“The launch of the Quorn refrigerated line at Kroger marks an exciting new chapter for Quorn Foods in the US. We are continuously looking for new and innovative ways to make reducing meat consumption tastier, healthier, and more convenient for consumers,” said Ben Sussna, Head of Marketing at Quorn Foods USA.
Quorn, which is based in the UK, but has a growing presence in the North American market, occupies a unique place in the meat-alternatives market in that its product (‘mycoprotein’) is not technically plant-based (it’s a single celled micro-organism from the fungus family), and is produced on a commercial scale via a continuous fermentation process – generating a significantly lower carbon footprint than beef or chicken.
Quorn mycoprotein is high in protein and fiber and low in saturated fat and cholesterol and has superior taste and texture to soy-based products on the market, Emily Steingart, associate brand manager, Quorn Foods USA told FoodNavigator-USA last year.
“It's fungi-based protein, it's just that simple... when consumers hear that it's meatless and soy-free, they ask OK, but what is it, and as the plant-based category grows, there is an assumption that these products are either soy or pea protein or vegetable based, but fungi-based protein is a new category and we're proud to be in it.
"Our products have an exceptional texture that mimics chicken and beef. So one of our biggest tactics is sampling."
Quorn - which is based in the UK but has been in the US market since 2002 - was acquired by Flippino packaged goods giant Monde Nissin in 2015 for £550m ($838m).
Quorn mycoprotein is derived from an organism found occurring naturally in the soil in a field in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, UK (Fusarium venenatum strain PTA-2684) in the 1960s.
Today it is produced on a commercial scale in large tanks in the UK using a continuous fermentation process fed with glucose, vitamins and minerals before being heat treated.
When it is extracted, flavorings are added along with egg white for binding so it can be shaped into nuggets, tenders and cutlets.
Quorn has traditionally performed strongly in the natural retail channel in the US, but has been making steady progress in the mainstream grocery market, securing listings in a clutch of leading players from Kroger, Wegmans, Safeway/Albertsons and Target to Walmart.