Plant-Based Brands Struggle in a Crowded Market

Plant-based meat has transformed into a billion dollar industry over the past decade, and market space for new and emerging brands is growing increasingly limited. According to Nielsen data, annual plant-based sales rose 42 percent to $888 million from March 2016 to March 2019. And with major companies like Tyson Foods, Perdue, Nestlé, and Conagra now offering their own versions of the concept, competition is fiercer than ever.

As reported in June, Tyson Foods became the largest meat producer to join the plant-based segment with the launch of its meat alternative brand Raised & Rooted. The new brand offers blended meat burgers and chicken nuggets composed of pea protein. Tyson Foods had previously invested—and, two months prior to the launch of Raised & Rooted, divested—in plant-based producer Beyond Meat.

Seth Goldman, executive chairman for Beyond Meat, is not afraid of the large corporations infiltrating the plant-based market. He maintains that only quality, tasteful brands will last in the long-term. “At some point, not all those products are going to make it on the shelf. Not all of them are going to stay on the shelf.”

However, Goldman readily admits that he and other plant-based brands did not think the market would become so competitive so rapidly. “The acceleration in plant based is just taken everyone by surprise,” adds Goldman. “It's been far quicker and more aggressive and more robust than anyone expected it to be. We always believed it would go to this level. It's just surprising how quickly that has happened.”

Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat went public earlier this year. As a smaller, plant-focused company, the brand is able to quickly revamp products in response to customer feedback, current scientific understanding, and technological capabilities. Beyond Meat enjoys numerous lucrative partnerships with such restaurant and fast food chains as Dunkin’, Subway, and TGI Fridays. The company recently added plant-based sausage and chicken options to its menu.

Meanwhile, Nestlé will release the plant-based Awesome Burger to shelves this fall. Perdue has already seen success with its plant-based chicken nuggets, and Conagra is increasingly promoting and investing in its meat alternative brand Gardein.

And what lies next in terms of plant-based innovation? "Nothing is off the table,” says Goldman. “Anything that is a meat-based occasion is fair game."

Health Mix: Bringing Jackfruit to the Global Market

The term “plant-based” is associated with healthy, nutritionally-dense food. And as the plant-based movement has expanded and become a billion dollar industry, more and more companies are debuting their own plant-based foods to join the trend. However, many of these plant-based products are as highly processed as their predecessors, and similarly lacking in genuine nutritional value.

In this episode of Health Mix, host and brand consultant Yareli Quintana sits down with Annie Ryu, the founder and CEO of The Jackfruit Company. Native to India, jackfruit is considered the “meatiest” plant on the planet. It is drought-resistant, naturally organic, a high source of fiber, low in calories, contains no saturated fat and cholesterol, and filled with vitamins and minerals.

“We’re partnered with over 1,000 farming families and buying all of the jackfruit that they want to sell,” notes Ryu. Jackfruit is available in excess supply throughout India, and a single jackfruit can weigh up to 100 pounds. “We’re estimated to be contributing 10 to 40 percent of the annual income of all the farming families we’re working with. It’s a transformative additional income for them.”

In the recent past, jackfruit was not readily available in the United States or worldwide markets. Jackfruit is not well-researched and has a short shelf life once harvested, so distributors tended to assume it would be impossible to work with the genetic diversity of the plant and establish a supply chain. The Jackfruit Company is working to change that.

“We’re dying earlier now in the United States than we used to be,” says Ryu. Part of her mission for The Jackfruit Company is to educate people worldwide on changing their day-to-day habits to better their lives as a whole. “What are we doing to our bodies every single day? What are you doing across the entire span of your life to put yourself in the best position to live a long life?”

“We’re supposed to be eating more plants, more fruits and vegetables,” adds Ryu. “And we need to be eating less of highly processed foods.”

The Jackfruit Company’s products are now available in over 8,000 stores across the United States. Check out the podcast above to learn more about jackfruit, organic certification concerns, and the future of the company.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Olivia Aleguas


Find Out What Food & Wellness Trends Whole Foods Expects to Rule in 2019

Find Out What Food & Wellness Trends Whole Foods Expects to Rule in 2019

The healthy eating movement has shown no signs of slowing down. Consumers want more menu transparency and plant-based food options, but also want to get adventurous with flavors.

