So what's happening with Quorn?

What's the deal? Wholly Vegan? Staying non-vegan? Only releasing a few vegan products? "Worldwide potato protein shortage"...? 

Let's try and clear this up.

Yesterday we published an article which resulted in much celebration... Followed by much disappointment when Quorn published a statement which seemed to indicate that our article was incorrect. But the statement they released was also (deliberately?) a little vague and didn't completely rule it out.

So was yesterday's article incorrect? Are the rumours untrue?

Well, since yesterday we've received good news and bad news. The good news is there is good news. The bad news is unfortunately at this stage we aren't permitted to talk about it.

But consider this.

  • There are egg allergy suffers.
  • There are many people with lactose-intolerance (Quorn also use dairy in some of their products)
  • There are many vegetarians who don't consume eggs, known as lacto-vegetarians, including many Hindus.
  • There are also many people who have seen the brutal reality of the egg industry (this includes "cage-free" chickens, who also suffer their entire lives in terrible conditions in order to reduce costs as far as possible - and are then destroyed when they stop producing enough eggs)
  • There are people who have seen the brutal reality of the dairy industry and will not consume any products that contain dairy. (There's plenty of undercover footage showing what happens on these farms)
  • There are obviously vegans, a rapidly increasing demographic that has had a huge amount of media attention recently, and is set to continue to increase in popularity.
  • There is also increasing interest in "fully plant-based" diets for health reasons, rather than ethical reasons. These people won't eat eggs or dairy.
  • And there is India, with a population of over 1 billion including a huge proportion of lacto-vegetarians. As they don't consume egg, none of Quorn's original products have been suitable for this market.

None of these people currently consume the original Quorn products.

More recently Quorn has started to test the waters with a few completely vegan products that don't contain any egg or dairy. All of the above are able to consume and enjoy the new vegan products. This opens up more markets for Quorn.

A couple of vegetarians yesterday expressed some concern over Quorn going "completely vegan" - however they will obviously still be able to eat the new vegan products - as many do already. No one needs eggs in the product. Think about it: they can't taste the egg used in the current products any more than they would be able to taste the potato protein Quorn may be using as a replacement to bind the ingredients. So the binding ingredient used really doesn't have any impact on their lives, but does have a huge impact on the tens of thousands of chickens who lay these eggs.

The first vegan products Quorn launched have been highly successful and opened up new markets for Quorn. There is a huge demand - and from online chatter and personal experience it seems so many people are looking for the Quorn vegan products and are unable to find them in supermarkets because they're always sold out! Right now it seems like Quorn are struggling to keep up with the demand for their vegan products, which is great news.

Quorn want to be seen as an company that takes ethics seriously and have responded accordingly to the market in the past.

Their acceptance in the vegetarian market was initially hampered by the use of battery eggs in its production process, a practice opposed on ethical grounds by many in the vegetarian community. For this reason, the Vegetarian Society initially did not approve these products. However after working with the Vegetarian Society, Quorn began phasing out battery eggs in 2000.

And after working with the animal rights group Compassion Over Killing in 2010 Quorn took steps to reduce its use of eggs overall. From 2010 to 2012 Quorn managed to reduce it's use by at least 3.5 million fewer eggs each year, which means that 14,000 fewer laying hens will suffer on factory farms. And then in late 2011 Quorn introduced it's first vegan product.

So Quorn is slowly but surely heading in the right direction and with the vegan market rapidly increasing, companies must adjust to cater accordingly.

As vegans we obviously wish they would switch to being a 100% vegan company however Quorn is a huge multinational company with very complex supply chains. Any change that happens won't be overnight. The first 3 vegan products they launched in the UK were in development for over 3 years.

There will be a huge increase in competition particularly in the USA (and eventually when they launch worldwide) from ethical, 100% vegan companies such as Beyond Meat (raised $17M USD in funding), Impossible Foods (raised $183M USD in funding) and Hampton Creek. These companies have attracted huge investment from notable forward-thinking investors such as Bill Gates, Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone and Google Ventures for good reason.

With the world’s population estimated to grow to nine billion people by 2050, more food will have to be produced globally over the next 40 years than has been during the past 10,000 years combined - and relying on plants for food enables us to be far, far more efficient and feed far more people than first feeding food to animals and then eating the animal.

It simply makes so much sense for Quorn to transition to a completely vegan line and be able to also wear the highly marketable badge of a "100% ethical" company with no profits from animal exploitation. This is the way the world is moving. A recent article showed millennials (Americans born between 1982 and 2000) are leading the way with 45% regularly consuming vegetarian/vegan foods or are following a strict vegetarian/vegan diet. People are becoming more environmentally and ethically aware.

So our advice right now is to watch this space. You may well be watching for a while - these things never happen overnight unfortunately - but we do fully expect it to happen eventually. Yesterday's celebrations were probably just a bit premature. But at the very least they've fully committed to producing more vegan products in the short term, and that's something to be celebrated as well.

One thing is for sure though - we have got their attention. Please keep up the pressure and continue to show Quorn that the community is very excited about the prospect of Quorn transitioning to a vegan company by sharing this article (buttons below), and signing the original petition that started all of this. Let's continue to believe "this is just the beginning" of something amazing.

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Mary R. Crumpton | Tue, 5th Sep @ 10:51am

You say in your article above that we should sign the petition. But the petition website says the petition is closed, so I can't sign it.....