Cargill competes in plant-based space with launch of meatless range

06 March 2020


Cargill is set to roll out a range of alternative meat products, entering the market as the latest challenger to notable players such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. The global food and agriculture giant has announced its new private label plant-based patties and ground products will hit retailers and restaurants in the US by early April.

Cargill stresses the importance of “all options on the table” in the protein space where demand for alternatives is constantly pushed up by global consumers seeking meat-free and planet-friendly products. “Cargill’s strategy for both food and feed is based on helping customers thrive in a world where demand for protein is rising,” says Brian Sikes, leader of Cargill’s global protein and salt business. “Cargill has invested US$7 billion globally in animal protein in the last five years while making strategic investments in the alternative protein space.” “We need to keep all protein options on the table. Whether you are eating animal protein or alternatives, Cargill will be at the center of the plate,” he continues.

The reduction of animal meat from diets continues to drive NPD this year, with Innova Market Insights pegging the “Plant-Based Revolution” as its number two trend for 2020. The market researcher highlights a 59 percent average annual growth in global F&B launches with a “plant-based” claim (CAGR 2014 to 2019). The new offerings are part of Cargill’s inclusive approach to the anticipated future of protein. It is advancing both animal and alternative protein products to meet the expected 70 percent growth in global demand for protein over the next 30 years.

As of yet, no specific details on the product’s ingredients, flavor or textural properties have been revealed. The plant-based protein products, which are under development through culinary insight and consumer research are made exclusively in Cargill facilities. “Cargill has a strong history of providing high-quality protein products to customers,” says Elizabeth Gutschenritter, Managing Director of Cargill’s alternative protein team. “Producing plant-based products across our global supply chain is the logical next step to expanding our ability to meet consumer needs and bring new value to this category.” While this may be Cargill’s first foray into the plant-based space, it is not a new contender to the meat-free arena. Earlier this year, the company was an investor in the US$161 million funding round of Memphis Meat, a lab-grown meat, poultry and seafood company. This breakthrough round marked the “largest funding moment” in the history of the cell-based meat industry.

Plant-based arena attracts contenders

The mainstreaming of plant-based proteins has attracted large businesses, including traditional meat producers. Last year, Smithfield Foods, a US-based pork processing giant and wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed WH Group, launched a soy-based protein portfolio under its Pure Farmland brand. Other big names include Maple Leaf Foods, which has various acquisitions and launches in the plant-based space; chicken producer Perdue Farms, with its hybrid chicken-vegetable nuggets; and McCain Foods, with its strategic partnership with NUGGS to develop a plant-based chicken nugget alternative.

Meanwhile, shifts in consumer appetite are also leading to a traditional animal byproducts such as eggs. The wide array of functionalities in eggs poses a significant challenge for manufacturers seeking to replicate the kitchen staple in plant-based applications. Earlier this month, FoodIngredientsFirst spoke to leading to key ingredient suppliers pushing the envelope in formulating near-identical egg replacements. Similarly, the dairy sector is undergoing its own transformation, with hybrid concepts emerging. Blended ingredients, such as dairy and non-dairy milk combinations, have been pegged by Innova Market Insights as one among the sector’s most prominent trends this year.

Published by on February 25, 2020
Image by Shutterstock


Sign up

    Fill in your contact details to sign up for our newsletter.