Turnover has grown to more than £200m at Quorn Foods, boosted by a rise in the number of people pursuing vegan and flexitarian lifestyles. The meat-alternative food manufacturer is now aiming to become a billion dollar business by 2027.

The business achieved its strongest ever year of growth in 2017, with an overall growth rate globally of 16 per cent and total sales of £205m.

Quorn Foods invested £150m in its Billingham facility in July 2017. This will cover the expansion of the company’s existing main manufacturing facility at Billingham, making it the largest facility of its kind globally, and will also create hundreds of jobs covering construction, operating the new facilities and providing key support services to the site.

The business has also invested £2m in a new combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plant, in partnership with Veolia, which resulted in CO2e savings of 2,000 tonnes per year.

Investment in international expansion also resulted in strong growth in Europe of 27 per cent. In the US, Quorn’s largest export market, growth in the grocery sector accelerated to 35 per cent in 2017.

Quorn Foods chief executive Kevin Brennan said: “Around the world we are seeing a significant increase in meat-reduction diets, including both flexitarianism and veganism. The vegan trend is something that Quorn Foods is responding to with the launch of more and more vegan products such as Quorn Vegan Chicken-free Slices, Quorn Vegan Hot and Spicy Burger, and Quorn Vegan Fishless Fingers.

“I am extremely proud of our growth, the quality of our foods that underpins that growth and the contribution we are making to the local area. At Quorn Foods we continue to take a long term view and we plan to invest heavily into the meat-free category and maintain double-digit growth rates.”

Quorn Foods is the trading name of Marlow Foods Ltd. The Stokesley-based company employs about 600 workers and exports to 20 countries around the world, including Australia, South Africa and the US.