The plant-based burger, which is sold in the meat aisles of supermarkets despite being 100% vegan, is described by its maker as looking and cooking just like beef and has been a hit across the US, where it has been available since 2016.
Speaking at a the Compassion in World Farming conference, organised by the animal welfare campaigners of the same name, company chairman Seth Goldman responded to questions about the expansion of the company.
Giving the first quarter of 2018 as the planned launch, Goldman described UK expansion as a “profound opportunity” for plant based protein.
“In the case of the UK, we have strategically decided this is a priority market” he said. “We want to find significant partners to go to sale quickly.”
Goldman said the company plans to launch into both the UK retail and foodservice sectors, with “more emphasis on retail”.
At present, its overseas presence is limited to a deal to supply Hong Kong, which was announced in April.
Beyond Meat products are currently sold in 11,000 US locations. The brand’s beef-style burger is seen as a more accessible version of the ‘Impossible Burger’, as both closely resemble meat and even ‘bleed’. The Impossible Burger is currently only available at selected US restaurants, including David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi.
The Beyond Burger is made with a pea protein isolate and contains canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose and potato starch, among other ingredients, that give it the eating qualities of meat.
The move comes as veganism is on the rise in the UK, with a growth in the number of restaurants focusing on plant-based dishes. According to a recent survey by the Vegetarian Society, the number of people switching to a vegan diet has almost quadrupled over the last 10 years.
US vegan chain By Chloe recently announced its plans for UK expansion.
Beyond Meat recently announced a partnership with US based food distribution company Sysco which will see the company’s vegan products stocked at food chains, hotels, hospitals and school cafeterias.