Monde Nissin-owned Quorn Foods has announced that it will invest £7 million (roughly NZD 13.5 Million) to construct an innovation factory at its headquarters in the UK. With the growing trend of plant-based products, the meat alternative food manufacturer has said that investment in ongoing innovation and technological capability is key to the companies’ growth strategy.

The new innovation hub is scheduled to break ground later this year, with the development of new products the ultimate goal.

Quorn stated that it is responding to the current global trend towards meat alternatives, as consumers continue to become more concerned with health and environmental issues associated with excessive meat consumption. This trend is cemented by the fact that the UK’s meat-free category is growing at a rate of 15 per cent.

Kevin Brennan, Quorn Foods chief executive, said: “With category momentum, we are confident we can become a $1 billion business in the next ten years. We are seeing lots of Silicon Valley investment and hype in this space, but we have already built up 30 years of expertise in the meat-free category. With our renewed investment in R&D, we expect to lead the way for decades to come.”

“We are already seeing amazing growth internationally: Australian sales are up 50 per cent and US sales are up 23 per cent. With continued investment, we believe we can continue this level of performance.”

The announcement of the new development follows the release of Quorn’s half-year financials which saw the company increase its sales by 12 per cent resulting in the most profitable year for the company thus far.