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Local communities like Manila Vegans have grown into the thousands, while all-vegan restaurants like Cosmic and Green Bar have sprung up to serve the demand. A decade ago, consumers would have been lucky to find a few vegetarian options on a local restaurant’s menu. Now, major food chains in the Philippines are using plant-based meat to create meat-free versions of their bestsellers.

Burger King, Pancake House, and Army Navy are just some of the big names on that growing list. With the help of The Vegetarian Butcher, these businesses can make premium-quality meat substitutes more accessible to Pinoys. Through this venture, Unilever Food Solutions hopes to help the local plant-based movement thrive. Are you ready to meet the new meat? Get to know The Vegetarian Butcher and its innovative product line below.

The Vegetarian Butcher: How A Meat Lover Made It Happen

Chef Jaap Korteweg wearing a white apron with The Vegetarian Butcher, holding a cleaver and carrots.

Jaap Korteweg, a Dutch meat lover from nine generations of cattle farmers, founded and developed The Vegetarian Butcher. Instead of following his ancestors’ footsteps, Korteweg decided to “swap a life of meat for a life of vegetables.” But as a former avid meat consumer, he missed the taste and texture of meat.

He made it his mission to make plant-based options that capture the same experience. And thus, The Vegetarian Butcher was born. After years of intensive research and experimentation, Korteweg and his team created various products that look, taste, and feel just like meat – all made with nutritious veggies.

How the Vegetarian Butcher Makes Tasty Vegetarian Meat Alternatives

How exactly does The Vegetarian Butcher transform plant proteins into mouthwatering meat-like products? It’s no easy feat, but Unilever’s innovators have mastered the art. The process starts with plant-derived ingredients like soy, a protein- and fiber-rich staple of plant-based diets.

To replicate the dense texture of chicken, The Vegetarian Butcher combines these ingredients into a moist mixture before shaping and blanching. Products with a looser consistency, like hamburgers, begin with a dry base, which is then molded and heated to resemble animal meat. That covers mouthfeel. Now, on to the flavor.

The brand uses fermented plant proteins, natural herbs, spices, and other flavor enhancers to capture the distinct meaty qualities of beef, chicken, or pork. Then, they use regular meat-processing machines to complete the products – each one so close to the real stuff that even devoted meat eaters would be satisfied.

Bringing More Plant-Based Meat to the Philippines

A plate of plant-based Filipino barbecue served with atchara.

The Vegetarian Butcher became available to the global market in 2012, two short years after its debut in its home country, the Netherlands. It took until 2022 for the brand to land on Philippine shores, but now that it has, it’s already making waves in the food industry. It’s a game changer in the local plant-based space, especially for businesses looking to diversify their offerings and provide healthier options to consumers.

Like meat, The Vegetarian Butcher’s vegan alternatives are highly versatile and designed to work for any concept. Case in point: they fit right into Mexican (Mexicali, El Chupacabra), Southeast Asian (Crying Tiger Street Kitchen), and American (Pancake House, Army Navy) cuisine, to name a few existing partners.

The Benefits of Plant-Based Meat

A bowl with minced meat tucked into a lettuce wrap.

Of course, this product’s benefits go far beyond its numerous uses in the kitchen. A new paper published in Future Foods concluded that these options “offer a healthier and more environmentally sustainable solution which takes into account consumer preferences and behavior.”

The study further explains that plant-based products generally require less land and water usage and cause less pollution than animal products.

You might be wondering, "is eating plant-based meat healthy?" There’s plenty of evidence that supports the idea. Various nutrition experts emphasize how helpful plant-based diets can be in combating common health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Diners need not commit to being fully vegan or vegetarian to reap the benefits! In fact, most plant-based meat consumers are flexitarians. This term refers to people who prioritize plant sources in their diet but still occasionally partake in animal products.

Overall, it’s best to consume The Vegetarian Butcher’s meat-free meat alongside fresh vegetables, fruits, and other dietary essentials to meet daily nutritional requirements.

Three Meat Substitutes, 50+ Unique Dishes

Five boxes of The Vegetarian Butcher products.

The Vegetarian Butcher’s initial launch in the Philippines features three best-selling products: the NOChicken Burger, NOChicken Chunks, and NOMince. You can make at least 50 dishes with just these three plant-based meat ingredients. Each one is 100% vegan, soy-based, and high in protein. No MSG, preservatives, or artificial colorants added.

  • NOChicken Burger is a juicy patty you can grill, fry like a chicken cutlet, and cook on a sizzling plate à la burger steak.
  • NOChicken Chunks is the brand’s flagship product and early bestseller. These bite-sized chunks are terrific for saucy stir-fries, on-the-go wraps, and barbecue skewers.
  • NOMince is like minced meat, except it maintains its appetizing firmness even after hours of stewing. Use it in anything that requires “giniling,” like pasta sauces, savory pies, and low-carb lettuce cups.

Finally, The Vegetarian Butcher’s high-quality plant-based meat is now in the Philippines. Shop the brand here. Or, buy frozen packs directly from Unilever Food Solutions Philippines’ Official Distributor through this website.