Tyson Foods branches out to take a share of vegan meat products

Posted Oct 11, 2016 by Karen Graham
Tyson Foods, the country's largest meat processor, announced last week it was investing in Beyond Meat, grabbing a five percent stake in the California-based company that makes "meats" using plant-based proteins.
Beyond Meat
Founded in 2009, the El Segundo, Calif. company began releasing its Chicken-Free Strips exclusively to Whole Foods Markets in Northern California in 2012. Soon after, the innovative plant-based proteins company had grabbed the interest of a number of backers, including Bill Gates and the Humane Society.
But more to the point, Beyond Meat founder and CEO Ethan Brown wants to offer a product that can satisfy the world's growing demand for meat, especially in markets like India and China. He also wants to take plant-based meats into the mainstream market.
To that end, the company offered the Beyond Burger this year, a really good-tasting thick and juicy plant-based burger that is sold fresh, and sizzles and oozes fats when cooked on the grill.
Beyond Meat products are now sold in over 11,000 stores nationwide, but this is sure to grow as plant-based meats grab a bigger market share. Americans are consuming more and more plant-based meats, leaving "real meat" companies in the dust, so to speak.
According to the Plant Based Foods Association, businesses in the U.S., which include Beyond Meat, Califia Farms, and Heidi Ho, had sales of over $4.9 billion in the last 12 months through June and grew faster than the food business for that same period.
There is some speculation as to why Tyson Foods has invested in the company. Michele Simon, the executive director of the Plant-Based Foods Association, said Tyson’s investment in Beyond Meat is the first of its kind she knows of where a traditional meat company has done this.
One analyst suggested that Tyson made the move to take public scrutiny away from its "industrial farming" methods of producing meats.
Actually, many people think Tyson has made the right move because the world's need for "alternative" proteins is growing. It is estimated that by 2050, plant-based proteins could account for almost one-third of the world's protein consumption. And creating a "fake meat" that tastes like the real thing is one giant step in the right direction.
Someone said, after tasting the Beyond Burger, that "this isn't your parent's fake meat." And with the new technological innovations that have gone into creating the plant-based meats we have on the market today, they can only get better.