The objective: to reduce meat consumption to a “healthy level”, which helps the environment and at the same time bolsters the use of alternative protein sources. Tapping into this trend, the Düsseldorf-based burger restaurant “What’s Beef” has teamed up with the British food company Moving Mountains and is launching a new meat alternative in its branches today. The burger is made from 100% plant-based ingredients, yet tastes convincingly similar to a beef patty. NX-FOOD (Next Generation Food), the METRO platform for innovative food and gastro ideas, paved the way for these 2 partners to work together. “For us, our customers’ success is paramount. Therefore, we also mobilise our global food network to achieve this,” said Fabio Ziemßen, Director Food Innovation at METRO AG.
“We are thrilled that we were able to facilitate this partnership via NX-FOOD. What drives us is closing the gap between innovation and implementation,” Ziemßen continued. “Its success in the UK demonstrates that the Moving Mountains Burger could establish itself on the market – and also that there is growing demand within our society for more sustainable products.”
In Germany, the burger is currently not available in shops, but can only be tested in the restaurants of the “What’s Beef” burger chain. For Selim Varol, founder and Managing Director of “What’s Beef”, the new, plant-based burger rounds off his menu nicely: “Since we opened ‘What’s Beef’ 6 years ago, I’ve been saying: ‘Eat less meat! Be sustainable and eat more consciously!’,” says Varol. “Moving Mountains takes exactly these points and brings them all together. It’s a perfect product – one we’ve been waiting for. We’re proud to be the first restaurant in Germany to exclusively offer this alternative to meat. Of course, it won’t supplant our sustainably sourced meat. But it means we can offer an alternative to customers looking to reduce their meat consumption, and to those who eat a vegan diet.”
Each burger sold by “What’s Beef” contains 25 g of vegetable protein, is vegan and free from antibiotics and hormones. The ingredients of the Moving Mountains burger are oyster mushrooms, pea, wheat and soy proteins, as well as oats. Beetroot juice creates an authentic “bleed” and the addition of vitamin B12 makes the burger a source of essential nutrients. “Scientists, chefs and farmers invested more than 3 years in developing our burger, which is the closest replica of meat in the UK. Our burger looks like meat, smells like meat, but is made 100% from plant-based sources. Its manufacture requires significantly less land and water and gives rise to fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional meat production. NX-FOOD recommended ‘What’s Beef’ as our partner for the German launch and he was absolutely spot on. It’s a great venue with excellent burger serves, Selim, the founder of ‘What’s Beef’, has a real passion for serving great tasting food and has done a superb job with the Moving Mountains Burger serve,” added Simeon Van der Molen, founder of Moving Mountains.
Working together to drive innovations forward
The remit of the NX-FOOD hub is to develop the business for innovative food ideas and concepts in the retail and food service industries. The objective: to work with external partners and start-ups in making new food ideas an everyday reality for people. Since the spring of 2018, more than 300 start-ups have applied for the ‘Start-up Shelf’ via NX-FOOD. This initiative enables products from start-ups to be trialled in selected stores of METRO Germany, METRO Austria and Real for around 3 months. If successful, they are permanently listed. Additionally, METRO’s NX-FOOD hub is constantly on the lookout for trends, new products and ideas that it can market in conjunction with start-ups or via external partner companies. Moving Mountains, for example, is not currently available at METRO Germany, but is offered exclusively at ‘What’s Beef’.
NX-FOOD has also recently started working with Eurowings and the on-board service provider Retail inMotion. Since August 2018, products from up to 4 start-ups have been offered via the Eurowings Wings Bistro magazine for a 3-month trial period, giving them an exposure to more than 2 million passengers a month. Trends such as urbanisation, climate change and population growth are key considerations in the selection of the products and partners. Central issues include the optimum use of existing resources along with agriculture 4.0, alternative proteins and in vitro meat (cultured meat).
METRO is a leading international wholesale company with food and non-food assortments that specialises on serving the needs of hotels, restaurants and caterers (HoReCa) as well as independent traders. Around the world, METRO has some 24 million customers who can choose whether to shop in one of the large-format stores, order online and collect their purchases at the store or have them delivered. METRO in addition also supports the competitiveness of entrepreneurs and own businesses with digital solutions and thereby contributes to cultural diversity in retail and hospitality. Sustainability is a key pillar of METRO’s business. METRO has been the sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the last four years. The company operates in 35 countries and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2017/18, METRO generated sales of €36.5 billion. In September 2018 METRO AG initiated the divestment process for the food retail chain Real with its 34,000 employees. For more information, please visit www.metroag.de.
NX-FOOD stands for Next Generation Food and is a hub of METRO for new food solutions to address customer demands, future trends and a better food system. The range of NX-FOOD covers topics such as food waste and its reduction, vertical farming as well as sustainable new food concepts and innovative products for hospitality and end consumers that are made accessible by way of initiatives such as the Start-up Shelf. More information about NX-FOOD at www.nx-food.com.
What’s Beef is inspired by the tradition of burger joints in big-city America. From the interior design and the art on the walls to the look of the What’s Beef crew, an ambience is created that lies somewhere between Brooklyn, the Upper East Side and the Meatpacking District. The What’s Beef credo is to offer what are far and away the freshest, best burgers, without compromises. This means: no experiments, no gimmicks and no 50 different versions of a burger – just classics, prepared to perfection. In addition, there is an upscale burger made of Wagyu beef. The What’s Beef concept is executed with a passion for detail. It’s all about the guests, the product and the atmosphere. Only premium-quality fresh products from regional growers are used. The patties, the buns and the fries are all made fresh daily, in-house. More information about What’s Beef at www.whatsbeef.de.
Moving Mountains is a completely independent business. Moving Mountains is a bold and powerful metaphor for the brand’s “massive” goal of living in harmony on a sustainable planet, as well as a daily affirmation in the form of cruelty-free, plant-based food and human health. Moving Mountains Founder, British entrepreneur Simeon Van der Molen, has more than 20 years’ experience in plant-based products and launched the all-natural, vegan household brand Ecozone (www.ecozone.com) in 2000, building his innovative laundry and cleaning brand into a household name for the environmentally-minded community. Both Moving Mountains and Ecozone do not test on animals. Driven by a long-standing passion to make a positive difference to the planet, Simeon launched Moving Mountains with a mission to bring real, radical change to people’s everyday diet by giving a plant-based alternative that is genuinely competitive in taste, texture and satisfaction to animal meat products. More information about Moving Mountains at www.movingmountainsfoods.com.