Businesses are going plant-based, and it's paying in a big way. Here are a few reasons why it might be time to jump on the bandwagon:
An Uptick in Plant-Based Meat Consumption
A recent article from 24/7 Wall Street reports that sales of plant-based proteins grew at least 9 percent year over year in 2014 and 2015, with total sales in 2016 exceeding $5 billion. These huge sales numbers didn’t even include large retailers like Whole Foods (I know, crazy, right?!).
Several major players in the food industry have realized we are in the early days of a major shift and have bought their way into the plant-based market in order to capitalize on the growing consumer excitement around healthy, humane, and sustainable foods.
In the words of Brian Tockman, principal of General Mills’ corporate venturing arm:
There are multiple reasons why we’re excited to jump into this with both feet, and the first is because it’s consumer driven. These options resonate with consumers and bring them back to the nostalgia of their old favorite foods that they’ve chosen not to eat anymore due to health concerns or other motivations. Companies are responding to this consumer demand with completely novel products that are really exciting to see.
Speaking of shifting consumer demand...
No One Drinks Cows’ Milk Anymore!
In the past four years alone, per capita liquid dairy milk consumption has decreased by more than 15 pounds per year. In this same time period, there has been a notable rise in sales for milk alternatives like almond, soy, rice, and coconut. Almond milk sales climbed more than 80 percent in 2011 alone! Blue Diamond Growers, headquartered in California, is leading the pack in the almond milk surge – posting 50 percent growth year-over-year in 2014.
Who Eats Mayo with Eggs in It, Anyway?
Hampton Creek, the notable leader in the eggless mayo industry with it’s Just Mayo product, has proven to consumers (and investors) that consumers are seeking out cholesterol-free, more eco-friendly options. With initial distribution in Whole Foods Market locations, Hampton Creek recently landed a distribution arrangement with WalMart stores, allowing Just Mayo to be stocked in most of the company’s 4,000 locations. Huge!
[For more on the growing plant-based mayo market, read up on Campbell’s latest edition here.]
Even Big Food is Seeing the Light
In a move that surprised many, Tyson Foods announced last fall that they had secured a 5-percent stake in plant-based food startup Beyond Meat. Right now, plant-based meat represents just one-quarter of one percent of the national expenditure on meat, but where farmed meat sales are stagnating, plant-based meat sales are growing, and they’re going to accelerate more and more as plant-based and clean meat companies create better, more convenient, more affordable alternatives.
At GFI, our hope is that the meat industry will join us. Who better to pioneer plant-based bacon than Hormel or Smithfield? Who better to create plant-based or clean chicken nuggets than Tyson or Perdue? By partnering with large companies with wide distribution and significant R&D resources, good-food startups can reach new audiences with more affordable and accessible plant-based alternatives.
The Plant-Based Food Industry Isn't Just Ethical – but Profitable, Too!
If you’ve been looking for a way to significantly improve the world while significantly increasing your paycheck, it’s time to consider venturing into the good-food market. Whether you’re interested in joining a company, finding funding to start your own, or supporting startups that aremaking a positive and measurable difference in our food system – now’s the time to hop on the bandwagon! And we have the resources to help get you started.
To learn more about The Good Food Institute’s work to support healthy, humane, and sustainable changes to our food system, read up on what we do and how we can help you!