It is the trendy alternative to meat favoured by the health-conscious.
Now Quorn is set to become a billion-dollar brand, powered by the rise in the number of vegetarians and vegans.
Sales of the firm’s products, which replicate the shape and texture of everything from burgers and sausages to fish fingers, rose by an unprecedented 16 per cent last year as consumers turned away from meat, the firm announced.
The food, which was developed from a fungus originally found in a soil sample collected in North Yorkshire, is a good source of protein.
Food tech companies in the US are spending billions developing meat alternatives, however Quorn, a British creation, has been in supermarkets since 1985. Its products have appealed to so-called ‘flexitarians’ who cut down on eating meat as a health and lifestyle choice.
Britons, particularly young adults, have been moving away from red meat for animal welfare and environmental reasons. Many are unhappy about intensive farming, animal living conditions and slaughter. Livestock farming also produces large amounts of the greenhouse gases linked with climate change.
A Quorn spokesman said: ‘We are eating far too much meat and with the population set to increase to 11 billion by 2050, we need to reduce our meat consumption and eat more protein sources that have a low impact on the planet, now.’
The company is a global success story with sales up by 16 per cent to £205 million – the strongest annual rise since Quorn launched. Growth in Europe is running at 27 per cent, while it is 35 per cent in the US.
Bosses at the company, which exports to 20 countries, say it is on course to become a billion-dollar business by 2027.
Chief executive Kevin Brennan said: ‘Around the world we are seeing a significant increase in meat-reduction diets, including both flexitarianism and veganism. Choosing to eat Quorn products is a mindful choice to care for your and your family’s health, and also for the health of the planet.
‘What is exciting for us is that Silicon Valley firms keep talking about what they are going to do, while we, a great British innovation, are already delivering it having now served over four billion meals since launching.’
The rise of Quorn has not been without controversy. The US-based Center for Science in the Public Interest claims it has received about 2,500 reports of allergic reactions to Quorn.
As a result, packs in the US carry an allergy note.
But Mr Brennan said: ‘We give our data to allergy experts and they have described Quorn as benign as a potato.’