Ahead of his speaking role at Future Food-Tech London, we spoke to David Wagstaff, JUST’s recently appointed Executive Director – Europe to find out more about JUST’s vision for the future of protein consumption.
Congratulations on your new appointment as Executive Director – Europe. Can you tell us a bit more about what this role will entail?
I will be leading the overall market planning and access working closely with our partners to develop the JUST brand across all relevant trade channels whilst putting together a small team to develop both brand marketing campaigns and supply chain excellence with a firm focus on driving customer & consumer awareness & trial.
You will be launching the JUST Egg into the European market in partnership with PHW Group. When and where can we expect to buy it from?
JUST partnership in Europe is led by Eurovo along with PHW. Eurovo will serve as our primary manufacturing partner and will sell/distribute to customers and through PHW to serve Europe. JUST and our partners have held many customer meetings across both retail and food service in Europe. We will announce retail and FS partnerships/commitments shortly. We are expecting JUST Egg to be both in store and on menus in Q1 2020.
If you had the opportunity to recommend one change that leaders of the global food system could implement now, what would it be?
Really take note and recognise what is happening in the consumer space and what aspects are driving the brand/food choice purchases – there are some very big influences happening right now that will define the future of consumer behaviours we all have an opportunity to be better at what we put out there.
From your experience in working with both emerging and established food brands launching new products into new markets, what are the biggest challenges? And what specific opportunities and challenges do you see for new plant-based protein products?
One of the biggest challenges (or opportunities) for any new brand into a market is to have a clear reason for being, provide a solution and have stand out in a busy fixture/ at POP – authenticity is fundamental in any new brand launch, consumers want to engage with brands and get more emotionally attached. The emerging and dynamic plant based sector is ready for new variants and shoppers are actively seeking out new products and brands so that’s a great opportunity for all. However, these emerging categories will need to deliver on taste, quality and the overall value proposition to ensure sustainability and access to a wide consumer base.
What is JUST’s vision for the future of protein consumption, and do you see a place in the food system for meat in 50 years’ time?
We expect global protein consumption to continue to grow. Consumers are looking for and the planet needs cleaner sources of protein to ensure that growing demand can be met. JUST Egg and JUST meat will contribute to that need as we continue to grow globally.
What are your plans for JUST over the next 12 months and why is Future Food-Tech London important to this strategy?
JUST Egg will continue our expansion across North America and China in 2020. In addition, will launch JUST Egg in Europe and Australia in 2020.
David will be speaking on the panel, Constructing Robust Supply Chains to Offer the Plant-Based Products of Tomorrow on October 17.
David will be joined by:
Bjorn Witte, Founder, BLUE HORIZON GROUP
Jesper Juul Andersen, Category Area Manager, IKEA FOOD SERVICES
Marcus Keitzer, Alternative Proteins Board Member, PHW GROUP
Willem van Weede, CEO, VIVERA FOOD GROUP