ABP UK’s meat-free products ‘outrageous’ says ICSA

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has branded as “outrageous” ABP UK’s decision to launch a new range in the meat-free market, with plant-based quarter pounder burgers soon to hit supermarket shelves.

ICSA president Patrick Kent said he was “shocked” that the food processor was taking this course of action, describing the company’s £250,000 spend on marketing the new products as an “insult to farmers”.

“This is an insult to beef farmers everywhere, but particularly Irish beef farmers given the dire position the sector is in at present,” said Kent.

ABP UK have prospered greatly off the backs of hard-pressed beef farmers, and to throw this in their faces at a time like this is an utter disgrace.

Kent argued that ABP should “be more concerned with their core business”, adding that: “The money would be better spent on paying a better price to beef farmers and promoting greater beef consumption”.

“At a time when beef farmers can’t even cover their costs, the gall of advocating plant-based quarter pounders rather than treating beef farmers fairly is contemptuous in the extreme,” he added.

‘Our core business will remain beef’

Kent’s comments come following ABP UK’s announcement last week that they would be launching this new range of meat-free products.

In a statement, the company said it would continue to focus on beef, and that catering to consumer trends was the motivation behind the move.

ABP UK’s new range, entitled ‘Equals’, will see plant-based products hit the shops, designed to have a “texture and flavour equal to the meat eating experience”, according to Darren Jones, the company’s commercial director.

Our core business is and will remain in beef, but we recognise the growing demand for products that fit a ‘flexitarian’ and meat-free lifestyle.

“As a business we have long invested in understanding market and consumer trends, and we have a keen interest in exploring opportunities that provide consumers with choice,” added Jones.

The meat-free quarter pounders will be available to British consumers as early as this week.

ABP first entered the meat-free market in 2011; today it is the UK’s leading producer of own-label vegetable-based meat-free products.