The company Amidori proves that vegan meat alternatives do not always have to be made of soya. With a base of sunny pea and oats, the company aims to produce meat alternatives with a firm bite – and to do so in a resource-conserving and environmentally friendly way. We interviewed founder Friedrich Büse about entrepreneurial developments and future plans in this sector.
How is your brand developing?
Right from the start, we worked to establish our brand in both B2B and B2C markets. At the moment, our focus is on advancing the B2B business both nationally and internationally. Here we are concentrating on collaborating with companies in the areas of restaurant chains, catering and large food companies. Our customers in these areas include selected Hyatt hotels and IKEA.
Our customers in the end-consumer segment now include around 50 retailers spread across Germany, and we are also stocked in more than 250 branches of Coop in Norway. Furthermore, we sell some of our products via the online shop “alles vegetarisch” of AVE (Absolute Vegan Empire).
Which products are performing particularly well?
Since we develop individual solutions for the special requirements of our customers in the B2B context, the product characteristics differ significantly from customer to customer depending on their wishes. In the B2C sector, for example, our products “M¡dori® Minced” and “M¡dori® Pulled in Marinade Thyme Garlic” are very popular.
What distinguishes your brand from other suppliers in this segment?
We don’t just produce food, we take a holistic approach to everything we do. Of course, the main focus here is on the handling of plant proteins, but social, ethical and ecological aspects always play a central role.
Together with our partners – the Fraunhofer IVV, the Emsland Group, various European universities and institutes – we are intensively engaged in topics such as research into innovative technology solutions, suitable seeds, the cultivation of our raw materials in European multi-field farming, and the biological value and bioavailability of the foods we produce. This results, among other things, in access to exclusive know-how and particularly high-quality and safe raw materials, directly from our home market in Europe.
From the outset, we have also focused on issues such as raising awareness of healthy eating and actively contributing to reducing food waste and climate change. Under this philosophy, we produce tasty products with a firm bite, based on plant-based proteins. In doing so, we consciously and completely refrain from using soya, the most widely used raw material in our industry.
How do you plan to increase brand awareness?
Right from the start, we have focused strongly on the catering sector. With our ever-growing street food fleet, which operates far beyond our region, as well as through collaboration with restaurateurs and established companies in the catering industry, we bring our products closer to consumers without them having to cook them themselves.
Since the end of last year, we have also been telling our story via relevant social media platforms and are now also making direct online contact with end consumers. For strategic reasons, we had deliberately held back until now. From 2019, however, we will increase our marketing activities throughout Europe. In order to be able to fully develop these activities, we are in the process of further expanding strong partnerships with European food retailers and other sales partners.
What innovations can we expect from you in 2018?
In 2018, you can definitely expect a line extension from us. Surprises will follow in 2019 when we expand our range to include products made from vegetables and fruit.
Plant-based meat alternatives versus cultivated meat – is there (in the future) room for both?
Definitely. On the one hand, it will probably be a while before so-called in-vitro-meat comes onto the market at a price acceptable to the consumer and, on the other hand, there will probably always be consumers who do not want to eat animal meat for various reasons. Whether this comes from living animals or a Petri dish does not make any difference to these consumers.
Furthermore, the development of plant-based meat alternatives is still relatively new. In the future, there will probably be further leaps in the similarity of the products to meat.
If anyone is interested, who can they contact at your company?
For trade in the DACH region, there is a central point of contact at [email protected] with our manager for this area, Mr. Christian Kraus.
For international interested parties, the easiest way is to send a message to [email protected] – from there the inquiry will find its way to the relevant person.