Article appeared in issue 2, 2021
Dawn Farms’ new ranges are set to address new trends and emerging audiences
With the increasing number of consumers looking for better meat and meat-free options, Dawn Farms has added Plant Deli, a range of plant-based protein products, to its portfolio of meat-based products selling into grocery and quick-serve restaurant (QSR) pizza brands. The Plant Deli range is high in protein and low in fat and is free from artificial colours and flavours, nuts, MSG and hydrogenated fats. The range is suitable for vegetarians and vegans and is fully ready to eat (RTE). All ingredients are sustainably sourced using non-GMO ingredients. Plant Deli products are designed for B2B customers, for example, in-store application in QSR, or to perform as the topping on a cook-at-home shop-bought pizza product.
Industry insights with Conor Cahill, head of science and innovation at Dawn Farms
Has the demand for meat been impacted by the vegan trend?
We see that the ‘association’ with the vegan lifestyle has increased, but the proportion adhering to the lifestyle continues to be low, at 2% (Bord Bia, Dietary Lifestyles, 2021). A significant proportion of UK households (70%) still eat meat on a weekly basis, or more often. In our view, the trend to really monitor is the flexitarian lifestyle. This diet incorporates a healthy balance between meat and plant-based foods. Adherence to this diet is high at 16% and is expected to grow significantly in the next five years. Dawn Farms' strategy is to be in a position to provide solutions in plant and meat products to our customers with the recent launch of the Plant Deli and Batch 85 range of products, specifically developed for the pizza and sandwich sectors.
Has Brexit presented any challenges when it comes to supply?
The most recent Brexit milestone relates to UK authorities requiring pre-notificatoin of agri-food products via their IPAFFS system. It is likely that a number of suppliers will stock-build in advance of that deadline to avoid potential delays. Ireland is embedded in the UK food supply chain and Dawn Farms has invested in its own systems and training to ensure that the entire supply-chain security is maintained. We will continue to deliver via our own company, Dawn Farms Distribution.
How is the sector performing in current times?
QSR and restaurants are currently still benefiting from delivery services while retailers gain with online. Growth should bounce back in the summer months as vaccines and better weather provide a route out of the crisis, according to Deloitte UK. This is further backed by the fact that four in five consumers are saying they hope to return to hospitality venues within a few weeks of them reopening, according to CGA. In our view, QSR have been the most resilient during the pandemic. They have weathered the challenges better by pivoting their business models and structures.
Batch 85 is a selection of ready-to-eat cooked meats made from responsibly sourced ingredients and includes pizza toppings, sandwich fillings and ‘Tex Mex’ items. The range was developed and cooked to perform in QSR/Fast Casual sectors and is produced under the Dawn Farms Food Plus+ brand protection programme. It is IQF frozen to seal in freshness and reduce food waste.
Plant Deli: Vegeroni
The fermented-style, plant-based ‘pepperoni’ is made using ablend of pea protein, plant-based fibres and Dawn Farms' signature blend of ‘pepperoni’ spices.