Plant-based foods continue to burst into the mainstream: market commentary

March 3, 2021

The drumbeat toward massive global production of plant-based foods is growing louder. Mega-billionaire Bill Gates recently addressed this shift in his new book, stating that with plant-based meat alternatives "You can get used to the taste difference."

Most recently, PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) entered a partnership with Beyond Meat to develop, produce, and market plant-based snacks and beverages. Newly formed partnerships like these are emerging each month, as food industry giants including Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) are betting that the plant-based trend is not just a fad. The movement has given rise to products from innovators such as Plant&Co. Brands Ltd. (CSE:VEGN) (OTCPK:VGANF), The Very Good Food Company (CSE:VERY) (OTCQB:VRYYF), and Tattooed Chef Inc. (NASDAQ:TTCF) each delivering new takes on what the plate of the future will have on it.

Back in January, Plant&Co. Brands Ltd. (CSE:VEGN) (OTCPK:VGANF) announced the acquisition of YamChopsCanada's first plant-based butcher—which specializes in the preparation, distribution, and retail sales of over 48 proprietary plant-based meats, chicken, pork, fish, and various other vegan style food products in both a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) revenue models.

And already the investment is paying off. In a recent update on the asset, the YamChops brand posted a 689% increase in online plant-based food products sales in the second half of 2020, versus the same period of 2019.

Plant&Co. followed up the YamChops move with the completion of another big acquisition—the ever popular breakfast cereal company, Holy Crap Brands Inc.

"We start 2021 in an enviable position of bringing two powerhouse brands, Holy Crap and YamChops, under the Plant&Co brand umbrella," said Shawn Moniz, CEO of Plant&Co. "Our product portfolio is now at 52 plant-based and proprietary food products which are available for consumer purchase at our YamChops plant-based butcher shop, our online eCommerce stores, and several SKUs are available at over 13 distribution retailers."

The timing for these two acquisitions comes at a time when analysts see continued large growth in the plant-based sector. The Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Foods Institute reported data showing that plant-based foods had a $5 billion market in 2019 in the US, with year-over-year sales growth of 11.4%. By 2026, the plant-based protein market is projected to be worth $15.6 billion.

"Our product sales and market share of the growing plant-based sector is increasing," added Moniz. "We have the resources to invest in our current line of products and the development of future products and will use U.S. focused packaging and marketing strategies to aggressively expand our own product lines within the United States. We look to make an immediate impact to the plant-based food landscape in North America with our scalable operating facilities plus an extensive distribution system throughout Canada and into the U.S. marketplace."

Another contender coming from Canada is The Very Good Food Company (CSE:VERY) (OTCQB:VRYYF), based out of Victoria, BC. The west coast producers of the popular plant-based meat-focused The Very Good Butchers brand recently made their own significant acquisition, picking up vegan cheese producer Cultured Nut.

"The acquisition of Cultured Nut allows VERY to efficiently enter into the dairy alternatives space," said The Very Good Food Company's CEO, Mitchell Scott. "This is a significant milestone in the realization of our long-term strategy of owning several brands under the banner of the Very Good Food Company in all major food categories providing consumers fun, innovative and healthier plant-based alternatives to everyday animal-based products."

The news of the acquisition followed a January announcement of the company's newest flagship butcher shop in downtown Victoria, Canada—offering a more prominent presence, with an outdoor patio and larger footprint than the company's current location in the Victoria Public Market.

Built on a goal of making plant-based foods tasty and more mainstream, Tattooed Chef Inc. (NASDAQ:TTCFsuccessfully made the leap onto the market through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal, which was approved last October. Now the company already has deals in place with Costco and Target, among other major retail presences, and is so far a hit with customers.

Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE:TSNwas recently joined by the world's top meat supplier JBS SA, out of Brazil, in targeting the demand for faux meat. Both JBS and Tyson entered the plant-based meat market in 2019, with Tyson unveiling its own plant-based nuggets in the late Spring of that year. By November of 2020, Tyson announced they'd up their presence in the plant-based space by retooling its Raised and Rooted brand. No more will the company offer its hybrid products, instead focusing the Raised and Rooted brand solely on plant-based meat alternatives.

Beyond Meat Inc. is partnering with snacks and beverages mega-brand company PepsiCo Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) in a high-profile collaboration to make and market new plant-based snacks and drinks—dubbing the new venture The PLANeT Partnership LLC.

"With PepsiCo's reach and distribution, Beyond Meat will be able to enter new categories and channels and accelerate bringing these products to markets around the world," the companies jointly said in an email.

Big partnerships like those announced by Plant&Co help to solidify a company's position in this growing marketplace as it continues to make its way into mainstream consumers' hearts - and mouths.

To get more information on Plant&Co. Brands Ltd., click here.

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