Interview with Paweł Sakowski, Key Accounts Manager

- Recently, while browsing the industry press, various reports from the food market, we often come across advice for manufacturers and traders to focus in particular on the product range addressed to vegetarians and vegans.

- Indeed, this is a ubiquitous topic lately. It appears mainly in the context of the meat and dairy industry, but the special nutritional requirements of people on a diet excluding animal products are also a guideline for other branches of the food industry on how to develop and promote their products.

- What do you mean when you say guideline?

- A properly balanced meat-free and dairy-free diet requires special attention when it comes to protein content. That is why manufacturers of salad bowls can enrich the dishes with legumes to meet the needs of this group of recipients. Salads with the addition of feta are popular – vegetarians will eat such a salad, but vegans will not. For them, instead of feta cheese, tofu, beans or lentils should be added. Vegan convenience dishes can also easily be enriched with additional protein - this is an added value that, when properly communicated on the packaging, distinguishes the products on the store shelf. Another obvious addition that is extremely important for vegans is vitamin B12. People who do not eat animal products must supplement it, so it's worth including it in e.g. vegan cheeses.

- Vegetarian trends are mainly associated with the young, rebellious generation.

- Yes, it comes out in every market research. Among teenagers, the percentage of vegetarians and vegans is definitely higher than in other age groups. In Poland, it is currently about 10% and is still growing year by year. Looking forward, we must expect a major revolution on store shelves when this generation becomes an independent purchasing power. If we care about long-term relationships with customers, now is the time to build your market position in this niche. When building a product portfolio, pay attention to the characteristics of the specific needs of this age group and strive to create products that will respond to their expectations. Traditionally, such products have their designated section on store shelves. This is convenient for buyers but, on the other hand, research shows that if typically vegan products are found in their respective "industry" sections, their sales increase. There is a large group of flexi- and semi-vegetarians who, if they have a choice, will buy, for example, vegan cheese or cottage cheese if they are displayed on a counter dedicated to dairy products.

- So now is the best time to develop a range of veg products and work on their optimal promotion and sales method?

- Work is in full swing. Every now and then we learn about new products being introduced to the market. New companies and start-ups are emerging that have been focused on vegan food since their inception. Companies from the meat and dairy industry rearrange part of their production lines and dedicate them to meatless and dairy-free production. For years, Promar has been associated with meat processing and has been developing various types of cheese analogs, vegan burgers, kebabs, and meatballs for its customers. Our R&D department systematically prepares presentations for companies that express interest in diversifying production and introducing new products to the market. These include both snacks and typical dinner dishes in jars, modern convenience, vegan sausages and black pudding, various varieties of cheese, pastes and hummus.

- Do vegan products usually strive to imitate the taste and texture of meat counterparts in the best way possible?

- There is no clear-cut answer to this question. Because the motivations of people giving up the consumption of meat are different. Most give it up for moral and health reasons – and they usually miss the taste of a typical pork chop, burger or bonfire sausage. Of course, for these people, the most important thing is to accurately recreate these flavors and deceive the senses. Recreating cheese is a big challenge. It does not only have to taste like cheese but it must melt like cheese on toast or pizza, maintain the right consistency when cold and when heated, be appetizing, tasty, and not stick to the teeth! Of course, there is also a group of customers who do not compare vegan products to their prototypes. For them, the important thing is simply the taste and nutritional values without any references to other products.

- Is the vegan offer created by Promar already available on the market?

- Of course, I cannot give any details, this is the commercial and technological secret of our clients. I can only reveal that there are products on the market for which Promar has created the idea along with the entire production technology, but there are also products for which it has only selected the adequate aromas and spices to the technology invented by the client.

- Thank you.

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Paweł Sakowski, Key Accounts Manager
Paweł Sakowski, Key Accounts Manager