PIG farmers-turned-sausage makers HECK Food has announced it has invested £1.5m into new state-of-the-art sausage and burger machinery, on the back of huge demand for its vegan and chicken sausages and burgers.

The company, which was launched six years ago, says it has been seeing huge growth across the UK and the rest of the world.

Four new vegan ranges have been launched into the UK high street this year including its first meat-free sausage into Morrisons.

The company said it has two separate factories at its Sausage World headquarters, near Bedale, one vegan products and one for chicken and pork products.

The firm has upgraded the vegan factory with a £500,000 injection and installed a £1m robotic chicken sausage making machine. Other launches include a heart shaped "vegan valentine" into Asda, a vegan frankfurter, a vegan burger and a chicken and sage chipolata.

Sales director Jamie Keeble’s family set up the Heck brand after selling up their previous sausage business, and enrolled the family to get back into the market.

He said: “We are the UK’s fastest growing vegan brand and the vegan sector will be 30 per cent of our business this year and a lot of that will be mainly export.

“We are literally taking HECK round the world to the Middle and Far East, US and across Europe, hence the investment into new equipment making production more efficient.

“We are also seeing a real growth in the ‘Megan’ market, that’s flexitarian, as people look at introducing more plant based food into their diet and also different types of meat, such as chicken. What may surprise people is we now sell more chicken than pork sausages and the new robotic chicken line will increase production capacity and enable us to produce over one million sausages a day.”

Heck said its vegan sausages are now stocked in Asda, Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsburys, Boots and Ocado, with the whole HECK range available in over 30,000 stores across the UK and Ireland.

Mr Keeble added: “Because of global meat prices, we predict that nearly all our sales will be vegan in the future. We are very much the David to the vegan big boys, so we are really delighted that the UK supermarkets are working with us.

“We are the fastest-growing UK-produced vegan brand, with no nasties and made by real people in our vegan factory, not men in white coats. So much investment has gone into ‘silicon valley’ based fake meats, but our tasty plant based offering has really struck a chord and we are picking up new listings every month.

“The Heck vegan frank will be the cleanest on the market, made of mushroom, carrot, beetroot and a natural hint of smoke, it’s available in over 250 Sainsbury’s stores. The HECK ultimate vegan burger has been launched into Asda alongside the bestselling Vegan Breakfast sausage. The ingredients include Beetroot, mushroom, sunflower seeds, natural smoke and a kick of Red Chilli."