Nestle unveils new vegan range, as company reveals sales of plant-based alternatives totaled £168m last year
Nestlé has developed a plant-based alternative to tuna as the global food giant makes its first move into the growing market for vegan alternatives to seafood.
Branded Vuna, the product is made from pea protein alongside a combination of five other plant-based ingredients, the firm said. Peas - which require relatively little land and water and can be grown in cold climates - are seen as one of the most sustainable sources of plant protein.
Around 13 per cent of tuna stocks are considered overfished, according to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, while there are an estimated 600,000 vegans in the UK today, up four-fold from 2006.
Vuna joins a roster of plant-based alternatives in Nestle's range including burgers, mince, meatballs, sausages, cold cuts, chicken nuggets, and chicken filets, sales of which totaled more than £168m last year. A recent report from investor coalition FAIRR named Nestle as leading the field in the development of plant-based alternatives, noting that 10 per cent of Nestle's R&D employees are now dedicated solely to the development of plant-based products.
"Sustainably produced plant-based seafood alternatives can help to reduce overfishing and to protect the biodiversity of our oceans," said Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer. "We are excited to launch this great product, and other plant-based fish and shellfish alternatives are already under development."
To increase speed-to-market, new products are first tested in selected retail outlets, Nestle said. The vegan tuna line will initially be launched under the Garden Gourmet brand in Switzerland, both as a chilled product available in a glass jar and in Vuna sandwiches, with rollout to other markets expected to follow soon.
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