Vegan hot dogs and pretzels – vegetarian sandwiches and salads: Valora formats are expanding their range of meat-free and plant-based products. For the climate. And for the changing eating habits of their customers.
In January, over a million people all over the world again abstained from animal products. “Veganuary” (from vegan and January) is the name of the campaign in which three Valora formats participated this year: avec, Brezelkönig and Caffè Spettacolo contributed financial support to the campaign. Caffè Spettacolo also launched new vegan products. Brezelkönig extolled the virtues of its purely plant-based hot dog. avec promoted almost 40 vegan products – including bars, crisps and sandwiches.
Their participation in Veganuary was no coincidence. Valora takes climate protection seriously and has defined specific measures in its sustainability strategy: reduce food waste. Make efficient use of energy. Promote environmentally friendly products – including through an “attractive vegan and vegetarian selection”.
Background: animal farming is resource-intensive and causes considerably more greenhouse gas emissions than cultivating plant-based foods. According to WWF Switzerland, switching to a vegetarian diet can reduce the ecological footprint by one quarter, going up to 40% for a vegan diet.
VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN OPTIONS IN ALL VALORA FORMATS
The Valora formats have adapted their range in recent years to boost consumption of vegan and vegetarian products. Most of the offering at Caffè Spettacolo is now vegetarian and some of the croissants and focaccias are vegan. avec focuses mainly on snacks and fresh produce, such as the local “schnägg” range. The unfilled pretzels from Brezelkönig and Ditsch are vegan and complemented by a generous vegetarian offering. Brezelkönig is also experimenting with vegan meat substitutes.
In 2016, BackWerk Germany won the Progress Award from animal rights organisation PETA for its selection and it was among the highest in the vegan ranking of bakery chains conducted by the Albert Schweitzer Foundation in 2019.
Valora’s adjustment of its range has another aim besides climate protection: to cater for changing eating habits. Vegans and vegetarians only account for a small proportion of the population. In Germany, the organisation ProVeg estimates 1-2% of the population are vegan and 10% vegetarian.
Nonetheless, the Valora formats feel that a growing number of customers wish to consume less meat. This applies particularly to younger, urban consumers, often due to increased nutritional and environmental awareness. Then there are the flexitarians, who only indulge in meat on special occasions.
MEATLESS IS EVOLVING FROM A NICHE INTO A MASS MARKET
Flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan: meatless is evolving from a niche into a mass market. This is due in no small measure to plant-based meat substitutes. Once seen as something of a joke, they are now almost indistinguishable from real meat in terms of taste, smell and texture. Market research firms, Polaris for example, predict double-digit growth for meat substitute products over the next few years. The misgivings of many consumers, reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, about industrially produced meat may reinforce this trend.
It is therefore no wonder that Valora food developers are experimenting intensively with meat from the laboratory. Brezelkönig recently created a hot dog with a vegan sausage made by British company Moving Mountain. The chicken imitation Planted Chicken by Zurich start-up Planted has proved a resounding success with the spicy curry baguette that is popular well beyond the vegan scene.
WINNING CONFIRMED MEAT EATERS OVER TO VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN OPTIONS
That is how Valora understands an “attractive selection of vegan and vegetarian products”: innovative and tasty creations that appeal to a broad cross-section of the public. There’s even something for the ardent meat eaters. Does the focaccia at Caffè Spettacolo have a salami or antipasti filling? Who cares, as long as it tastes good. Valora does no patronise customers, but piques their interest and encourages them to identify with climate protection.
Vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians – who eats what?
Vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish or seafood. However, they do consume products from living animals, such as milk, eggs or honey.
Vegans take it one step further: their diet is exclusively plant-based, i.e. they refuse any sustenance sourced from animals.
Flexitarians are also known as part-time vegetarians. They rarely eat meat, only on special occasions.
There are also various other nutrition types: frutarians, pescatarians, paleotarians and various vegetarian subgroups (e.g. ovo and lacto vegetarians).
This article appeared for the first time on 12 January 2021 and was updated on 24 February 2021.
Photos: Noë Flum.