Plant-Based Continues into Mainstream

brown cookies on white ceramic plate

CPG companies have been expanding their plant-based offerings to compete with brands such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

The Kellogg Co. partnered with Walt Disney Co. to launch Mickey-Mouse shaped Incogmeato chick’n nuggets, reported MarketWatch (Sept. 17). The items will be available at retailers this month.

Kellogg introduced Incogmeato in 2019 via its MorningStar Farms brand. The announcement of the new line of plant-based meats—which included chick’n tenders and burger patties that “bleed”—followed a press release from the company earlier that year that all of its MorningStar products would be completely vegan by 2021, reported Thrillist.

“As more consumers are choosing a ‘flexitarian’ lifestyle and actively reducing meat, we’re thrilled to be extending the MorningStar Farms portfolio with a delicious and satisfying meat-like experience,” said Sara Young, the general manager of MorningStar Farms.

MorningStar has been creating vegetarian-friendly alternatives for about 40 years, including wheat and soy-based “sausage” patties as well as black bean burgers. As growing brands such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods continued to expand through fast-food chains and grocery stores, Kellogg decided to get into the plant-based meat game.

MorningStar celebrated National Burger Day this August by launching a national giveaway on Twitter and partnering with Postmates to bring bite-sized samples to peoples’ doors in Dallas and Denver.

“Incogmeato is an exciting new plant-based brand that looks, cooks and tastes just like meat and is in stores now,” said Young. “We know people are curious about plant-based but may be nervous to try it for the first time, so we’re partnering with Postmates to make overcoming those first bite fears easy with delicious bite-sized samples that are delivered right to their front doors for free.”

The brand found that nearly half of families with children (44%) are eating plant-based proteins, and another 36% are likely to consume them in the next year or two.

Kellogg isn’t the only CPG company taking note of this trend. Brands such as Kraft Heinz, Mars, and Tyson Foods’ investment arm have all backed companies in the industry. In 2019, Tyson also unveiled its own alternative protein products, along with its Raised & Rooted brand.

“Today’s consumers are seeking more protein options so we’re creating new products for the growing number of people open to flexible diets that include both meat and plant-based protein,” said Noel White, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “For us, this is about ‘and’ – not ‘or.’ We remain firmly committed to our growing traditional meat business and expect to be a market leader in alternative protein, which is experiencing double-digit growth and could someday be a billion-dollar business for our company.”

Recently, Nestle’s Sweet Earth Foods also launched its Plant-Based Triple Play—the first fully plant-based bac’n cheeseburger to debut in foodservice. The launch will debut at The University of Massachusetts Dining Program.

The burger was developed by the Sweet Earth culinary team with Nestlé R&D support, using yellow pea protein and non-GMO ingredients.