With the introduction of 30 new dishes, the supermarket chain is increasing its shop space devoted to vegetarian foods by an average of 35%.
Launched last week, the range includes an exclusive co-branded initiative between Waitrose and The Vegetarian Butcher: a Dutch company specialising in meat substitutes made using plant-based proteins.
Founded in 2010, the Netherlands-based firm sells products in 16 countries. It has teamed up with Waitrose to develop an own-label range of ready meals which includes a tikka masala, lasagne and green Thai curry made ‘as close as possible’ to the retailer’s best-selling meat versions, but with vegetarian recipes.
Waitrose vegetarian buyer Chloe Graves said: “Vegetarian meals are one of our fastest-growing categories, with sales up 14% year-on-year. And we know this will only get bigger.
“There’s little doubt that plant protein will play an increasingly important part in a healthy balanced diet in the future. By working with The Vegetarian Butcher, we can offer our shoppers a first-to-market high quality replacement protein that is more akin to the texture of meat than anything we’ve stocked before.
“This will appeal to flexitarians [consumers who want to reduce but not completely stop their meat intake] and is also suitable for vegetarians.”
Other dishes in the 30-strong range include vegetable-based dishes including cauliflower cheese croquettes, arrancini, beetroot burgers and a rainbow vegetable stew.
Vegans are also catered for with 11 new products including a 100% dairy free spreadable cheese called Sheese, vegan style pulled pork and a handmade tofu.