As we reported back in April of 2019, Dutch meat giant Vion‘s CEO Ronald Lotgerink said the company was considering entering the meat alternatives market. In the following October, Vion announced that it was launching an alt-meat line called ME-AT, and that its slaughterhouse and meat processing plant in Leeuwarden would become a vegan meat factory
Here we speak to Willem Cranenbroek, General Manager of ME-AT, about the progress of the plant-based arm so far.
How large is the current ME-AT product portfolio?
Currently, our product portfolio consists out of 13 different products. Within those products, we have different recipes for different customers, for example, several recipes for burgers, mince, etc. Next to that, our NPD team is working hard to increase this portfolio and we have several new items that we will introduce to our customers within the upcoming months.
In which countries are ME-AT products already sold?
Presently you can buy our products in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Italy, and Bulgaria.
Where is production taking place and what has been invested in it?
All production is taking place in our 100% dedicated plant-based factory in Leeuwarden (the Netherlands). Within Vion’s new strategy we think that we should take our responsibility to grow towards more sustainable production. This to be able to serve in 30 years time the 10 billion people on this globe with safe and tasteful food. Therefore, Vion invested multiple millions to change this plant from a beef slaughterhouse to a brand new plant-based factory.
How flexibly can ME-AT react to the specific wishes of retailers?
We have an agile production system and team at our site. Depending on the request we can move very fast. As we target the private label market we understand that we need to respond fast to retailer and consumer demands.
What innovations are planned for the next few months?
One of our latest innovation was the boneless spare rib for the upcoming BBQ season. We are now already working on the winter season products for 2021-2022. These will be shown to our customers within the next months.
Which other countries are on the agenda for 2021?
We are looking at the possibilities to expand to the UK, but also several other countries within and outside the EU are of interest to us.
Why should retailers choose to have ME-AT on their shelves?
Doing business with ME-AT gives them multiple advantages:
- We focus on fresh meat replacers with a real meat look and feel to them -> this gives flexitarians a very easy way to step into plant-based foods as there is no need for menu change or different handling in the kitchen.
- We focus on health. Almost our entire product range is within Nutriscore A or B or can be adapted in such a way.
- We have a broad range of products, this gives them the opportunity to start small and grow the range or immediately push an extensive range into the shelves to create impact and visibility.
- We can pack our products in different ways so that we can always find a good solution that fits the ideas of the retailer
- We are flexible and have a customer focus within our team.
- We have our own dedicated NPD team and are willing to co-create
For more information about ME-AT go to www.me-at.com