Meat Leader Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) Goes For Protein Alternatives

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Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), the Arkansas-based food industry leader, is aiming to reduce the consumption of pork, beef, and chicken in the country by introducing plant proteins. The largest meat processor in the United States, Tyson is the first meat company that is apparently going against its business objectives.

Beyond Meat Attracts a Lot of Investments

Recently, the company announced that they were acquiring a 5 percent stake in the California firm, Beyond Meat, which makes “meats” from sources of proteins such as peas and soy. A plant-protein, their Beyond Burger started selling earlier this year. Terms of this deal have, however, not been disclosed.

In recent months, Beyond Meat has garnered a lot of praise for coming out with meat alternatives that are made from ingredients like pea flower and carrot fiber.

Incidentally, the Humane Society of the United States has also invested in Beyond Meat. Other investors in the company include Kite Hill, the makers of nuts and other plant-based proteins for replacing dairy products, including cheese, and 301 Inc., the angel investing division of General Mills.

Their financing round was very successful. The business was able to raise $17 million from investors last year, raising eyebrows. With this investment, they want to turn meat substitutes into mainstream.

Monica McGurk, who was with Coca-Cola earlier says, “The quality of the Beyond Burger is amazing. We think it’s a game-changing product that gives us exposure to this fast-growing part of the food business”. Monica is currently the Vice President with Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), looking after new ventures and business strategy. She played a key role in the 5 percent takeover of Beyond Meat.

Consumption of Plant-Based Foods Is Growing

Research indicates that an ever-increasing number of Americans are opting for plant-based foods now. Conventional food businesses are trying to catch up. A study carried out by Meatingplace, Midan Marketing, and the NPD Group discovered that 70 percent of all meat eaters are having a meat substitute once a week at least. 22 percent of the surveyed said that they are eating these substitutes more frequently now.

McDonald’s too is moving away from poultry with antibiotics. GRSB or the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef has been working with NGOs to bring down the environmental impact caused by the meatpacking industry.

In the last 12 months till June this year, plant-based food businesses have made sales worth $4.9 billion. This is currently the fastest growing segment in the food business.