Denmark-based co-op Danish Crown is the latest meat giant preparing to move into plant-based alternatives.

The company said it will be ready to introduce plant-based alternatives to beef burgers before the end of the year.

Finn Klostermann, CEO of Danish Crown’s beef arm, said: “Danish Crown Beef already have several hybrid products composed of minced beef and root vegetables in the chilled cabinets, they will soon be joined by products made entirely of plants. Before the end of the year a plant-based burger will be a part of our product range.”

Klostermann said the co-op is responding to consumer demand.

“If we don’t acknowledge the huge trend, that consumers eat less meat of higher quality, we will end up in the parking lot outside of the swimming pool, unable to get in and join the fun because it is already full,” he said.

Klostermann said its plant-based products will not be based on soy.

“We are not going to make a product similar to the ones which are already on the market. Our products will be made using peas or beetroot among other plants. They need to be authentic, high-quality and fresh,” he said.

He also said that Danish Crown’s products will not be made to resemble meat.

“It doesn’t make sense. Meat is meat, and plants are plants. They shouldn’t resemble meat, because they aren’t meat. It still needs to be delicious and taste good,” he said.

Klostermann believes that the sale of plant-based products can benefit the sale of Danish beef. “When some of our customers want to eat less meat, we must be able to supply them with an alternative. Take a family with many different preferences and opinions. We will be able to meet the needs of every member of that family by supplying them with options – in the same line of products they will be able to choose plant-based products, hybrid products or products made entirely of meat,” he said.

He added: “The most important thing for us is still that we tell the story of our good Danish beef, and that we sell more of it. Everything else is just an addition to our line of products.”

Read: Eyeing alternatives – meat companies with a stake in meat-free