Muscle Foods UK listings include Sainsburys

Muscle Food's UK listings include Sainsbury's

UK protein-rich food specialist Muscle Food has announced listings with three major supermarket chains as it seeks to build on its fast-growing online presence.

Muscle Food said its Protein Pizza is to be sold through Sainsbury's 'Local' convenience stores, though details of store numbers have not yet been confirmed.

The company's Rice Pot Frozen Meals will be launched in Spar stores in September. In addition to being available in some 600 owned stores, they will be offered to 1,200 franchised outlets. 

There will also be a trial launch of its Muscle Liquid Egg Whites in 15 Co-op stores in the Midlands. This is expected to begin in September, the company said, ahead of a wider launch.

Muscle Food founder Darren Beale told just-food today (19 June) conversations are "ongoing" with other retailers, including Asda. 

Launched as an online supplier in 2013, Muscle Food has seen demand for its healthier, protein-rich product concepts grow, with turnover in the last 12 months reaching GBP50m (US$63.7m). 

As the market for protein-enhanced food has become more competitive, Muscle Food is now looking to gain retail listings for established lines with proven rates of sale, Beale explained.

"There's a definite trend at the moment towards plant-based products. We've been seeing the benefit of that and only now is it filtering through to the mainstream multiples and even the convenience sector," Beale said. "What we can offer the supermarkets is not only a product but also the ability to leverage a brand that many customers already know and already trust and are therefore more likely to try in the supermarket."

The Nottingham-based company is also planning to expand internationally over the coming 18 months, having launched a Netherlands website at the beginning of June. A German website is to follow next, with the company also planning to launch in Spain, Poland, Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Bulgaria and Switzerland.

Beale said Muscle Food expects to expand into retail in continental Europe within 18 months, or sooner "if the opportunity presents itself". The company is seeking investment partners, which Beale said will allow it to expand in Europe more quickly.