Orkla has solidified its ambitions in plant-based foods by setting up an alternative-protein business, while the Norway-based firm also signalled its readiness to make acquisitions in the category.

The Oslo-headquartered company – home to vegetarian brands Naturli’ and Annama – said today (30 April) it wants to be one of the foremost players in alternative proteins in Europe, building on a forecast it made in September to double revenues from plant-based foods within two years.

Orkla has appointed Elin Tveito Lidman as CEO of the new unit, Orkla Alternative Proteins (OAP). She previously held the position of vice president for strategy at Orkla, before which she was the marketing director at Orkla Home & Personal Care.

Group president and CEO Jaan Ivar Semlitsch said: “We are just at the beginning of a massive shift towards alternative-protein sources. For Orkla, alternative proteins are an important priority area that offers major growth opportunities. Our goal is to reach out to everyone with plant-based food, and to ensure that people can choose these products without having to compromise on taste or consistency.”

Orkla’s plant-based brands, which also include Felix Veggie, Beauvais Veggie and Lecora Green Line, had a total turnover of NOK869m (US$105.5m) in 2020, an increase of 21% over 2019.

By 2025, Orkla is aiming to have a turnover of NOK3bn in plant-based foods.

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By GlobalData

Orkla said the new OAP business unit will work with its existing plant-based brands to develop a general strategy for alternative proteins and “contribute to accelerating the pace of growth outside Orkla’s present home markets”. It added that the company “will make larger-scale [plant-based] acquisitions if and when the right opportunities arise”.

Tveito Lidman said: “I am looking forward to getting started on recruiting key personnel for the OAP organisation, and to working closely with everyone already engaged in building up Orkla’s plant-based business.”