Court rules in favour of Campina's milk-derived meat alternative

Related tags Milk Campina

Dutch dairy giant Campina has clearance to call its new milk
derivative product Valess a 'meat alternative' but must provide
more nutritional information about the recipe on its website, a
Dutch court rules, reports Lindsey Partos.

Voorlichtigsbureau Vlees, the country's meat information service, had filed a case against Campina, claiming its Valess product somehow denigrated the image of meat, and that the label on the packaging, "meat alternative" and "dairy from meat'" was misleading.

But a victory for Campina, the court in Arnheim rejected the protestations.

"We are pleased. It was not our intention to impact the image of meat: afterall, our shareholders are farmers,"​ Wim Van den Heuvel, division manager, Valess tells

Rolled out onto the Dutch market in February this year, Valess contains 4 per cent fat (9 per cent for crumbed varieties), formulated with 3 per cent food fibre (seaweed extract) and 15 to 16 per cent milk protein.

Valess has a slightly higher salt content than meat, and does not contain any iron. The judge said we have to add this information to our website, says Van den Heuvel.

The product range is squarely positioned at meat eaters looking for a change, and not vegetarians. "We are targeting people who eat and enjoy meat but occasionally want a change,"​ adds Van den Heuvel.

On the hunt for maximum gains, the market for meat-eaters, compared to vegetarians, is a richer source of revenue for the Dutch firm.

According to Campina, five per cent of people in Holland are vegetarians compared to a considerable 40 per cent of the 16 million population who eat meat 'now and then', their target market.

With a €3 million budget for advertising and below the line activities, according to Van den Heuvel Valess sales topped one million packs within the first ten weeks.

"By week 16 Valess had penetrated nearly 7 per cent of households,"​ adds the product manager.

With the Valess​ range of six ready-to-cook meat replacers, Campina will look to slice away market share from the growing soy-based meat alternative market. Analysts Prosoy​ pitched market growth for soy based products at well over 10 per cent in 2002, topping €1.5 billion in 2003.

In addition to meat alternative openings, the reduced fat formulation provides Campina with new opportunities in the growing weight- and health-conscious consumer markets.

Made from zero per cent fat milk, the only fat present comes from sunflower oil, used to give the pre-heated product a brownish hue.

According to Campina, the process is like making cheese. After the separation into curds and whey, the seafood extract is added to the curds. This changes the curd texture into a fibrous structure.

In early 2006 Van den Heuvel said, the Dutch firm will start rolling out the product in other countries; "the UK and Germany are definitely on the list."​.

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