Plenty of Room for Growth in Plant-Based Space

cooked meat on black round plate

While Oatly may be making waves for its proposed $10 billion IPO, competition in the space continues to heat up as new competitors expand their product ranges. Meanwhile, the health benefits of these products continue to be debated.

Plant-Based IPOs Set to Soar

In a recent episode of The Food Institute Podcast, Bloomberg Intelligence senior analyst Jennifer Bartashus shared her thoughts on the plant-based market, saying it would take another decade before it reached a saturation point.

“Plant-based seems to be a trend that’s sticky… at Bloomberg Intelligence, our latest forecast for plant-based meat alternatives is to reach $10 billion in 10 years. That’s up from about $2 billion in sales in 2020,” she said.

Following Beyond Meat’s successful IPO in 2019, many investors were looking for the “next big thing” in the plant-based market. Impossible Foods and Oatly both publicly floated a $10 billion figure for valuation in 2021, and may investors are taking note. However, they aren’t the only companies expanding in the sector.

New Product Types and Revamped Ingredients

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods dominated headlines at the advent of plant-based pandemonium, but it seems increasingly apparent that private-label and established food brands are joining the fray.

These moves are for good reason: the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute recently reported the plant-based foods sector grew 27% in 2020 to about $7 billion. Dollar sales were up 25% for the year.

In 2021, the trend seems to be continuing. For example, recently we’ve seen product expansions from Tyson Foods’ Raised & Rooted brand and Target’s Good & Gather brand, while the partnership between Thrive Market and Beyond Meat continues to grow.

Meanwhile, Greenleaf Foods’ Lightlife brand completed its product portfolio transformation program for cleaner labels. The brand overhauled its 19 plant-based products to remove ingredients like carrageenan, eggs, and maltodextrin.

Debate Over Health Continues

Lightlife’s decision to remove specific ingredients speaks to growing awareness surrounding nutrition and wellness in the wake of the pandemic, and they weren’t the only ones looking to tap into this growing consumer demand.

Beyond Meat partnered with Stanford University to launch the Plant-Based Diet Initiative Fund. The program was designed to showcase how the company’s plant-based products can be part of a healthier diet, and will include studies on the product, find new plant proteins that can be used for products, and release globally accessible data on the impact of plant-based proteins, reported MarketWatch (May 10).

“There’s still a lot of noise out there about the ingredients, things like that, so we want to get out there and be very, very focused on making sure the consumer understands that the products are healthy,” said Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown during an investor meeting.