Naturli’ Foods, a meat-alternative and dairy-free supplier in Denmark, has entered the US market following a delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Based in the Danish town of Vejen, Naturli’ said it has formed a strategic agreement with wholesaler LaFrieda in New Jersey to distribute the company’s meat-free ‘beef’ mince and burgers. In November last year, the business said it would mark its introduction to the US within two months but a spokesperson has told just-food those plans were scuppered temporarily as coronavirus took hold around the world.

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Naturli’ is backed by Norwegian food firm Orkla through the latter’s majority-owned margarine business Dragsbaek. The company was founded in 1988 but only entered the meat-free category in 2014.

It first launched plant-based mince, or Chopped, in Denmark three years ago before adding 19 overseas markets to its export roster, including Japan earlier this year, and now the US, which will also see the roll out of Naturli’s The Burger. 

The company’s products are made with pea as the base protein ingredient marketed as Pea’f. Its line-up also includes plant-based hotdogs and chicken products, and falafel, along with vegan spreads and ice cream.

LaFrieda supplies supermarket chains in the US and also the hospitality sector such as restaurants and hotels.

Naturli’ CEO Henrik Lund said in a statement: “Thanks to our collaboration with the well-known and highly-regarded meat wholesaler LaFrieda, we are witnessing a historic breakthrough on the US market. Our target is to generate sales of a double-digit million dollars amount over the next three years.”

He continued: “LaFrieda is an innovative and powerful player within the traditional meat-protein sector who recognises that in future, plant proteins are going to constitute a critical component of protein consumables.” 

LaFrieda CEO Pat LaFrieda said his business is turning more to the meat-alternative area as such products are in “high demand among our customers”. The wholesaler expects meat-free sales to account for 20% of its business within five years.
“To put it simply, if we want to feed everybody in the future, we will need both a vibrant and sustainable meat/poultry sector plus consumer-satisfying plant-based foods and plant proteins,” he added. “We consider plant-based foods as naturally complementary products – and in some cases as substitutes – for meat.”