Food Industry Answering Growing Plant-Based Demands with Innovative Meatless Offerings

VANCOUVER – USA News Group – A new report from Bloomberg Intelligence is predicting that the global market for plant-based foods could see a fivefold growth by 2030. As the demand for plant-based dairy and meat alternatives continues to climb, the food industry is also seeing rising investment in new products and production methods, coming from a variety of ingredient and CPG manufacturers, including newly-public Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA), as well as established food industry giants such as Kellogg Company (NYSE:K), Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE:CAG), Ingredion Incorporation (NASDAQ:INGR), and Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (NYSE:ADM).

David Wood, CEO of Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA), just released an open letter upon public trading of his company praising the “favorable tailwinds” in the industry, which helped lead to his company’s recent successful IPO.

In Wood’s opening statement, he labeled Nepra as “much more than just another meat analog producer”, having since its formation in 2016 established a growing business-to-business portfolio providing proprietary specialized ingredients to food producers across North America.

The company’s existing business has already grown at over 100% year-over-year and is targeting to do US$6-8M in revenues this year.

What differentiates Nepra Foods from many of its peers is its hemp-based protein products, backed by a proprietary ingredient called THPTM (Textured Hemp Protein)—all of which are Non-Soy, Non-GMO, Allergen-Free and Gluten-Free.

Their multicategory offerings include, plant-based foods that include frozen meals, plant-based dairy, salty snacks, and meat alternatives that are high in protein and fiber, lower in carbohydrates, and are truly nutritious.

Wood emphasizes his company’s strategic targeting of addressing the challenge of food allergies. In the letter, he cites the WHO’s estimates of between 1-3% of adults globally have some food allergy, highlighting how that number increases to 4-6% for children.

“Producing high-quality and nutritious allergen-free food can be challenging and requires specialized technical creativity,” writes Wood. “The team at Nepra has the experience and skill to take those challenges head-on.”

Nepra’s team is quite familiar with food allergies, given that Wood, and Chief Innovation Officer & Director Chadwick White, were both involved with the success of Udi’s Gluten Free Foods, which was sold to what is now Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) in 2012 for US$125 million.

“Focusing on plant-based foods high in protein and fiber, lower in carbohydrates, and truly nutritious - everything Nepra does is plant-based, allergen-free, and gluten-free,” writes Wood. “In addition, the Company develops and produces proprietary ingredients that are sold to other food producers and used in our own consumer products… We look for long-term trends in the market that will create lasting growth opportunities – such as reducing waste and production issues surrounding the gluten-free baking industry. Thus, the work we do at Nepra pushes the whole industry forward.”

Food industry supplier Ingredion Incorporation (NASDAQ:INGR) has recently increased its footprint in the plant-based protein manufacturing capacity with an expansion of its production assets in Vanscoy, Saskatchewan. In the United States, Ingredion signed a distribution agreement with Batory Foods to cover 15 states and consolidate Ingredion’s distributor reach in the West and central Midwest USA.

“The expanded distribution of our ingredient solutions through Batory Foods allows us to respond to manufacturers fluctuating needs resulting from shifts in consumer demand,” said Gary Leeson, sales director of distributors for Ingredion. “With solutions ranging from clean label native and functional starches to multi-functional flours and fibers to plant-based proteins and hydrocolloids, Ingredion has a broad portfolio of in-demand ingredients to help manufacturers get to market faster with brands designed to be consumer-preferred.”

Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE:CAG), owners of the Gardein brand, have been happy with the 33.5% increase in retail sales for its plant-based meat products, which the company says is fueled by “growth that is coming from meat eaters in this space.”

Gardein is the number two player in the frozen meat alternative category, behind the Morningstar Farms brand from Kellogg Company (NYSE:K).

“Meat eaters represent 95% of the total population and represent almost 80% of buyers of the plant-based meat alternative category, and their growth rates in terms of both new buyers and dollar spend is also outpacing that of vegan and vegetarian counterparts,” said Ashley Lind, senior director, consumer insights, predictive science at Conagra Brands in an interview with FoodNavigator-USA. “We expect to see plant-based opportunities to grow in foodservice as the overall industry rebounds, and we’re seeing Gardein gain share in the space.”

As the US plant-based meat market poises itself to reach $2.6 billion by 2027, Kellogg and its MorningStar Farms brand are making strides to lead the way with product innovation. Earlier this summer, Kellogg combined its signature Eggo Waffle brand with MorningStar Farms’ Incogmeato line, to make the company’s first plant-based alternative to their classic chicken and waffles dish.
“We’re always looking for new ways to make vegetarian foods more accessible for everyone, so we’re excited to partner with an iconic brand like Eggo to put a delicious new spin on a beloved dish like chicken and waffles,” Marketing Director, MorningStar Farms and Incogmeato at Kellogg Company Heidi Ray said. “This limited-edition combo pack gives people another opportunity to see how delicious plant-based can be and experience our Chik’n Tenders that look, cook, taste, and tear just like the real thing.”

Back in July, Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (NYSE:ADM) announced an expansion to its plant-based business, through the acquisition of Sojaprotein, a leading European provider of non-GMO soy ingredients—which had more than $100 million in sales in 2020, with offerings in the meat alternative, confectionery, protein bar, pharmaceutical, pet food, and animal feed segments.

“Thirty years ago, ADM invented the soy vegetable burger, giving rise to the plant-based protein segment,” said Leticia Gonçalves, president of Global Foods at ADM. “Today, alternative proteins represent one of our core growth platforms, and as this $10 billion global industry grows to $30 billion over the next decade, we are investing to expand our unparalleled capabilities.”

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