Albert Heijn, the Netherlands’ largest supermarket chain, has pledged to expand its plant-based range to more than half of its total offering by 2030.
The aim of this move is to make plant-based eating more affordable and accessible to all, according to the supermarket, and will involve adding more than 150 new products to its already extensive plant-based range.
This will include doubling the number of own-brand alternative meat products on offer – and pricing them equal or cheaper than their animal-derived equivalents.
Currently, the brand offers more than 1,000 animal and dairy-free products, including vegan salmon burgers, a bean burger made from locally grown Dutch beans and a caviar alternative made from seaweed.
Albert Heijn says it will also be assessing the nutritional values of its meat substitutes, as these are often the first stepping-stones for many people looking to transition into a plant-based lifestyle.
Salt and saturated fat levels will be “kept as low as possible”, while “sufficient proteins” and relevant vitamins and minerals will be added to ensure meat alternatives are as healthy as possible.
The move towards expanding its plant-based offerings reflects a sentiment felt across the Netherlands. The country is home to several of the world’s biggest plant-based brands and start-ups – from Vivera, which was acquired by Brazilian food giant JBS last year.
The trend has even reached Government, with Amsterdam City Council laying out plans to encourage its constituents to be 50% plant-based by 2030.
Around the world, the appetite for meat alternatives is also growing – attracting £3.72 billion in investment globally last year.
Marit van Egmond, CEO of Albert Heijn: “For a healthier future, for people and the planet, it is necessary to eat more vegetable proteins. That is why I think it is so important that we as Albert Heijn take our part in this and help our customers on their way to a more plant-based diet.
“We see that interest in plants is growing and demand is increasing, but there is also a need for more convenience and inspiration. We do this by offering the widest choice of tasty, healthy and affordable vegetable and vegetarian products.”