Swiss Food Giant Nestlé Launches Plant-Based Egg And Shrimp Alternatives

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After making a public commitment to regenerative agriculture food supply chains last month, Switzerland-based food giant Nestlé has launched egg and shrimp alternatives, further expanding its portfolio of plant-based foods available to consumers. The new products will first be available in select markets in Europe as a limited test run.

Nestlé will launch its egg alternative under the Garden Gourmet vEGGie name. The product is “versatile,” according to a company announcement, and can be used in scrambles, frittata, pancakes, and as a baking ingredient. Nestlé says the product is also vegan, contains soy protein, omega-3 fatty acids and achieves a Nutri-Score A in Europe. 

The company also announced the launch of the Garden Gourmet Vrimp, a vegan take on shrimp made from seaweed, peas and konjac root. Vrimp arrives a little over a year after Nestlé launched its vegan tuna, Vuna, which is currently available in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. Vuna was Nestlés first foray into the alternative seafood market. Vrimp is its second product in that sector.

Alternative seafood as a sector is seeing huge growth, with bigger VC investments and more options coming onto the market. Documentaries like Seaspiracy and FIN have made an impact on consumer choices and buying behavior and smart protein companies are rushing to meet the demand.

Image courtesy of Nestlé.

Plant-based category ‘getting mainstream’

Both products were developed at the company’s Nestlé Research center in Switzerland and its dedicated R&D center in Germany. vEGGie and Vrimp will first debut in those countries in a limited number of stores as a “test-and-learn” run. 

“Our longstanding expertise in plant, protein and nutritional sciences enabled our teams to develop these great innovations in under a year,” the company said in a statement. “As we speak our R&D teams are already preparing the next wave of plant-based launches.”

Nestlé told Reuters this week that its plant-based products were seeing “double-digit sales growth” and that demand crosses many age groups and demographics. “This is really getting mainstream and broad based,” Chief Executive Mark Schneider said.

Image courtesy of Nestlé.

Climate commitments across the board

Since last year, Nestlé has pursued an aggressive expansion plan around its plant-based categories, which the company says is in response to consumer demand. Various product launches over the last year have included a dairy-free version of the company’s classic Carnation canned milk, a plant-based food brand, Tianjin, in China, vegan hot dogs in the US, and a new pea-based milk called Wunda. 

The company is also involved in cellular agriculture research via a partnership with Israeli startup Future Meat.

Like other major corporations in the food industry, Nestlé has publicly committed to a long-term plan of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Its time-bound plan has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a nonprofit that works with companies to help them set climate-forward plans and goals. Unilever, H&M, and Carlsberg are just a few of the brands working with SBTi on climate action plans.

One of Nestlé’s goals for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 is to continue building out its plant-based brands which the company says will achieve net-zero status by 2022. That includes Garden Gourmet, the brand under which the new egg and shrimp alternatives will be released. 

“Tackling climate change can’t wait and neither can we. It is imperative to the long-term success of our business,” Schneider said at the time of Nestlé’s commitment to net zero. “We have a unique opportunity to address climate change, as we operate in nearly every country in the world and have the size, scale and reach to make a difference.”


Lead image courtesy of Nestlé.

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