Verso Food’s Beanit fava bean products launched in the UK

Beanit is introducing its fava bean pieces and mince to the shelves of Sainsbury’s, one of the UK’s top retail chains. Produced in Finland by Verso Food, the Beanit fava bean protein pieces and mince are available in 300 Sainsbury’s stores across the UK from the start of 2020.

In addition to launching exclusively in Sainsbury’s in January, Beanit has been recruited into the retailer’s Future Brands initiative – a programme that has already given shelf space to more than 120 new producers.

“We’re thrilled to add Beanit to our Future Brands line up. They offer something great for our customers that are either following a plant-based diet or simply reducing their meat intake. The range has some great tasting products and we have really high hopes for the brand,” says Milena Lazerevska, Head of Future Brands at Sainsbury’s.

Beanit has received plenty of international attention recently, signalling a strong global interest in the Finnish fava bean products. Beanit’s innovations were in the spotlight, for instance, at the world’s largest food and beverage fair Anuga, in Germany in October 2019. Beanit’s fava bean pieces were selected at the fair as one of the 65 best food innovations out of 2,300 applicants.

“We have in our hands a combination of several aspects which are in high demand around the world: A food innovation made from clean ingredients, with excellent taste, and which is easy to cook. Also, using fava beans in this way is unique on a global scale which creates a big differentiating buzz for us,” states Verso Food’s CEO Tomi Järvenpää. Besides the taste and easiness of use, being fully plant-based is a big growth factor: “Beanit is the missing link between conscious and delicious”, he adds.

Exports account for a growing share of Verso Food’s turnover. The company’s new production facility in Kauhava is ready to expand its capacity to produce many times more than today to support new market entries.

Last year, Verso Food was acquired by the Norwegian group Kavli, which has enabled quick expansion to several international markets. The UK market is a natural and strong next step for Verso Food in terms of both market size and consumer habits.

“Demand for a plant-based, soy-free protein that tastes great has increased significantly over the last few years, with recent research now indicating that a staggering 14% of the population now follows a flexitarian diet. In addition, there’s millions more following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, accounting for another 7% of the customers*,” says Paul Lewney, managing director at Kavli UK, the distributor of Beanit in the UK. “We’re really proud of these delicious protein pieces and protein mince – they’re packed full of flavour and bring something a little different to the plant-based arena. We’re confident that UK consumers will love them just as much as we do.”

 

*YouGov, “Is the future of food flexitarian?”, March 2019