An Australian vegan brand has found success on the shelves of Woolworths despite having the odds stacked against it.
Made From Plants took advantage of heightened demand for plant-based protein products during the COVID-19 pandemic, launching a new and improved range.
It feels counterintuitive to launch a brand new line of products in the midst of a financial crisis, but the gamble paid off for Made With Plants; 86,000 units were sold across 1,000 stores during the first week of launch.
"Our domestic supply chains were heavily impacted by COVID-19, and essential businesses functions such as negotiations, product tastings and testings have been more complex," says co-founder of Made With Plants Cale Drouin.
"Health incidents such as COVID-19 will prompt more Australians to think about where their food comes from, and we're already seeing a renewed demand for plant-based proteins worldwide.
"Locally grown plant-based proteins could also provide Australia with greater food security, especially as international supply chains experience the fallout due to COVID-19."
The freshly launched range included ready-made meals, dairy-free cream cheese, meat-free mince, meat-free meat loaf and meat-free bacon.
Made With Plants was first launched into Woolworths stores in September 2019, just a few months before the pandemic, and already accounts for 20 per cent of the plant-based category in the supermarket chain.
The company's products are made using plant-based proteins derived from ingredients like seitan from wheat and tofu from soybeans.
Demand for vegan foods like Made From Plants is growing at a considerable rate; in Australia the sector is expected to be worth about $3 billion by 2020 and globally $54.5 billion by 2024. This demonstrates an annual growth rate of 14 per cent.
"More every day Australians will choose plant-based alternatives if these foods are easily accessible, fairly priced and above all taste great," says Drouin.
"The fact that mainstream supermarkets such as Woolworths are investing in their plant-based category says a lot about our future food choices as a nation.
"We feel incredibly fortunate to continue growing our business in the present economic climate and we're staying focused on our mission, which makes it easier to look beyond day-to-day challenges."
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