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While many startups have developed juicy vegan beef burgers and chicken nuggets, until now, there hasn’t been an animal-free alternative for jamón – the world-famous dry-cured ham featured heavily across Spain and in Spanish food culture. Two vegan activists in Spain have set out to change that with their new startup Rollito Vegano, whose first 100% plant-based jamón product is already selling out within months of setting up shop.
Founded by Hugo Del Toro and Alex Oprea amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Rollito Vegano is a new plant-based brand offering 100% vegan Spanish dry-cured meats. Their first product, Sinjamón, is the first animal-free vegan serrano ham to land on supermarket shelves. Made from wheat gluten, rice flour, coconut oil, beetroot and natural flavourings and colourings, Sinjamón bears striking resemblance to real acorn-fed iberico ham, but is completely cruelty-free and far more sustainable than its pork counterpart.
Not only does it come at a fraction of the environmental and carbon footprint while still boasting an impressive 37-grams of protein per 100-gram serving, Rollito Vegano’s version also comes in 100% compostable and biodegradable packaging to ensure minimal waste. It’s currently available in various local retail locations, including specialty stores like Encuentro Vegano and Mi Cabra Vegana in Madrid and Málaga-based online platform Global Natural, and it’s selling out fast.
The response has been more than unexpected, newspapers writing about us, stock sold out in one day with waiting lists of up to 200 people.Rollito Vegano
Commenting on the overwhelmingly positive response, the brand told Vegconomist Español that it has been “more than unexpected, newspapers writing about us, stock sold out in one day with waiting lists of up to 200 people.”
But this isn’t just good news for plant-based folk and jamón lovers, Rollito Vegano’s offering has also helped to keep retailers afloat amidst the tough economic situation as a result of the pandemic, attracting consumers who are increasingly turning to safer, healthier and more eco-friendly choices.
“Companies are thanking us for helping them save the month due to Sinjamón’s turnover – it’s been an incentive for the customer to go to the shop and take other products with them,” said the startup.
Companies are thanking us for helping them save the month due to Sinjamón’s turnover – it’s been an incentive for the customer to go to the shop and take other products with them.Rollito Vegano
Rollito Vegano isn’t alone when it comes to the emerging group of new brands looking to fill in the market gap when it comes to beloved traditional meats that are embedded in their local food culture. Chilean startup Pow! Foods, for instance, is wowing audiences with its first product that targets Latin America’s favourite processed meat – animal-free chorizo.
With demand for plant-based foods continuing to rise across the world, startups are also joined by big food players who now want in on the business opportunity.
A report by collaborative investor network FAIRR found that the trend has put the mainstream food manufacturers and retailers under so much pressure that now, as much as 40% of the biggest companies have created dedicated teams laser-focused on innovating new sustainable and vegan products.
All images courtesy of Rollito Vegano.