Nordic companies Rebl Eats and Mycorena to create new partnership for market expansion
The retail sales value of meat substitutes increased by an astonishing 121 per cent in the European Union in nine years, reaching almost 1,4 billion euros in 2019 with further growth expected. The market pales in comparison to the meat market however, overshadowing meat substitutes at approximately 135 times its size1.
Meanwhile, there has been a rapid increase in takeaway food and demand for convenience, spurred by food delivery and meal kit tech companies, further propelled by the Covid-19 pandemic. The recent years have seen a spike in demand for convenient, but also tasty and healthy meals, and the availability of such products with great variations in cuisine and flavour is an important factor for the segment's growth. The global ready meals market is expected to reach over 213 billion dollars in 2026, with Western Europe remaining the biggest market2.
The number one driving force in food retail is 'food-to-go' or 'ready-to-eat' products, which in Finland has resulted in an unusually high year-over-year market growth at 16%, constituting a new market of 146 million euros3. This alone makes up roughly half of the total food retail market growth and has consequently led to a surge in more premium products and the market shifting from restaurants to retail in the wake of takeaway culture.
As the market expands and over half of all Europeans seek alternatives to meat, Rebl and Mycorena are teaming up to provide meat substitutes made easy.
In the recent collaboration, Rebl Eat’s product developer and chefs have made ready-to-eat products using Promyc® as the key ingredient, providing an exciting new addition to the next generation of food to go. Promyc® is Mycorena's flagship product, a sustainable and natural fungi-based ingredient, rich in fibre and protein, making it a prime ingredient for the production of vegan food products. With its meat-like texture and neutral taste, it makes an incredibly versatile ingredient suitable for a wide range of products and provides great possibilities to meet the growing demand for alternative protein sources.
The products launched by Rebl Eats and co-branded with Promyc®, resembling the ‘’intel-inside’’ model, have already been met with great response from consumers after an exclusive launch in 15 selected stores in Helsinki, Finland. With an average rotation of 16 products per store and week, compared to the median of 12, it has become a best-seller amongst Rebl's coffee shop products. Out of 106 alternative protein products in Swedish supermarkets today, about 2/3 sell only four products on average per week, while the top sellers sell 20. To reach a top seller position it typically takes a year, a position which Rebl and Mycorena excitedly approach in only the second month since launch.
In the next steps for the Rebl Eats and Mycorena collaboration, the products will be introduced to the Swedish market, followed by the rest of the Nordics and continental Europe. Also joining the journey are early retail partners, first up is Carrefour, who earlier this year organised their first plant-based competition in which more than 250 start-ups from 50 countries entered. Amongst the ten winners chosen by the jury were Rebl Eats.
"The growing market of the ready meal segment is something that we have been following for quite some time now. We have made trials both internally and with a few companies to see the potential of using Promyc® for such dishes, especially since they have a relatively short shelf-life; and to our surprise, Promyc® was performing so well that we got super excited to take our initiative to the real market.
We are amazed by the interest we got from our market verification with Rebl Eats products. For sure, the segment is here to grow, and we believe, together with Rebl Eats, we will make a healthy and sustainable impact in the vegan ready meal segment,” – says Ebba Fröling, COO of Mycorena.
“We have seen meat alternatives for quite some time back home. Finland saw a nationwide hype among the first ones in Europe already 5+ years ago. The hype was based on new users, but because the taste was good rather than great, users did not return. The small country quickly ran out of new users, so we also saw the downfall first” – says Martti Paatela, co-founder of Rebl Eats.
Keeping those users is the key problem to solve if we want a sustainable food future. To win the battle of taste, Rebl cooks full end-user products such as meals and sandwiches with meat alternatives. “Once you take control of the full product, instead of giving users the new protein, you control the taste.” Martti continues. “And in terms of new chicken alternatives to cook with, Promyc® has been the best we have seen so far.”