Client case: AH Vegan Tuna salad

Toast with vegan green tuna- vegan Tuna - Klantcase: AH Vegan Tonijnsalade

De Menken Keuken has been supplying food products to major retailers, catering and catering companies for over forty years—initially only in the Netherlands, but now also far beyond. The range of salads, sauces, spreads, and meat products that find their way to the consumer, mainly under private label, is growing day by day, including vegan options. One of the more successful product innovations is AH Vegan Tuna Salad with Schouten’s Vegan Green Tuna.

Sander Beelen - ontwikkelaar bij de Menken Keuken - Klantcase AH: Vegan Tonijnsalade - Vegan Green Tuna - vegan tonijn  -Client case: AH Vegan Tuna salad

Challenge: looking for the tuna structure

Sander Beelen, product developer at De Menken Keuken, explains: “About eight years ago we also introduced a vegan tuna salad. It soon disappeared from the shelf. The consumer was not ready yet. In addition, the structure of the vegan tuna left a lot to be desired. When several retailers asked for vegan chicken curry, chicken satay and tuna salads two years ago, we started the development again.”

“For the product development of the tuna variety, we looked for a vegan product with a fiber that is close to the structure of tuna. For this we requested samples from various parties, including Schouten.”

Picture Sander Beelen (photographer: Floris Heuer)

“We had already tested many recipes for vegan tuna salad, but the one with Vegan Green Tuna from Schouten was the best”

Sander Beelen – product developer at De Menken Keuken,
Schouten Europe: producten vleesvervangers - Plant-based Tuna -Client case: AH Vegan Tuna salad

Vegan tuna salad

De Menken Keuken does not take any chances with the selection. “We test every product upon arrival. We taste it first without sauce. Sometimes one product is already lost. Then we put it in a sauce, after which we taste again. Because we think it is important that the vegan tuna salad comes as close as possible to the taste of real tuna salad, we also approve the product with the real salads next to it.”

Sander Beelen - ontwikkelaar bij de Menken Keuken - Klantcase AH: Vegan Tonijnsalade - Vegan Green Tuna - vegan tonijn -Client case: AH Vegan Tuna salad

In addition to taste, many other factors are also taken into account. “Can we, for example, process the product directly or do we have to outsource it? We also check whether the product in the salad retains its colour and bite.” Finally, a taste panel is involved. “We had already made and tested many recipes, but the one with the Vegan Green Tuna from Schouten was the best. Not only did it score well with our internal panel, the assessment was also very good in the Normec panel.”

Picture Sander Beelen (photographer: Floris Heuer)

“When I see our AH Vegan Tuna Salad on the shelf, I’m quite proud. Even if you google vegan tuna salad, only one result comes up and that is our salad.”

Sander Beelen – product developer at De Menken Keuken
Klantcase AH: Vegan Tonijnsalade - Vegan Green Tuna - vegan tonijn - Client case: AH Vegan Tuna salad

Proud in the store

Sander Beelen looks back with satisfaction on the development process with Schouten. “I really enjoyed the collaboration. If we needed a sample, that was arranged in no time. It is fair to say that we normally prefer to purchase from existing suppliers, so that you do not have to do extra audits. But we are happy to make an exception for really innovative products, such as Schouten’s.”

Looking for plant-based inspiration?

Do you also want to add (more) plant-based products to your product range? Do you have ideas for vegetarian or vegan products? Contact us about your needs. We are happy to exchange ideas with you about innovative plant-based products.

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