Rising Plant-Based and Alternative Protein Investments Driving Innovation at a Rapid Pace
FN Media Group Presents USA News Group News Commentary
VANCOUVER, BC, March 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — USA News Group – Innovations in plant-based meat and protein sources, dairy and egg alternatives, cultivated meat and alternative protein fermentation are all on the rise, thanks to rapidly growing investment in the sector. According to the Good Food Institute, in 2021, investment in these types of companies reached $5.1 billion, up by a whopping 61% from 2020’s investment of $3.1 billion. Governments across multiple countries have also been increasing their investments in plant proteins, such as Australia kicking in AU$378 million (~US$277.6 million) to transform South Australia into a plant-protein manufacturing powerhouse, Canada committing to $100 million for Canada’s plant-based industry, and the European Union pledging €10 Billion (~US$11 billion) as part of a larger green transition plan with a focus on plant-based proteins. But it’s the private sector that seems to be moving forward the most innovations, including companies such as Nepra Foods (CSE: NPRA) (OTCQB: NPRFF), Benson Hill, Inc. (NYSE: BHIL), Burcon NutraScience Corporation (NASDAQ: BRCN) (TSX: BU), Oatly Group AB (NASDAQ: OTLY), and food giant Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN).
Coming off an oversubscribed IPO in late 2021, Nepra Foods (CSE: NPRA) (OTCQB: NPRFF) has made significant strides by developing its proprietary product known as Textured Hemp Protein™ (THP)—a nutritious plant-based and allergen-free food, currently used in wholesale ingredients and consumer packaged goods, such as Nepra’s PROPASTA™ line of ready-to-eat frozen meals, including its latest addition, a line of macaroni and cheese heat-and-eat meals—a category currently dominated by products containing gluten and dairy.
“Our R&D team has outdone themselves with the recent creation of macaroni noodles and creamy cheddar cheese, all made from plants,” said Chadwick White, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Nepra Foods. “We are taking hemp protein to the next level with our proprietary formulations that are perfectly designed for modern flexitarians who want to eat healthier but don’t want to sacrifice taste,”
Hemp provides an excellent source of lean plant-based protein, that’s rich in amino acids, a good source of iron, magnesium and manganese, and may prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.
“Although we don’t consider ourselves a meat analogue company, the analogues we produce for our PROPASTA™ line of frozen entrees are unique in the industry,” said Nepra CEO David Wood. “While most everyone in this space is using pea, soy, gluten, and faba bean, our texturized hemp protein has superior flavor, texture, and, most importantly, nutrition.”
Made from hemp hearts, N-50 Flour product has already brought the company early success to its ingredient business. Nepra’s innovative formulation improves the color and texture of gluten-free salty snacks like pretzels.
“One of the most cherished aspects of our business is our helping our partners find ingredient solutions to make healthy and delicious food for their customers,” said Nepra CEO David White.
Sales of Nepra’s N-50 Flour flagship product grew 400% through Q3 2021, and is growing in popularity with snackmakers in a growing list of some of America’s favorite healthy food snack brands. Nepra aims to grow its wholesale ingredient business by 100%, as well as its B2B consultation business by 150%, in 2022.
Sourced from hemp crops in Canada, Nepra’s unique nutrient-rich formulas are produced at its new Colorado facility—which went into full production in early February 2022.
Unlike Nepra, US-based food-tech company Benson Hill, Inc. (NYSE: BHIL) has given focus to high-protein soy ingredients, with its launch of its TruVail line of non-GMO ingredients—including a high-protein soy flour, as well as texturized proteins also made from soy.
“Better ingredients start with better beans. Whereas food manufacturers are usually relegated to use whatever limited ingredients the commodity system has to offer, TruVail ingredients are sourced from soybeans specifically designed with consumer interests in mind,” said Bruce Bennett, president of Benson Hill’s Ingredients Business. “With TruVail high protein ingredients, food companies can count on great taste, functionality, and quality while delivering more sustainable products with closed-loop traceability and less processing.”
TruVail ingredients are sourced from Benson Hill’s proprietary Ultra-High Protein (UHP) soybeans, reducing the need for additional processing steps typically required to concentrate protein levels.
Last fall, a joint venture involving Burcon NutraScience Corporation (NASDAQ: BRCN) (TSX: BU), dubbed Merit Functional Foods, received a co-investment from industry-led, not-for-profit organization Protein Industries Canada to develop quality meat alternatives. Merit Functional Foods is partnering with Winecrush Technology, Wamame Foods and Wismettac Asian Foods to develop and distribute a line of meat alternatives to pork and Wagyu beef.
“We are thrilled that Merit’s best-in-class protein ingredients will be utilized in these unique and sustainable high-quality meat alternative applications,” said Burcon’s President and CEO Johann F. Tergesen. “This additional funding support from Protein Industries Canada will help to strengthen Merit Foods’ position as the premier Canadian producer of innovative plant-based protein ingredients for the global food and beverage markets.”
Using Protein Industries Canada’s injection of C$7.6 million, the JV project involves Merit Foods and Winecrush Technology each providing plant-based ingredients for new meat alternative products to be distributed throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
Popular coffee chain Starbucks has recently added a new chilled shaken beverage to its lineup, the Iced Toasted Vanilla Oat Milk Shaken Espresso—made with oat milk provided by Oatly Group AB (NASDAQ: OTLY).
The addition follows upon last year’s Oatly tryout with the coffee giant, becoming the fourth milk alternative to hit Starbucks’ menus—joining soy, coconut and almond.
Before pushing into grocery stores, Oatly focused on getting baristas and coffee drinkers hooked on oat milk’s creamy texture and ability to froth, beginning in 2016 with third-wave coffee chain Intelligentsia.
Meat industry giant Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) isn’t taking the alternative meat wave lightly, having invested heavily into the space so far.
After losing a pair of industry veteran executives to Beyond Meat at the end of 2021, Tyson was part of a $347 million fundraising for cultivated (lab-grown) meat company Future Meat, which has been called the largest-ever amount of investment in a cellular meat company.
Tyson also invested in the cellular meat company Upside Foods in 2018, and launched its own Raised & Rooted plant protein brand in 2019.
“Our products are plants made meatier, and deliver the same delicious flavors, in a better-for-you alternative,” said David Ervin, VP of marketing at Raised & Rooted. “We are excited to provide people with satisfying alternative protein options perfect for any occasion.”
For more information go to: https://usanewsgroup.com/2021/09/05/the-plant-based-food-revolution-is-here/
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