Quorn sets target for a billion dollar business

Quorn Foods CEO Kevin Brennan
Quorn Foods CEO Kevin Brennan
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S​trong demand for vegan meals has boosted sales at Quorn Foods, which saw a record 16 per cent​ rise in global growth in 2017.

The firm, which is based in ​Stokesley​ in​ North Yorkshire​, said sales have also been boosted ​​​by a sharp increase in “flexitarian​s” - people who eat a plant-based diet with the occasional addition of meat.

Quorn ​said sales totall​ed​ £205m ​in 2017 after an “unprecedented” second half.

The sustainable and healthy​ ​protein company, which exports globally to 20 different markets, is​ ​aiming to become a billion dollar business by 2027.

​The group said its billion-dollar ambition is grounded in the fact that​ ​many consumers are now choosing to eat less meat for a combination of​ ​reasons.

Whilst health is the leading factor, demand is accelerating​ ​due to an increased awareness of the environmental impact of meat​ ​production. This is leading to a reduction in meat consumption, and in​ ​many cases, to a complete shift to vegan diets, underlined by the​ ​growing popularity of ​“​​​Veganuary​“​ ​(going vegan in January) ​which now has more than 115,000​ ​registered followers globally.

Quorn Foods​’​ CE​O​ Kevin Brennan​ said: “Around the world we are seeing a significant increase in​ ​meat-reduction diets, including both flexitarianism and veganism.

​“​The​ ​vegan trend is something that Quorn Foods is responding to with the​ ​launch of more and more vegan products such as Quorn Vegan​ ​Chicken-free Slices, Quorn Vegan Hot and Spicy Burger, and Quorn​ ​Vegan Fishless Fingers, which are winning around the world​.​

​“Choosing to eat Quorn products is about more than choosing great​ ​tasting food. It’s about a mindful choice to care for your and your​ ​family’s health, and also for the health of the planet.

​“​What is​ ​exciting for us is that Silicon Valley firms keep talking about what​ ​they are going to do, whilst we, a great British innovation, are​ ​already delivering it having now served over 4 billion meals since​ ​launching in 1985. This further underlines our continued success and​ ​how much consumers love our products.​”

​The ​results​ follow a £150m investment in ​Quorn’s​ Billingham facility ​last​ July.​

Quorn said t​he investment is ongoing and will not only cover the expansion​ ​of the company’s existing main manufacturing facility at Billingham,​ ​making it the largest facility of its kind globally, but it will also​ ​create hundreds of jobs covering construction, operating the new​ ​facilities and providing key support services to the site.

Quorn also recently invested £2m in a new CHP plant, in​ ​partnership with Veolia, which resulted in a vast improvement in ​carbon dioxide savings, totalling 2​,​000 tonnes per yea​r.​

“I am extremely proud of our growth, the quality of our foods that​ ​underpins that growth and the contribution we are making to the local​ ​area​,” said Mr Brennan​.

​“​At Quorn Foods we continue to take a long term view and we plan​ ​to invest heavily into the meat-free category and maintain​ ​double-digit growth rates.”

​The firm said ​investment in international expansion has paid off with strong growth​ ​in Europe (​up ​27​ per cent​) and beyond.

In the US, the biggest export market for​ ​Quorn, growth in the grocery sector accelerated to 35​ per cent​ in 2017.

Quorn Chicken Style Nuggets are the fastest selling product within​ ​the meat-free category at US supermarket giant, Kroger.

In addition,​ ​Australia ​saw 35​ per cent​ growth, with Quorn Vegan products​ ​the fastest selling in the category.

​“​This ensures business resilience​ ​to the political and economic fallout of any Brexit deal​,” said Mr Brennan.​