The Catalan startup Heura Foodswhich sells meat-like products of 100% vegetable origin, doubled its total turnover during the first half of 2022reaching 14.7 million euros, compared to 7.6 million euros raised during the same period of the previous year.
This exponential growth was possible thanks to the fact that in the first months of 2022, the company entered more than 1,500 new retail stores from countries such as France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Italy among others. In addition, its products were incorporated into 3,000 restaurants and new agreements were reached with supermarket chains such as Ocado, Migros or Intermarché.
From Heura Foods they assure that their products are present in more European countries -10 in total- than other alternative meat companies. In fact, in Spain they have a presence in 65% of the retail market, thus being the vegetable brand with the most distribution in the country.
From social activism to creating a business model
It all started in the year 2017when Marc Coloma and Bernat Añaños They did social activism for animal rights. But beyond wanting to inform and show the impact of ranching, they also wanted to be part of the change, so they decided to start experimenting producing vegetable meat from heuraa set of proteins that come from soy beans, a plant that is easy to grow and sustainable.
With a value proposal quite interesting and with a modality of original and disruptive communicationHeura Foods has quickly become a sensation, being classified as one of the most innovative startups in Spain and one of the most attractive to work for, according to LinkedIn.
However, any proposal that comes to break schemes also generates polemics. Therefore, under its slogan “We are not making alternatives to animal meat, but successors”, Heura Foods has been embroiled in more than one controversy, especially for its marketing campaigns, which rely on high-profile outdoor advertising and relentless activism on social media. Your trademark? The smart humour and the challenge to change.
Outdoor advertising leading to complaints
one of the first controversial campaigns Was in the year 2020with a sign of 18.1 x 14.5 meters, located at Calle Toledo 28 de Madrid, where it read “A meat burger pollutes more than your car. With Madrid Central we have reduced pollution by changing the way we move. Why not change our way of eating now?
This message was part of an outdoor campaign that had as objective to raise awareness about the negative impact of livestock farming and meat consumption on the environment, stating that a cow can emit up to 300 liters of methane a day, polluting the air we breathe.
The second chapter of this stir took place in June 2022, when Heura Foods was sued in the Community of Madrid by the meat interprofessionals ASICI, INTERCUN, INTEROVIC, INTERPORC and PROVACUNO, due to two large canvases installed in the capital city, where a hamburger appeared and the word “meat” printed in reference to products made with vegetable protein. The complaint also requested that the company stop using meat-related words such as “hamburger”, “sausage” or “chorizo”.
To deal with the situation, Heura Foods decided to give consumers the floor so that they themselves decide if their products can be considered as “meat”, or not. To do so, he installed a new canvas with his particular creativity, where the word “meat” was crossed out and the phrase “Part of the meat industry wants to take us to court for saying this. you judge it Try it for free.”
In front of the complaints 🍔 free and let the people decide ✌️
We have hacked our own campaign by receiving a complaint for the use of “meat”.
How do we believe that the meat debate is not a debate for ⚖️ 👩 but for palates we give away 🍔 and ask “vegetable meat yes or no? pic.twitter.com/mnqyEN5uzt
— Heura Foods #FoodActivists (@HeuraFoods) June 27, 2022
Campaign against meat during Holy Week
In the midst of this judicial fight against the meat associations, during the holy week 2022, Heura hung a huge canvas with the image of a nun looking with love at a perfect hamburger next to the phrase “This Good Friday, eat meat”. In other pamphlets distributed in different parts of Madrid, the company also invited consumers to renew traditions and trust in plant-based foods to enjoy the meat without breaking the mandates of the Christian faith.
As expected, creativity sparked accessions and rejections. Some took it as a very creative and fun way to promote the product, and others accused the brand of trivialize religion. In any case, the responses were the order of the day and, as some wise man once said, “there is no such thing as bad engagement.”
This Good Friday eat (plant-based) meat 🍔#RenewingTraditions pic.twitter.com/KQX0yoGktg
— Heura Foods #FoodActivists (@HeuraFoods) April 7, 2022
Heura responds to Sánchez for his phrase of “the ribeye to the point”
During July 2021, when the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, carried out a campaign entitled #LessMeatMoreLifeframed within the Government’s Spain 2050 Strategy to reduce the consumption of animal meat, the president Pedro Sánchez, stated in a press round that “a steak to the point is unbeatable”. The phrase caused an uproar in the government and many debates on social networks by nutritionists, scientists and experts, about how a low-meat diet is healthier.
Heura did not miss the opportunity and put his bite in Instagram:
In addition, the CEO of the company, Marc Colomatold Business Insider that “I would tell Sánchez that the Heura al punto is the best way to continue enjoying a steak, but aligning the environmental and health strategy that the governments themselves have” (Zasca!).
A job offer that caused indigestion
At the beginning of August 2022, Heura had a media hiccup after publishing a job offer that consisted of organizing a contest to recruit a video technician offering a free food pack to the finalists. The initiative went viral after the user Sergi Santiago (@_sergisantiago) retweeted the offer, accompanied by a strong criticism:
I freak out with @HeuraFoods. They seek to hire a video technician and instead of publishing an offer detailing the working conditions, they announce a “contest” in which you have to send them a free proposal. The finalists are given food.
We are crazy? 😳 pic.twitter.com/IuogXOIfIm
– Sergi Santiago 🏳️🌈 (@_sergisantiago) August 5, 2022
In the face of controversy, Heura Foods deleted the post and apologized through a thread of twits.
Hello! First of all, thank you for putting us in our shoes when we make mistakes. We thought that running a contest by entering a campaign proposal and a video would be a creative and dynamic way to attract content creation talent, but
— Heura Foods #FoodActivists (@HeuraFoods) August 5, 2022
Image: Heura Foods
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