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UK vegan manufacturers seek lobbying campaign for challenging meat and dairy industry

UK vegan manufacturers seek lobbying campaign for challenging meat and dairy industry Food and Beverage Business

The vegan food manufacturing sector in the UK is urging for a united front to counter the influence of meat and dairy lobbies within the industry. At the recent Meat Free Strategies 2023 conference in London, it was highlighted that existing associations have not been effective enough, and vegan businesses need to increase their presence.

Heather Mills, vegan advocate and owner of VBites, emphasized the need for an alliance to level the playing field. She stated, “The meat and dairy industries have a community. The whole point of an alliance is to bring in major players like Nestlé and Cargill, who have the power to lobby the government. This is where the issue can be resolved. While we lack the necessary funds, they do not.”

Mills also pointed out the imbalance caused by subsidies in the dairy and meat industries. “We need subsidies for farmers to grow grain as well as graze cows,” she asserted.

Christopher Kong, co-founder and CEO of Better Nature Tempeh, agreed, highlighting the importance of policy. He remarked, “The amount of subsidy provided by the UK for meat and dairy is remarkable. If we could access a portion of that, our position in the market would greatly improve.”

The UK plant-based industry recently experienced several failures, such as The Meatless Farm, Plant & Bean, and LoveSeitan. The panelists at the conference suggested that an alliance could also serve to promote best industry practices and prevent manufacturers from making mistakes.

Mills cautioned, “The dairy-free sector is relatively secure since major companies are earning substantial profits from it. However, other companies have mismanaged the funds obtained from private-equity investments.”

In order to ensure long-term success, Mills stressed the importance of taking a strategic approach. She added, “We need to encourage these companies to adopt a broader perspective.”

Tom Bursnall, director of Miami Foods, another meat-free supplier in the UK, shared his perspective on the industry. “The sector has become a victim of its own success. Buyers are seeking novelty, and as a result, there has been an oversaturation of products on shelves with insufficient sales rates,” he explained.

Bursnall further noted, “The market is becoming overcrowded, and some companies will eventually fade away.”

Mills concurred, stating, “Many companies fail because they lack the necessary scientific and culinary expertise to develop high-quality products.”

Despite the challenges, Callum Braddock, UK business development director at Singapore-based Tindle, expressed optimism about the future of the vegan industry. “We are still in the early stages of our development. This category is here to stay and will continue to grow,” he concluded.

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