So what are some of the food trends the grocery giant expects to take off in 2019?

According to Whole Foods' 2019 forecast, pacific rim flavors are on the rise.

"Ingredients like longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste are already on many restaurant menus, spanning from breakfast to dinner, while vibrant tropical fruits such as guava, dragon fruit and passionfruit are making their way into your smoothie bowls and cocktails," writes "Body and Soul."

As the cannabis industry is booming in states with recreational marijuana, hemp products without the psychoactive effects that are legal are popping up at all different retailers.

"Hemp seeds are being heralded as the new chia seeds, as ‘complete proteins’ and are packed full of essential fatty acids," writes "Body and Soul."

The legal cannabis compound CBD, which is known to have multiple healing benefits, is already being added to beverages and foods at restaurants across the country.

Read More

6.4 Million Canadians have Reduced or Eliminated Meat From Their Diets



The plant-based movement has spread all over the world, especially in Canada.

According to a recent study by the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University, millions of Canadians are consuming less meat, influencing restaurants to offer more plant-based options to accommodate.

Specifically, 82 percent of Canadians still eat meat, but 6.4 million said they have reduced or eliminated meat in their diets. Consumers residing in Ontario, in particular, consume less meat than those in Atlantic Canada.

According to the report, "women are more likely than men to limit or eliminate their meat intake and more likely to replace it with other proteins."

The study also found that the majority (63 percent) of the vegans surveyed were under the age of 38.

Many consumers are choosing to eat plant-based proteins since they are more sustainable.

"By 2050, there will be more than 10 billion people on the planet, and while people will still be eating animal protein, plant-based proteins that are more sustainably produced are a credible alternative."

Restaurants have had to adjust to the consumers' changing diets whether by adding more plant-based meals or giving guests the option to sub a meat protein with a plant-based one.

"We have been making a real effort to be more plant-based, and many restaurants are trying to be a bit more mindful of trends, the environmental impact and food costs. Even in our diets at home, we've found ourselves putting more veggies at the center of the plate," said Nick Benninger, Fat Sparrow restaurateur.

Benninger's restaurant Marbles in Waterloo has embraced the vegan trend completely and offers a vegan prix-fixe menu on Tuesdays. This vegan-themed night has certainly paid off and has become one of the restaurant's most crowded nights.

Read more about the plant-based surge in Canada at “CBC.”

Want more data on the plant-based movement and how it is gaining momentum? Watch the On Foodable Industry Pulse episode below to see how 51 percent of chefs have added vegan items to their menus this year.

52 Percent of Shoppers are Buying More Plant-based Products



Although a lot of turkeys are being consumed today, more consumers are embracing a plant-based lifestyle.

According to yet another study, 52 percent of U.S. shoppers are eating more plant-based foods and beverages.

Apparently, these consumers don't think this is just a fad diet either.

In the study by DuPont Nutrition & Health, 60 percent of those surveyed plan to keep the switch to plant-based foods permanent because they feel healthier being on this diet.

“There is a seismic shift occurring in eating habits globally, creating a significant market opportunity. Most important, our research reveals that for most consumers, this has moved beyond experimentation into a permanent change brought on by health, lifestyle and social factors,” said Greg Paul, DuPont official in a press release about the study.

Read more about the Dupont study at “bizwomen” now.

This year, there have been multiple studies reporting similar findings.

According to Nielsen, 40 percent of Americans are trying to eat more plant-based foods.

Kimpton's 2019 Culinary & Cocktails Trend Forecast by Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants group said that the plant-based movement is going into overdrive in 2019.

Plant-based sales reached $3.3 billion this year, as reported by Nielsen.

But that's just the beginning. The plant-based industry is expected to be worth $5.2 billion in sales by 2020, according to Oregon-based Allied Market Research (AMR.)

When tracking social data pulled from Foodable Labs, we saw that plant-based consumption is up by 300 percent over the last year. Specifically, 51 percent of chefs have added vegan menu items to their menus this year, which is a 31 percent increase from last year.

Learn more about the plant-based movement and how it is here to stay in the video below.