Investment in New Plant-Based Alternative Meat Products Ramps Up Into 2022

Investment in New Plant-Based Alternative Meat Products Ramps Up Into 2022

VANCOUVER – USA News Group – So far there are conflicting reports of whether KFC’s new plant-based nuggets “look and taste to the real thing,” or that “they didn’t taste identical to the real thing”, after the launch of Beyond Fried Chicken from the joint efforts of Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) and Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM). As Beyond’s most prominent competitor Impossible Foods gears up to be one of the biggest IPOs of 2022, it’s clear that the plant-based market is set to be a high-stakes brand battleground, which will include new developments from Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA) (OTC:NPRFF), McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) and Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL).

One example of a success story that’s continued from an oversubscribed IPO in 2021 to a 150% year-on-year growth going into 2022, plant-based, allergen-free food manufacturers Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA) (OTC:NPRFF) recently reflected on its latest successful year, marking revenue growth for the 5th year in a row.

“Our underlying wholesale ingredient business continues to show aggressive year-over-year growth in 2022,” wrote Nepra CEO David Wood. “While the industry, in general, has been plagued by logistical challenges and heightened costs, Nepra Foods' supply chains have proven to be resilient and largely unimpacted.”

How does the wholesale market matter in this?

In order for food giants such as McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) and Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) to make products for their customers, they then look to plant-based manufacturers like Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND), Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL), and Nepra Foods to foster new menu items.

For example, much of Nepra’s projection of further growth potential relies on its allergen-free high protein N-50 hemp flour and its ready-to-eat PROPASTATM line.

"While pricing pressure at the wholesale level is expected to continue to rise this year, we have been able to mitigate this given the proprietary nature of our ingredients which allows us to pass on the increases through to our customers and maintain our margins,” wrote Wood. “This year we will also be adding several new specialty ingredients to our imported line of starches, plant proteins, and fibers which are designed to solve specific problems for our industrial food-producing customers and initial responses have been highly positive.”

Nepra has plans to expand the number of products manufactured from its Colorado facility. In Q1 2022, they expect to ramp up manufacturing of their textured hemp protein product (THP™) for use in new consumer products (i.e. PROPASTATM) in addition to having excess capacity to facilitate wholesale sales and product partnerships. 

The addition of textured hemp protein to Nepra’s wholesale line of ingredients are expected to be a significant addition to revenue with strong margins. In many ways, textured hemp protein is a new addition to the plant-based protein market offering which has many advantages over the conventional textured vegetable proteins currently available in the market. 

The newly launched Beyond Fried Chicken product from Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) and Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) officially arrived at nearly 4,000 KFC locations across the USA.

"The mission from day one was simple – make the world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken from plants," said Kevin Hochman, president, KFC U.S. "And now over two years later we can say, 'mission accomplished.'"

Beyond Fried Chicken is served with a choice of dipping sauce– Honey BBQ, Ranch, Honey Mustard and KFC Sauce. It is available as KFC's first ever plant-based combo meal with Secret Recipe Fries and a medium drink, or à la carte in six or 12-piece orders.

"We couldn't be prouder to partner with KFC to offer a best-in-class product that not only delivers the delicious experience consumers expect from this iconic chain, but also provides the added benefits of plant-based meat," said Ethan Brown, Founder and CEO, Beyond Meat. "We are truly thrilled to make it available to consumers nationwide."

Another popular Yum! Brands chain, Pizza Hut has now permanently added Beyond Meat sausage to its Canadian menus.

"After seeing great excitement from Pizza Hut fans across Toronto and Edmonton last summer, we're beyond thrilled to give Canadian fans everywhere the opportunity to try and fall in love with these Beyond Meat menu items," said Amy Rozinsky, Head of Consumer Marketing, Pizza Hut Canada. "Pizza Hut and Beyond Meat have a shared vision to innovate new and exciting products that will delight our guests. Beyond Italian Sausage Crumbles offer a delicious plant-based twist on our classic pork sausage that you'll have to taste to believe."

Not being left out of the 2022 plant-based buzz, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) launched its McPlant Burger for what it’s calling “Veganuary”. The McPlant burger joins the fast-food chain’s growing menu of vegan options, including The Spicy Veggie One wrap and Veggie Dippers.

“We’re so pleased that our McPlant burger is now officially ‘everywhere’ and available for more of our customers to taste and enjoy,” said Michelle Graham-Clare, McDonald’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We saw a remarkable response in the trial period back in October […] and we’re proud once again to be offering our customers more great-tasting options from McDonald’s. It’s our same iconic taste – but plant-based.”

Despite the persistent success of its popular SPAM canned meat product, Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL) announced towards the end of 2021 it would be investing in a venture capital enterprise dedicated to alternative proteins and plant-based foods—dubbed Green Circle Foodtech Ventures with anchor investment from Hormel’s 199 Ventures.

“We are excited to be investing in the fund and all that it will do to help jump start this growing category,” said Bryan Kreske, leader of 199 Ventures. “Since committing to invest in the Fund, we are looking forward to the many areas of investment including alternative protein and plant-based foods.”

With a target of $25 million in committed capital, Green Circle Foodtech Ventures is considering investments in food technology enterprises that include alternative protein, fermentation, food safety, shelf-life extension, food production automation, bioplastics and sustainable packaging, and plant-based ingredients.

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