The atmosphere was laid-back and informal, and I had some really interesting conversations about veganism, food and blogging in general.
After the drinks reception, a presentation was given by Jen Shepherd, Digital and PR rep for Quorn Foods. It was highly informative and I found myself learning a lot about the origins of the company, as well as the reasoning behind their decision to launch a range of vegan products (which has been 3 years in the making).
The Vegan Society estimates that there are around 300,000 vegans in the UK - a diverse group who follow the lifestyle for a number of ethical, health and environmental reasons. Following growing demand for vegan alternatives across digital channels (and a total of four petitions!), Quorn decided to develop the Quorn Vegan Range, offering consumers two exciting 100% vegan products. The first is the Quorn Hot & Spicy Burger, which will be available at Asda and Waitrose from October 2015. The second, also available at Asda, is Quorn Vegan Chicken-Style Pieces. Both products have a recommended retail price of £2.49, which sounds pretty reasonable to me.
The presentation was followed by the opportunity to sample both products, which had been cooked up into delicious meals by the chefs at Quorn. My absolute favourite of the night was the hot & spicy chicken-style burger, which had a fantastic texture and my seal of approval on the level of spice. The Mediterranean socca (flat-bread 'pizza' with tomatoes and olives) was also a highlight. I was less sure of the stir-fry and did find the texture slightly too crumbly. However, as far as meat-free alternatives go, Quorn has certainly developed a strong product that rivals what is already out there in the market. Compared to another brand of chicken-style pieces that I have tried in the past, Quorn gets my top vote.
I am looking forward to seeing the range expand to other leading retailers in upcoming months. Although I tend to shy away from using meat alternatives in my regular day-to-day cooking, I am excited to test out the stack of recipes they were kind enough to send me.
If you would like to find out more about the products, be sure to check out www.quorn.co.uk/vegan.
Photo credit: Tomas Preston of Preston Perfect Photography (www.facebook.com/PrestonPerfectPhotography)