14th January 2022
The Veganuary challenge started in the UK back in 2014, when a non-profit organization by the same name encouraged people to try going vegan for the month of January. By 2021, 500,000 had signed up for the pledge with many more people informally joining in. As we reported in our article in 2019, Are you keeping up with the plant-based revolution?, the food and drink sector has had to evolve to keep up with the growing trend to eat less meat. In 2019, one in four new food products brought to the market was labelled vegan. Sales of meat-free foods leaped from £582 million in 2014 to an estimated £816 million in 2019. By 2024 sales are predicted to surpass £1.1 billion.
The latest development in this plant-based revolution is the recent launch of several vegan cheese alternatives. Mondelez has launched its first plant-based Philadelphia® this month to coincide with Veganuary. According to the company the product has been in development for two years and is based on a combination of oats and almonds. This follows hot on the heels of a plant-based Babybel® which is a blend of coconut oil and starch and Boursin® which has sunflower oil as its base.
It’s interesting to note that each of these plant-based cheeses has been developed using different base ingredients. The innovation driving the meat-free, vegan and ethical food revolution is led by strong research and development teams who are working with their legal advisors to ensure that the valuable intellectual property being created is suitably protected. By obtaining strong intellectual property rights, producers can secure a monopoly over their innovation. This monopoly plays a critical role in the process of taking innovative technology to the market, as the exclusivity granted by their intellectual property rights ensures that these companies can establish a solid market position and a competitive edge. The effective use of intellectual property can reduce the risk for the businesses and ensure that they enjoy the full benefit of their innovation.
At Walker Morris we have a strong team of intellectual property lawyers who are experienced in the food and drink sector. Talk to us early on in a product’s development to make sure that you can reap the full benefit of the innovation.
Corporate and Head of Food & Drink