Smithfield Foods, which claims it is the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, today announced that it is launching a new “plant-based protein portfolio” under its Pure Farmland banner.
The press announcement only says that the new plant-based proteins will be made from soy, and will feature eight products across breakfast lunch and dinner, including: burger patties, meatballs, breakfast patties, and starters. Smithfield says it is going after flexitarians, those consumers that don’t adhere to a particular dogma about eating meat, but rather just want to eat less of it.
That a $15 billion dollar meat giant like Smithfield is getting into the plant-based protein game shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone following the space. It comes in the wake of other big conglomerates like Tyson, which recently unveiled its own plant-based protein products, as well as Netsle, which launched its plant-based Incredible Burger at the end of last year.
Aside from its traditional competition, Smithfield must have been taking note of the red-hot plant-based meat market, grocery sales of which have grown 31 percent in the past two years to hit $4.5 billion. Beyond Meat had a stellar IPO earlier this year and upped its sales forecast to $240 million this year, while Impossible Foods, hot off its Burger King success, will make its much-anticipated move into grocery retail next month.
Given that Smithfield is in the pork business, it will also be coming up against Omnipork out of China, which makes a plant-based pork out of soy, pea, mushroom and rice proteins.
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