Boston, England to become Europe’s plant-based meat capital

Boston, Lincolnshire-based manufacturer Plant & Bean is set to become Europe’s plant-based meat capital with the continent’s largest factory.

Plant & Bean, a British contract manufacturer, has opened Europe’s largest plant-based meat factory in the small town of Boston, Lincolnshire.

The producer’s new facility would be able to churn out 55,000 tonnes of meat alternatives like vegan burgers and sausages every year. Established in 2019, Plant & Bean is the successor of meat-free department of The Brecks Company. The factory spans 65 acres, and its products will cater to sub-scale companies and large international brands, and BRC-certified European retailers.

It currently has a manufacturing plant in Bubwith, Yorks, and is looking for funds to open more units. These includes factories in the US in 2021, followed by China in 2021/2022, Thailand in 2023 and Brazil in 2024. In each facility, it aims to build a capacity of producing 25,000 tonnes of plant-based meat annually.

Plant & Bean’s CEO Edwin Bark told Bloomberg that the new Boston factory will provide the alt-meat industry with the scale to narrow the price and quality gap with conventional meat. “We need to reduce the cost and that comes by increasing scale,” he said. “The gap with animal meat is really too big in key markets. You can completely understand that for families to buy plant-based products regularly is still a challenge.”

Bark, who used to head Nestlé’s plant-based division, added that the pandemic has changed people’s attitudes towards plant-based meat, with a renewed focus on health driving more and more consumers to buy vegan alternatives over lockdown and restaurants to adapt their menus accordingly.

In collaborating with its partners, Plant & Bean is working to reduce the cost of peas — a rising star in plant-based meat — and beans by half, and improve the texture of meat alternatives. “There is a long way to go but the potential is immense,” Bark said. “If we really overcome these consumer barriers in terms of price and quality, I think it will accelerate tremendously.”

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