Saffron Road, the US business specialising in Mexican and Indian food, is looking to take advantage of the upheaval in the North American plant-based sector.

The Stamford, Connecticut company, best known for its Indian entrées and ready-meals, believes it can step in to fill a gap left by plant-based businesses that have pulled out of the market or gone under.

One potential target is the Canadian market, where meat and dairy alternatives group The Very Good Food Company went into receivership earlier this year.

Although not solely a plant-based business, Saffron Road offers a range of meat-free options.

Executive vice president Jack Acree told Just Food: “This [the US] is a big country but we are looking at Canada. Some players have pulled out. Opportunities exist but we would need to hit a critical mass there.”

He also sees further opportunities in its domestic market.

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“One plant-based entrées manufacturer has gone out of business so this is available space,” he said.

The plant-based category growth has cooled in North America over the past 12 months or so with a number of withdrawals announced and companies such as Beyond Meat and Oatly struggling to turn a profit.

Acree believes there is a distinction to be made between faux meat and other plant-based products.

“People who want a hamburger don’t want a faux hamburger,” he said.

“Growth in true plant-based items is real. This is absolutely a growth category.”

Saffron Road was established by venture capitalist Adnan Durrani, who was the principal shareholder of Stonyfield Farm until it was sold to French dairy giant Danone in 2001.

It offers a wide range of products from frozen entrées and shelf-stable meals to simmer sauces and plant-based protein snacks. Aside from its core Indian food range it has products covering world cuisines including Thai, Moroccan and Mexican.

It also positions itself within the natural and organic food industry. All of its products are Halal and most are gluten free. The chicken it uses in its meat products is raised without antibiotics.

Its products are sold by all the major US grocers including via 2,700 Walmart stores.

Acree said the company’s turnover is “north of $60m” and growth over the last three years has been “unprecedented”.

“Right now it’s a case of catching our breath,” he said.

He classed Saffron Road’s products as “super-premium” but said it has tried to limit price increases despite costs going up in its supply chain.

“We certainly had to pass on increases that came into us but we didn’t go beyond that,” he said.

Acree said the Indian food category is growing in the US and not just in the multi-ethnic metropolitan areas.

“Here in the US, Mexican and Chinese is not considered ethnic any longer. The leading edge of ethnic now is Indian food,” he said.

“There are certainly hotspots but we also over-index with wealthy rural demographics and university demographics. and the eco-system that surrounds that.”