The plant-based meat category is nothing new to major food companies like Kellogg’s and Kraft Heinz, manufacturers of MorningStar Farms and Boca Burger, respectively. But what is new is the recent surge in interest and funding, as well as the realization that plant-based meats are more mainstream. Even meat companies are getting in on the action, with Tyson Foods' investment in Beyond Meat and their announcement to reformulate their Raised & Rooted brand products to be 100% plant-based. Interest isn’t limited to North America either. According to the GFI State of the Industry report2:
- Baicaowei, the Chinese-snack company owned by PepsiCo, launched its plant-based sausage snack, highlighting China’s growing interest in plant-based meat.
- Planterra Foods, a subsidiary of Brazil-based JBS, the world’s largest meat company, launched its Ozo brand of plant-based meat products.
Types of Plant-Based Meats
Plant-based meats encompass meat analogues made from legumes, grains, vegetables, mushrooms, fermented biomaterials or plant-based protein concentrates. Though meat-free, some may include small amounts of animal protein, such as egg white, for functionality like binding. They typically aim to mimic multiple aspects of meat, such as appearance, texture, and taste.
A wide variety of forms are available, including burgers/patties, meatballs, crumbles, hot dogs/sausages, strips, cutlets/tenders, nuggets, deli slices, and even holiday roasts. Plant-based meats can mimic beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, and some seafood and can be found in both the refrigerated and frozen foods sections. They are also used in frozen meals, such as meatless lasagnas and burritos, usually as crumbles.