Billions in Investment Going Towards an Increasingly Competitive Plant-Based Protein Market

Billions in Investment Going Towards an Increasingly Competitive Plant-Based Protein Market

As a record $5 billion in investment dollars flowed into the sustainable protein market in 2021, already in 2022 the war for positioning in the new plant-based protein landscape continues to heat up. As market projections estimate the vegan-food industry could hit $61.35 billion by 2028, and global plant-based protein hitting $162 billion by 2030, it’s clear the stakes are high. Recently, the private company Impossible Foods launched litigation at another food tech company, Motif FoodWorks, claming its new heme ingredient is too similar to its own. However, the rush to establish a market presence goes beyond just fake meat, as several companies find their niche among the growing line of plant-based protein products, including newly-IPO’d Vegano Foods Inc. (CSE:VAGN), The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAIN), Kerry Group plc (OTC:KRYAY) (OTC:KRYAF), Compass Group PLC (OTC:CMPGY) (OTC:CMPGF), and Nestlé S.A. (OTC:NSRGY) (OTC:NSRGF).

Inside of Canada, where even the federal government has invested $100 million into plant-based proteins, Now Vegano Foods Inc. (CSE:VAGN) is Canada’s first 100% plant-based meal kit delivery service—growing sales by 150% in the first half of 2021.

“We are targeting a demographic that wants to consume more plant-based foods, but needs help with recipes and techniques along the way,” said Kaylee Astle, COO of Vegano Foods. “I’m excited to help more Canadians experience the benefits of a plant-based diet, even if it’s only a few days of the week.”

Thanks to a wider variety of vegetarian/vegan meals (with nearly 20 different mealsVegano stands out among its meal-kit delivery competitors. For instance, Blue Apron currently offers four veggie dishes per week, while HelloFresh offers six vegetarian options per week.

This distinction helped Vegano garner more than $6 million in investment as a private company prior to its IPO—now trading publicly under the CSE listing VAGN.

Vegano Foods designs, develops, produces and sells curated 100% plant-based meal kits with pre-portioned ingredients, while also delivering through its Marketplace platform.

After establishing its meal delivery options, the company went on to launch its marketplace option, that sells its own proprietary branded products, as well as third party plant-based products from notable brands such as Bob’s Red Mill, Earth’s Own, and The Very Good Butchers.

Vegano Foods has openly stated a goal of increasing its offerings up to 10,000 before 2021 closed out.

Shoppers don’t have to be existing Vegano meal kit subscribers to order from the marketplace, as there is a $9.99 delivery fee for non-members. Subscribers can also choose marketplace items and arrange to have them delivered on the same day as their meal kit.

In the snacks and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) category, The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAIN) has openly signaled through recent acquisitions that it wants to become a “bigger fish” in snacks, dairy and meat alternatives. Hain Celestial invested $259 million in acquiring ParmCrisps and Thinsters maker That’s How We Roll in late 2021.

“ParmCrisps, in particular, fits perfectly with [our visions to become a bigger fish] as it gives us another leg on the stool in snacks,” said Mark Schiller, CEO of The Hain Celestial Group in an interview with Food Navigator USA. “It’s a mid-teens growth business, which will have mid-teens EBITDA margins next year once we get some of the synergies in place and get some of the pricing in place as they haven’t taken pricing yet to cover the inflation.”

The company has also expanded its snack business launching several new products, including Screamin’ Hot Veggie Straws “that brought the young males into healthier snacking” and the launch of Celestial Seasoning Tea functional products featuring energy, probiotics, melatonin and gut health, as well as new formats like K-Cups and trial packs.

Global ingredient supplier Kerry Group plc (OTC:KRYAY) (OTC:KRYAF) announced early in 2021 a thre-pronged approach that included a focus on plant-based growth in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East markets.

To help its clients develop new products that can include its ingredients, Kerry has introduced a web-based tool called Radicle Solution Finder designed to help food and beverage manufacturers with their plant-based production formula challenges.

“Plant-based innovation is moving rapidly and has its own unique set of formulation challenges that must be addressed in order to deliver a superior product,” said Jenny Palan, Senior Strategic Market Lead, Plant Proteins for Kerry Group in an interview with Food Navigator USA. “This innovation is designed to help food and beverage developers quickly find and access solutions to some of the most common challenges experienced in developing plant-based products.”

A tool such as this could potentially help another group such as UK-based catering giant Compass Group PLC (OTC:CMPGY) (OTC:CMPGF), which announced in May of 2021 its goal to replace 40% of the animal proteins it serves by 2030.

The move is designed to help the world’s biggest contract foodservice company reach carbon neutrality. The firm has set the timeline for a 25% switch away from animal-based proteins for 2025, before reaching the 40% figure five years later.

“We believe it is our responsibility to contribute to a future of sustainable food production and the commitment to carbon neutrality is an important milestone,” said Robin Mills, General Manager of Compass Group UK and Ireland.

Food giant Nestlé S.A. (OTC:NSRGY) (OTC:NSRGF) is also investing heavily into animal-free meatless alternatives, including plant-based substitutes for eggs and shrimpfake chicken with skin and bonesmicroalgae ingredients for plant-based lines, and most recently the acquisition of a majority stake in plant-based nutrition company Orgain.

The California-based company manufactures and markets powders, ready-to-drink beverages and nutrition bars. As per the deal, Nestlé has the option to fully acquire Orgain in 2014.

“Nutritional protein plays a key role in supporting our health and wellness, whether we enjoy an active lifestyle or are facing health challenges,” said Greg Behar, chief executive officer of Nestle Health Science. “Orgain’s emphasis on clean, all natural, plant-based, organic ingredients has made it a leader in the US, and we look forward to combining our companies’ expertise to bring Orgain to more people around the world.”

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