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.

If you are interested in all things alternative proteins, then you should definitely check out our weekly Future Food newsletter. It’s all the news you need to know delivered directly to your inbox each week.

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