep up with the high rotations (sometimes>100/per shop/week!). Better availability is on its way!” In response, Vivera is planning to increase their overall manufacturing output to 100,000 units per week. After some internet sleuthing, I could not find any evidence that Vivera is available in Dutch supermarkets yet.
From one angle, this is a good problem to have. The popularity of alterna-proteins is encouraging for health and environmental reasons. More and more people are becoming flexitarian and looking to substitute some of their meat products with vegetarian taste-alikes. Allied Research Market reported that the meat alternative market is projected to grow by 8.4% and reach $5.4 billion by 2020, and Mintel reports that over a quarter of Brits are trying to cut back on meat consumption. According to a press release from Carrefour, 95 percent of their customers are flexitarians, with 70 percent actively looking for meat substitutes.
Even so, it’s tough for plant-based meat companies to keep up with this growing demand. Just a few weeks ago, Beyond Meat had to quadruple their production because their vegan burgers were outselling meat patties in some California grocery stores. Vivera is planning to manufacture several million of their vegan steaks, but will it be enough?
If plant-based meat demand continues to rise (and I don’t see why it wouldn’t), more companies may have to make some major overhauls to their manufacturing and supply strategy to keep up.