Quorn Sales Boom on Horse Meat Scandal
Reuters

Meat-free brand Quorn Foods has unveiled plans to invest £150m over the next five years and create 300 jobs at its plant in Billingham, Teeside.

The Yorkshire-based company has profited on the growing trend of consumers turning to meat-free diets, which has seen its sales in the UK grow 15% in the first six months of its financial year.

Demand is increasing strongly abroad as well, with sales in the US and Europe jumping 40% and 29% respectively and sales in Asia and Australia climbing 35% from the corresponding period last year.

Despite its exposure to foreign markets, group chief executive Kevin Brennan said on Monday (24 July) he was confident the business will survive any potential Brexit-related blow.

"Hard Brexit tariffs would not be great for us, but it wouldn't be the end of the world," he explained.

"We are running a company where we believe we can quadruple the business to one billion US dollars. Europe plays a part in that but it isn't essential to achieving that.

"The UK business is still a business with incredibly strong growth. The US is a business with enormous scale potential to us, alongside Australia and Asia."

Quorn has so far refrained from raising prices despite the pound's sharp devaluation following last year's Brexit vote, but Brennan admitted while the company was "broadly neutral" to the pound, it could not guarantee prices would not increase.

Sterling plunged to an eight-month low against the euro at the end of last week and was buying €1,1159 early on Monday.

Brennan said the firm, which employs approximately 650 staff, could explore markets outside the EU, should the an advantageous trade deal not be implemented.

"We are still taking a positive view on commercial investment in Europe," he explained. "We continue to invest significantly into Germany, Italy and the Nordics. But equally we know that our category is growing everywhere in the world and that if Europe gets less attractive, we can divert our growth to other places."