North East meat free alternatives manufacturer Quorn Foods reached record global sales, saying that customers seeking sustainable diets is responsible for the rise.
The vegetarian food specialists, headquartered in Stokesley with a production plant in Billingham reported an 8% growth to £14.6m sales over January at a time when most food manufacturers saw flat sales.
The firm, which is planning to expand into at least one new international market in 2015, experienced surging sales in all 15 countries it directly supplies.
In the UK, sales rose by 6% – £10.9m – while Quorn’s rapid growth continued in the US where it recorded a 64% increase in revenues last month.
Quorn is attributing the record month to consumers ditching fad New Year diets and instead pursuing more sustainable food solutions that they are more likely to be able to keep for life.
And the strong start to the year comes on the back of a successful 2014 which saw the company achieve record sales of £150m and attract an additional 1.86m new customers, with non-vegetarians now accounting for three-quarters of its customer base.
Kevin Brennan, chief executive officer of Quorn Foods, said: “With January comes the calls for fad diets and with them the long list of things that you’re no longer supposed to eat.
“But there’s clear evidence that people are increasingly seeing through such diets and instead exploring more sustainable food solutions which they have a better chance of being able to stick to.
“Quorn’s growth is directly linked to trends around health and sustainability.
“We’ve seen sales grow by 20% over the last two years and we expect to sustain this momentum as people continue to rethink their meat eating habits and explore healthy and sustainable protein alternatives such as Quorn.
“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.”
To fuel further growth and sustain sales momentum, Quorn is currently investing £30m to double its production capacity at its production site in Billingham, on Teesside, creating up to 400 new jobs in the process.
The company is also continuing to invest millions of pounds into new product development, ensuring its range continues to grow to meet the needs and tastes of a global audience.