Maggie Beer (ASX: MBH) has announced a new range of plant-based products will hit Coles (ASX: COL) shelves across Australia in mid-October to target the fast-growing demand for plant-based ready-to-eat meals.
The company’s “Maggie’s Food for Life” range, which includes three plant-based prepared meals described as “flavour driven, fibre and protein rich”, is expected to be launched in 400 Coles supermarkets nationwide.
Maggie Beer first launched its plant-based meals in independent supermarkets in the first half of fiscal 2020 and this latest agreement with Coles is an important step in the company’s strategy to increase its presence in the $1 billion Australian prepared meals market.
Name change to reflect core brand
Maggie Beer changed its name from Longtable Group (previously listed under the ASX code ‘LON’) last month to reflect the company’s principal brand. Its other brands are Saint David Dairy and Paris Creek Farm.
Maggie Beer chief executive officer Chantale Millard said the company’s expansion in prepared meals is consistent with its strategy to focus on its core brand strengths.
“People know that when they buy a product from Maggie Beer Products, it is going to taste great and contain quality Australian ingredients,” she said.
“Our better-for-you plant-based meals fulfill the growing need for people to have flavoursome, nutritional food that is also convenient and fits their busy lifestyles.”
Ms Millard said the company is also working on new products to extend the range further in the “very large and fast-growing” ready meals market.
Nutrient-packed meals at the ready
The three variants in the range include Boston Style Smoky Beans, Creamy Coconut Curry with Mild Indian Spices and Eggplant and Cannelini Bean Caponata.
According to the company, the products are a “good source of protein and an excellent source of dietary fibre”.
Australian cook and author Maggie Beer, the eponymous founder of the company, said she is pleased that consumers can now enjoy a “convenient, nutritionally balanced and great tasting meal”.
“Being plant-based, they are perfect for vegetarians and vegans, though I often add dairy such as ricotta or goats curd to make it indulgent for myself or you can serve as an accompaniment to any other protein that you choose.”
“I’ve come to celebrate plant protein as the way I want to eat much of the time, whether I cook from scratch, or have these in my fridge for when time is of the essence,” she said.
Plant-based meals gaining in popularity
The global plant-based protein market has been estimated to be worth about US$18 billion (A$25 billion) per annum and is growing at a rate of about 14% each year.
Another Australian company jumping on the bandwagon is Wide Open Agriculture (ASX: WOA), which recently announced a research partnership with Curtin University to develop proprietary technology to use lupins as a novel plant-based protein alternative.
The company is also getting close to commercialising the world’s first regenerative plant-based oat milk.