Meatless revolution surges on: Plant-based partnerships pave way for diversification and distribution opportunities
07 Apr 2022 --- With the plant-based revolution in full-swing, meat and dairy alternative brands such as Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Oatly and Plant Based Foods have made significant headway through powerful industry partnerships. Plant-based options are more available to a wider demographic due to their tie-ups with restaurants, fast-food chains and multinational food producers.
According to the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA), plant-based food retail sales in the US are expected to be driven up further, growing 6.2% in 2021. This brought the overall plant-based market value to an all-time high of US$7.4 billion.
Prompted by this sustained demand, Innova Market Insights pegged, “Plant-Based: The Canvas for Innovation” as its second Top Trend for 2022, underscoring that consumers largely see plant-based alternatives as healthier and better for the environment.
The PBFA report highlights that 62% of US households (79 million people) now buy plant-based goods, up from 61% previously (77 million in 2020).
“More consumers are turning to plant-based options that align with their values and desire to have a positive impact on personal and planetary health,” says Julie Emmett, senior director of marketplace development, PBFA.
With consumers desiring diversity, this year has seen a rapid expansion of vegan offerings hitting the market, targeting adventurous consumers with cravings for grilled Middle Eastern meats, Asian satays and the Mediterranean palate.
Collaborations are diversifying meat-free menus
Beyond Meat and PepsiCo collaborated for the debut of Beyond Meat Jerky, making the product available in stores nationwide. The convenient plant-based jerky is the first product from the two companies’ joint-venture, Planet Partnership.
“The nationwide launch of Beyond Meat Jerky will make plant-based meat accessible to millions of households. It tastes great, it’s a good source of protein and it’s convenient to eat whether you’re on the go, at the office or out on adventures,” says Dan Moisan, CEO of Planet Partnership.
Additionally, Beyond Meat partnered with McDonald’s and Yum! Brands – the corporation that owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. As a result of this collaboration, plant-based foods are set to increase on fast food menus.
German railway group partners with Oatly
Meanwhile, Impossible Foods’ Impossible Burger was made available at more than 350 Sprouts Farmers Market stores across 23 states in the US.
“The data shows that, despite the challenges of the past two years, retailers and food service providers are meeting consumers where they are by partnering with brands across the entire store to expand space, increase assortment and make it easier than ever to find and purchase plant-based foods,” adds Emmett.
In Germany, Oatly Group cooperated with Deutsche Bahn. The resulting Oatly Barista Edition oat milk product will be available in the on-board catering of local ICE and Intercity trains beginning in January as the first-ever plant-based milk replacement for customers.
“The potential impact of these initiatives extends far beyond the store shelf: By taking consumer concerns to heart, industry is actively embracing its role as a key driver of change that moves us closer to a secure and sustainable food system,” she continues.
Expanding plant-based offerings in the US
Planet Based Foods announced a new distribution collaboration with US Foods, a leading provider of foodservice products in the US.
“As our new distribution partner, US Foods will be debuting the Planet Based Foods brand to their customer base, highlighting our offering in their substantial plant-based and healthy-eating portfolio,” says Braelyn Davis, president and CEO of Planet Based Foods.
“We are working with one of the US’ leading food distributors and look forward to expanding our product reach through this evolving partnership.”
Two of US Foods’ divisions, La Mirada and Corona, will be the first Plant-Based Foods’ plant-based options in the Southern California region, supplying various products to restaurants, commerce and industry, healthcare and other multi-unit operators.
Both divisions will offer the Original Burger, Mild Breakfast Sausage Patties, and The Italian Sausage Crumble. The Green Chili Southwest Burger and Hot Breakfast Sausage Patties are accessible only on special orders.
In other US market moves, Benson Hill unveiled TruVail, a new line of domestically derived plant-based protein components with sustainability benefits.
The TruVail brand’s initial product line includes high-protein soy flour – a less-processed version of soy protein concentrate (SPC) – and texturized proteins that can be used in both traditional soy protein applications and the fast-increasing alternative plant-based protein sectors.
By Nicole Kerr
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