One day in 2017, Sean and Josh were sat in the pub when a crazy idea hit them – would it be possible to create a vegan pork scratching? Initial research confirmed that this had never been tried before, and whilst they did find a vegan ‘pork rinds’ product over in the US, it bared little resemblance to the fried snack enjoyed in pubs and homes up and down the country. They believed that the key to success was to capture both the taste, and dual-texture (crunchy skin and soft fat) of a real pork scratching in to a vegan product. This would not only give them a truly innovative product that vegans, flexitarians and intrigued pub-goers could enjoy with their pint, but the PR for something like this would also give them a great head start in a competitive category that has had a strong focus on innovation in recent years.
The brief was to conceptualise, develop and assist with launching a product that got as close to the taste and textural properties of a pork scratching, whilst also maximising commercial value and the ability to scale up as the business grows.
Shelf life testing
After months of trying to find a solution using an existing co-manufacturer, the decision was made for Vegan Pig to launch the product in their own commercial kitchen. This freed up the development process and allowed us to consider innovative processes that could eventually be scaled up in the future, once the volumes began to rise. This blue-sky thinking led us to develop a recipe that captured the hard, blistered, crackly ‘skin’ of a scratching, whilst also being balanced with the rich, soft and salty ‘fat’ element that scratching lovers enjoy.
Extensive development work was also carried out to achieve the perfect blend of seasonings and flavourings, resulting in that familiar balance of salty, umami and pork-y flavour found in pork scratchings. The only thing missing are the hairs…which people don’t seem to miss.
Once the recipe had been finalised, costed and tested, it was time to support the guys with on-site training at what would become their first production trial. Now, after a successful Kick Starter campaign, and being picked up by Good Morning Britain they are ready to launch and already inundated with demand to stock their product in pubs and stores around the country. It was a fantastic project to work on, not only for the result that we achieved, but also the pleasure of working with Sean and Josh who never gave up hope that we would deliver the result that they hoped for. We’re very much looking forward for the next round of product development with Vegan Pig!
“We had previously worked with other food development specialists, but none of them could get our product to level we wanted. We began to doubt if anyone could. But then we met Tastehead and from that first meeting, we had a very good feeling. And that feeling was proven right in our first tasting of the prototypes. They absolutely smashed it out of the park.
They were meticulous in their planning and in their development of our product and created something we're delighted with. We never thought we'd end up with such a brilliant and unique product.
Their expertise has not only provided us with a product we absolutely love, but they also taught us an unbelievable amount along the way. From understanding supply chains, to shelf life testing, to where to buy fryers and hairnets etc etc. They covered the lot, and always in the friendliest manner. We've been so impressed with them, that we plan to develop other flavours with them, later on this year…we could not recommend the Tastehead crew enough.”
Josh Pearce & Sean Johnson
Founders of Vegan Pig