According to a recent report by Bloomberg Intelligence (BI), the plant-based foods market could make up to 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030, with a value of over $162 billion, up from $29.4 billion in 2020. If anything, the approach to plant-based food, globally is getting more promising. To stand to the occasion and leverage potential growth opportunities QSR chain Neat Burger, a plant-based food concept was launched in 2019 by Tommaso Chiabra. A brand that’s backed by the likes of Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. A brand that takes a holistic approach to clean eating and was launched as an initiative to not only revolutionise platters but also to do good to the environment.
Recently, the burger brand stepped into the Middle East to cater for a new set of customers. Keeping sustainable approaches and a robust ‘planet healthy’ business plan at the core of its agenda, the brand is looking to expand across the region and with its offerings.
In an exclusive interview with RetailME, Kieran Mallon, Managing Director, Baker Street Hospitality Group which has brought Neat Burger to the region discussed the brand’s regional growth strategy.
Getting Neat to the region
There is a perception that taste takes a backseat when sustainability of plant-based comes into the context. However, Neat pairs the context very well. So, for Baker Street, bringing Neat to the Middle Eastern shores was driven by the need to introduce something exceptional to the audience here. We started the company keeping in mind that we will only introduce gamechangers in the food service category to this region and Neat fulfils that in three important ways. Neat brings a host of proprietary food to the menu, it demonstrates exemplary quality with its offerings and thirdly the dynamism of its celebrity founders and their vision to make the brand a global phenomenon is attractive.
Globally, Neat stands for approaches that makes plant-based food tasty as well as attractive and in the same vein the brand stays consistent with its planet first approach in everything it does. From planting one tree for every burger sold to using cutleries that are sustainable and recyclable, Neat’s approach to the concept of sustainability is unique. All the plates and bowls used at the restaurant are made from sugarcane. Cutleries made corn starch are 100% compostable. The packaging is FSC certified and 100% biodegradable.
Spreading the right word
We always complement our sustainable approaches along with right practices to make the brand attractive to the right crowd. And we have been very lucky to get the right audience to taste the burger in this region across age groups therein building a strong customer base already. Even though a lot of communication is rolled out highlighting the company’s sustainable approaches, we still need to educate the customer on our offerings and the potential of plant-based food for which we rely a lot on influencers to support our marketing endeavours.
Building across MENA
Now that we have been able to create a strong footing in Dubai, we are aiming to expand across the Emirates and eventually the region. The only concern is carrying forward the right supply chain orientation wherever we go. This is because, most of the products are locally sourced to empower the agricultural economy while only some ingredients are imported. This is because we are not only selling plant-based food, but a sensibility. So, at every step the wastage needs to be accounted for and the way we are able to make the process planet-friendly has to be tied in too.
Neat Burger first announced plans to expand globally back in 2020, when it had just three restaurants. The following year, the chain raised $7 million in a funding round, taking its total value to $70 million. Staying true to its plan the brand has now expanded to new markets such as Dubai and has also recently opened in New York. A lot is on the cards for the brand as they try to partner with governments across countries to continue its sustainable endeavours. So, it will be nice to see what the brand brings to the MENA region in due course of time.
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