Why The Very Good Butchers cut gluten from its new line

The plant-based meat company is answering demand on the higher end of the market.

Alpahbet Pasta & Meatballs-MMMeatballs-Butchers Select-03-High ResThe Very Good Butchers are launching a new line of plant-based meat products that addresses a key gap in its existing offering by catering to people with gluten sensitivities.

The company is known for its line of plant-based meats including burgers, sausages, taco stuffer, ribs, steaks and pepperoni, “all made of a mixture of beans, veggies, herbs and spices,” explains Mitchell Scott, CEO of the Very Good Food Company – the parent of the Very Good Butchers, which he also co-founded.

“What we were using to bind it all together was wheat gluten, which is great for taste and texture and is a nice, clean ingredient. But there’s a large portion of the population that is avoiding gluten for various reasons,” he adds. “So this was one of our biggest customer demands: people were saying they love our products, love the look and love them when they try them, but they’re looking for something without gluten. That’s what started this journey.”

The journey led the Very Good Butchers to launch its new line of products, Butcher’s Select. But Scott says the brand was determined to make the line more than just a gluten-free variation on its existing products, so it started to think about ways to differentiate it from its existing offerings.

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“This was an opportunity for us to create a meatier product, have it be more accessible to our consumers who are going gluten- and soy-free, but still stick to our original ethos of clean, great-tasting food,” he said.

The line specifically looks to play in a higher-end plant-based meat space, which is a “niche in the market that hasn’t been super well-addressed so far,” says Scott.

“You have some companies who are trying to get their product out to everyone by doing partnerships with the Burger Kings or the A&Ws of the world,” he adds, but the Very Good Butchers are instead “focusing on people who want the highest-quality plant-based meat products available, but that are still affordable and accessible.”

Bratwurst-How To Cook-BS-VGB-High ResThe brand ran a limited release of two of the line’s sausage products and will soon be launching the entire line – including those sausage products, burgers and meatballs – in earnest, backed by a campaign which it could not fully discuss at this time as it is finalizing details, according to Kyle Marancos, director of marketing and e-commerce with the Very Good Food Company.

“We’re looking to drive awareness and trial, so as a brand that has been driven digital-first, there will definitely be a digital component to the campaign,” he says. “You’ll also see us popping up in a few more channels.”

That plays into the company’s overall evolution from a “production-limited” entity that had to “experiment with how we get our products to market” into a “truly omnichannel company” that has a presence in grocery stores, its own brick-and-mortar butcher shop, and a large online business.

“I think these channels play together very nicely,” says Scott. “People may go online and see a big box of meat, and maybe they don’t want the whole box but they’ll go to the grocery store and purchase a pack. Or vice versa, they try the pack and then go online and buy the big box.”

Craft handles PR for the brand.