Innovations in Plant-Based Protein Products Supplying the Food Industry’s Strongest Trends

Innovations in Plant-Based Protein Products Supplying the Food Industry’s Strongest Trends

Back in 2019 “Plant-based eating” was defined as Food Business News’ Trend of the Year, and now in 2021 Innova Market Insights identified “plant forward” to be one of its top trends, as waves plant-based eating products ripple through the supply chain. These trends can’t be ignored, and have undoubtedly resulted in the surging successes of now established household names such as Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) and Oatly Group AB (NASDAQ:OTLY), as well as more recent additions such as Tattooed Chef (NASDAQ:TTCF), The Very Good Food Company Inc. (NASDAQ:VGFC) and freshly-IPO’d Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA) (OTC: NPRFF).

Recently, a ground breaking new report from Bloomberg Intelligence predicted the plant-based food market will skyrocket to $162 billion within the next decade.

In timely fashion over the course of that decade, Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA)(OTC: NPRFF) has signed a 10-year lease on a new 31,000 square foot facility. As part of Nepra's phased growth strategy, major construction is underway to increase manufacturing output and expedite the development of innovative new products.

"This new, dedicated space gives our team of world-class experts, led by Chief Technology Officer Chadwick White, the secure working environment they need for research, development, and testing while protecting the confidentiality of our intellectual property," says Nepra CEO, David Wood. "It also provides much-needed real estate to meet our production goals."

Nepra’s research and development has successfully resulted in a wide array of proprietary hemp-base proteins, that are included in their current consumer marketed plant-based meats, dairy alternatives, and baked snacks, and are also sold as B2B ingredients.

Approximately 3,000 square feet of the building will be dedicated to further research and product development in a fully equipped laboratory kitchen that will serve as a secure facility for the development of Nepra's proprietary products and technologies.

In particular, the facility’s construction also allows expansion within the other established B2B categories, including Essential Blends™, Essential Flours™, and Rheoflex®. Nepra is targeting alternative sweeteners, alternative chocolates, and fermented foods for future development.

Additional production facilities are being constructed for a custom dry ingredient blending facility for existing B2B customers who use Nepra's ingredients as well as blends for Nepra's proprietary consumer branded products. Remaining construction will expand production capabilities to meet the ever-increasing demand for Nepra’s proprietary hemp ingredients.

The team behind Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA)(OTC:NPRFF) has already seen CPG success, after building up the Udi’s Gluten Free Foods brand to the point of selling to what is now Conagra Brands for US$125 million.

Oatly Group AB (NASDAQ:OTLY) is also expanding its research output, through the launch of a new Research and Innovation Center at Lund University in Sweden, expected to be finished in 2023. The purpose of the new research and innovation center is to further explore the potential of oats.

“We’re excited to build on our strong foundation in science, research and innovation as we expand our team at Lund University,” said Sofia Ehlde, Oatly’s Executive Vice President Food Innovation. “For more than 25 years, we have developed great-tasting, oat-based products that have been designed for human nutrition and as a solution for a more sustainable food system. We believe this new research and innovation center will both improve our existing products and lead to new, innovative oat-based foods.”

Oatly expects to add approximately 30 new scientists to its global team based in Lund over the next year, with the potential to add nearly 100 researchers across its research hubs in Europe, the Americas and Asia. The scientists will study oats in greater detail from various perspectives including biochemistry, biophysics, microstructure, nutritional traits and refinement.

Another leading plant-based food technology firm The Very Good Food Company Inc. (NASDAQ:VGFC), recently announced two new additions to its innovative line of bean and vegetable based meats for retail and e-Commerce—Butcher’s Select Spicy Meatballs and The Very Good Steak.

The Spicy Meatballs addition came after the company’s Butcher’s Select Mmm...Meatballs, recently won a NEXT Award, and has seen the product receive overwhelming demand. The original plant-based meatballs, winners of the NEXTY Best New Frozen Product category, have entered the market as a flavorful alternative to not only plant-based, but also traditional meat products in the natural food space.

"After the release of the Butcher’s Select line, we were thrilled by the high demand we received from the Mmm...Meatballs" said Mitchell Scott, co-founder and CEO of The Very Good Food Company. "The popularity of these products further proves what we already know: shoppers are craving delicious alternatives for all their favorite meat products, not just sausages and burgers. Winning the NEXTY Award for best frozen product with the Mmm...Meatballs confirmed that consumers want more variety that tastes like the ‘real’ thing."

Plant-based food makers Tattooed Chef (NASDAQ:TTCF) recently expanded its offerings, through the acquisition of Belmont Confections, a private label co-manufacturer of nutrition bars, for approximately $18 million in cash and stock.

With the acquisition comes Belmont’s Ohio-based 47,000 square foot facility that’s already equipped in place to manufacture many different types of bars. Now with Tattooed Chef in its corner, the operation will have added access to innovation, with the goal to become a leader in the bar sector.

“Belmont is exactly the type of company that we have talked about acquiring with regards to a company that adds both manufacturing capacity and capabilities,” said Sam Galletti, President and CEO of Tattooed Chef. “At full capacity, we believe the Belmont facility can contribute over $100 million annually in revenue in the next two to three years.”

Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) has become a household name with its Beyond burgers reaching several popular restaurant chains, including McDonald’s. But it continues to innovate with new products, most recently being its plant-based Beyond Breakfast Sausage, and an expansion in plant-based chicken platform.

The protein in Beyond Chicken Tenders is derived from the nutrient-packed legume crop, faba beans. Its unique qualities make it what Beyond Meat believes is the optimal ingredient for replicating the taste and texture of traditional chicken tenders.

“Following the success of our plant-based chicken in restaurants, fans were eager to get their hands on a retail product that’s readily accessible and can be cooked at home anytime,” said Deanna Jurgens, Chief Growth Officer, Beyond Meat. “We’re thrilled to be answering consumer demand by launching Beyond Chicken Tenders at prominent retailers nationwide, continuing our momentum in the plant-based poultry category.”

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