Supermarket Perimeter - May 2020 - 47

Meat & Poultry

Plant-based

Traditional suppliers branch out with meat-free products

BY KEITH LORIA

GREENLEAF FOODS

THE POPULARITY OF AND INTEREST IN PLANT-BASED MEATS
have increased dramatically in the last year as companies are creating
products that taste more like "real" meat and the stigma once associated
with alternative meats is dissipating.
While most early plant-based meats utilized soy, peas or wheat as
their main ingredient, many companies are innovating with other
products as a meat alternative.
For example, Prime Roots uses a Japanese Koji "super protein" which
mimics the natural taste and texture of meat, and relies on mycelium-
mushroom roots-as a core ingredient.
"We've been seeing a lot of companies are prioritizing marketing over
substance," said Kimberlie Le, co-founder of the Berkeley, Calif.-based
company. "There's some really interesting work going on in using algae
and fungi as meat alternatives."
Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods launched its Happy Little Plants
brand last year, a new plant-forward, protein portfolio created as part of
the company's first project under its Cultivated Foods umbrella.
Robbie Koons, brand manager for Happy Little Plants, noted plantbased meat alternatives have been around for decades but have
recently surged into a more mainstream space like the fresh meat case.
"In the last year or so, that spark in interest and availability hit and
everything started to catch on," he said. "The key point is that a product
has to taste good. This drives curiosity and demand into other meat
alternative spaces and our job as manufacturers is to continue to strive
to meet that demand and continue to exceed taste expectations.
The Happy Little Plants brand has responded by looking to fill need
states in this arena with thoughtful and great tasting innovation.
"We like to say that plants can taste good and be good for you, so
we're always trying to use that lens as we consider innovation," Koons
said. "In this arena, we launched our flagship 16-ounce ground and
will be launching two plant-based patties, one 'original' patty and
one vegetable blend patty, and a plant-based pepperoni style pizza
topping in the near term as we continue to develop more innovation in
the space."
Wayzata, Minn.-based Cargill has developed new private label plantbased patties and ground products, which hit retailers in late April.
These plant-based protein products were developed through culinary
insight, extensive consumer research and innovation.
Elizabeth Gutschenritter, Cargill North America managing director,
alternative protein, said there are big market opportunities for the
company's newly introduced patties and ground products in two
important places.

"First, there's the projection that global protein demand will increase
by 70% over the next 30 years. That means we'll need both animal
protein and alternative proteins to meet demand," she said. "Second,
consumers are telling us they want choice for a broad range of reasons.
Our recent studies show most consumers aren't buying animal- or
plant-based proteins exclusively; they purchase a combination of
the two."
Gutschenritter feels this is a natural next step in Cargill's inclusive
approach to the future of protein-advancing both animal and
alternative protein to meet growing global demand.
"We are bringing something to our customers around the world that
addresses unmet needs-in reach, supply chain efficiencies, private label
options and rapid ingredient innovation," she said.
"Consumers are motivated to purchase plant-based protein products
by health reasons, an eagerness to try something new and sustainability
concerns. But as consumer tastes and experiences become more
refined, new barriers are emerging, such as price, total nutrition and
protein source."
Dan Curtin, president of Greenleaf Foods SPC, based in Elmhurst,
Ill., noted the plant-based category is growing exponentially and is
expected to reach $20 billion by 2029.

supermarketperimeter.com

SP_May20.indb 47

Greenleaf's Lightlife is just one
of the company's plant-based
brands enjoying strong growth
and consumer acceptance.

MAY 2020 - 47

5/5/2020 4:10:44 PM


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