The UK's Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has created a new industry group which will represent the country's vegetarian food industry, whose sales are more than £500 million (€786.2m) each year.
The FDF Vegetarian and Meat-Free Manufacturing Liaison Group has brought together key vegetarian and meat-free food producers to form a powerful alliance of interests in one of the most dynamic and innovative sectors of the UK food industry.
The group aims to make the FDF the centre of expertise on all aspects of the vegetarian and meat-free food manufacturing industry. It will facilitate the exchange of views and experience between FDF members, arrange educational and promotional activities to increase awareness and broaden the appeal of vegetarian food, encourage product development and innovation and promote the highest quality standards.
Sylvia Jay, FDF director general, said: "The new vegetarian group is an exciting addition to the FDF. It reflects the growing demand for even more choice in the food we eat. The group will provide manufacturers with an essential forum and a strong voice in a sector which plays an increasingly important part of their businesses."
Tim Treharne, chairman of the FDF Vegetarian (Meat-Free) Group and agent to Linda McCartney Foods, said: "I am delighted to be chairing this new FDF Group. This alliance of vegetarian and meat-free manufacturers will allow key issues to be addressed in a market which shows a great potential for continued growth."
The latest market intelligence reports indicate that the vegetarian and meat-free category is worth more than £540 million in the UK and is growing on average by over 15 per cent a year.
This growth is being driven by an increasing number of consumers who are reducing meat consumption as part of a more varied diet. As a result, the vegetarian and meat-free category sector is now one on the most dynamic and innovative sectors of the UK food industry.