Brazil’s meat giant joins plant-based burger platform, seizing pandemic opportunity
Published: August 8, 2020
Category: Plant-Based Foods, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
The coronavirus pandemic has created a silver lining in the plant-based meat industry.
Concerns over meat shortages, stemming from meatpacking plant shutdowns, led to panic buying. Consumers found a safer alternative, in strong supply—Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and other plant-based sausage, burger, and ground beef options. Brazil’s JBS, the world’s largest meat company, unrolled its pea protein-based Ozo products in June at Albertsons, Kroger, and Safeway stores in Rocky Mountain states and beyond.
“We’re not saying that meat is bad,” says Darcey Macken, CEO of Planterra Foods, Colorado-based subsidiary of JBS USA. “People getting their heads wrapped around plants can be for all different motivations, whether it’s about earth and sustainability or just not eating animals.”
Beyond and Impossible sales were up 241% during the meat-hoarding time and up 113% since May. Meatpacking companies are moving into the space as well—Tyson invested in Beyond Meat in 2016, before launching its own line of plant-based options. Smithfield, Hormel HRL, and Cargill have followed. The reach is international—Beyond Meat announced in June burger launches at various Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC outlets in mainland China, and Cargill just expanded into China as well.
The price differential between real and plant-based meat is narrowing, as meat prices rise from production delays and plant-based competitors enter the scene.
Highlighting a trend no one could have foreseen, plant-based sales continue to grow faster than animal-based meat and total sales as COVID-19 times continue.
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