In order to produce many vegan meat alternatives, ingredients such as soy, gluten or mushrooms are used. But not so with vegini. The Austrian company bases its products exclusively from peas, and wants to make the value chain shorter and more sustainable. We asked Lukas Wischenbart, responsible for Marketing & Sales at vegini, what the plans were for the German market.
How is vegini currently developing in the German market?
vegini has been listed at selected food retailers since the beginning of 2017. From a sales perspective, the German market will be intensively promoted in 2018 in order to continue the success story or “proof of concept” from Austria. Currently, our vegini products are stocked by the following partners in Germany – further listings in the retail as well as in the food service industry will follow.
- Edeka Southwest & EDEKA Rhine-Ruhr
- City Markets
Which products are performing particularly well?
Our burger is clearly our bestseller. Consumers know what to do with it and can thus quickly and easily conjure up a meat-free alternative to classic meat dishes. Second place goes to our Pulled Chunks in various flavours, which are very versatile in wok and pan dishes for home cooking, as well as for the catering industry.
What distinguishes vegini from other suppliers in this segment?
Unlike many other products on the market, our products are not made from soy, wheat gluten, mushrooms, etc. vegini is made from peas, which are adapted to the European climate. This is a huge advantage, especially when it comes to sustainability, as the water consumption for peas is considerably lower than, for example, that for soy. Our vegini products are therefore 100% sustainable. In addition, vegini is characterized by its extremely high protein content of up to 35 percent and is completely allergen-free. We do not use any additives or preservatives, so we differ from many other products in this sector. There are no artificial flavours and no E-numbers in vegini.
And although they are meat alternatives, our products have a bite as good as meat, whilst being suitable for all diets.
How do you intend to make your brand better known in Germany?
With vegini, our goal is to create a brand that is present throughout Europe. We have already partially achieved this on the Austrian market with numerous listings at major food retailers. Of course, a lot of effort will be required to further increase brand awareness.
For the time being, we will primarily use online marketing campaigns and trade fair appearances to penetrate the German market. For the online marketing campaigns, we plan to increase our presence on social media platforms, as well as placing various banner ads. In addition, we are planning numerous tastings at the point of sale (POS for short) to make our products more appealing to customers in-store. If possible, a separate food truck team will be set up for Germany, as in Austria, to sell vegini meals at events and festivals.
Which innovations can we expect from you in 2018?
Since the beginning of 2018 we have launched four new products, and we still have many others up our sleeves. New and already available in Austrian food retailers are our Schnitzerl, nuggets, sweet and sour stripes and our vegetable patties. These products will soon be distributed via a large German vegan online grocery store.
Our next innovation will be vegini To-Go! Products, sold in a cup with sauce. Here you will find mini paprika patties and classic balls, which can also be eaten cold on the way to work or anywhere else. This is a completely new product in this sector, for which we have high expectations, as the to-go sector is booming.
We will soon be expanding our range of convenience products with dumplings and pastries filled with vegini.
Plant-based meat alternatives versus cultivated meat – do you think (in the future) that there is room for both?
In short – yes. We think that in the future the market will continue to change and vegetarian and vegan foods will play an ever greater role. At the same time, however, we are also aware that meat will nevertheless have a firm place in the nutritional needs of Europeans. We do not want to urge anyone to eat purely vegan or vegetarian food. Nevertheless, we think that meat consumption in highly developed countries should be greatly reduced. And that’s where we come in. Our target group are all those who want to eat healthy and sustainable food and who also want to relinquish meat more often without feeling that something is missing.
What plans do you have for an organic product range?
At the moment vegini is not organic, because the raw materials we need are not yet regionally available. Organic pea protein and pea fibres are available from China, but that would be absolute nonsense from a sustainable point of view. The next step is to get peas directly from Austria rather than France. Since the processed raw materials that we need are not yet available here, we are in discussion with Austrian farmers. We want to implement this in the medium term over the next 3-5 years. In the long term, there are plans to switch to organic raw materials.
Who can German retailers turn to if they are interested in vegini?
Phone: +49 (0) 1520 424 09 78
Mail: [email protected]