Meat free food champions Quorn has topped turnover of £150m for the first time after attracting almost two million new customers in a year.
Teesside-based Quorn Foods, a global leader in meat alternative products, said it achieved its strongest ever growth last year, reporting a rise of 7% in total revenue at a time when most food manufacturers are seeing flat sales.
Soaring sales in the US contributed to the rise, but growth was recorded right across all 15 countries now selling its meat-free range, meaning exports now account for 19% of Quorn Food’s overall revenue.
Now the firm plans to build on current momentum by expanding into at least one new international market this year.
Quorn, which is headquartered in Stokesley, aims to become a $1bn dollar business in the next 10 years, experienced surging sales in all of the 15 countries it directly supplies, particularly the US where like-for-like sales were up 25% in the second half of 2014, rising to 48% in the final quarter.
At the start of last year Quorn set up its own stateside team to improve access to major distributors and, since then, the company has seen a massive lift in trading, ending the year with 30% more distribution than it started with.
Following an initial trial with Wal-Mart, the company has quadrupled its distribution with the retail giant and products are on sale in 2,300 stores across the country, while double-digit distribution growth was also noted in other major American retailers, including Kroger and Meijer.
Quorn expects its US business to grow by 30% annually, with the aim of quadrupling its stateside operations within four years.
As well as the US, the company is seeing sustained sales growth all over the world, as more non-vegetarians than ever before – around 75% – are purchasing its products.
On home soil, UK sales grew by 10%, with each quarter outperforming the last throughout the year, while sales hit a record high in Germany, with a like-for-like increase of 49.5%.
In Switzerland, revenues rose 8.4% and strong growth was also recorded in the Nordics for the third year running, with volumes increasing by 5.5%.
Kevin Brennan, chief executive of Quorn and the winner of the Teesside Business Executive of the Year, said: “2014 was the year when we really started to realise Quorn’s potential for growth all over the world.
“What’s more, an increasing number of carnivores are buying into our brand with non-vegetarians now accounting for three-quarters of our customer base.
“Over the last two years we’ve seen sales grow in the UK by 20% and we expect to sustain this momentum as people rethink their meat eating habits and explore healthy and sustainable protein alternatives such as Quorn.
“Clearly the US is a market that offers massive potential for growth and, on the back of an extremely positive 2014 which culminated in like-for-like sales growth of 88% in December, we’re aiming to create a stateside operation four times its current size by 2019.
“Following successful launches in Germany, Finland and Denmark last year, we’re also looking to expand into at least one new market in 2015 as we strive to create a $1bn business, four to five times its current size. “After last year, we really are generating momentum towards this goal.”
Quorn is currently investing £30m to double its production capacity at its site in Billingham, creating up to 400 new jobs in the process.
The company is currently advertised by Olympic and world champion athlete Mo Farah.