In this file:


·         Shhhhh, Big Dairy Is in Bed With Almond Milk

… Even dairy-icon Dean is in the plant business, and owns almost 70 percent of Good Karma Foods, a maker of flaxseed milk and yogurt…


·         Tyson, one of the world's biggest meat producers, will start selling a plant-based protein

… "We have a strategy focused on protein, whether that's animal protein or plant protein"…




Shhhhh, Big Dairy Is in Bed With Almond Milk


    Chobani produces coconut products, HP Hood makes Planet Oat

    Fight on whether alternatives can be labeled ‘milk’ rages on


By Lydia Mulvany, Deena Shanker, and Leslie Patton, Bloomberg

May 6, 2019


Dairy farmers are indignant about beverages calling themselves milks when they are actually made of oats or almonds or sunflower seeds. Even worse, these impostors have been draining away at the market share of what cows produce.


But if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. While farmers loudly voice their complaints about alt-dairy products, conventional processors are starting to churn them out alongside traditional milk, aiming to cash in on their fast-growing popularity in the U.S. One of the country’s oldest dairies, HP Hood, has released a product called Planet Oat. The giant dairy-cooperative Organic Valley is the distributor for a line of almond-based drinks made by New Barn Organics, and a dairy processor handles the packing.


“We wouldn’t exist without Organic Valley,” said Ted Robb, chief executive officer of New Barn, which makes the almond drinks and other nut-based products, including what it calls a buttery spread. “They have a very hard time calling it milk. That really, really bothers them. But they do understand we’re thinking the same way around organic and deeper values.”


For the dairy industry, though, the value that matters most comes from the cow-based products they sell. That is troubled, to say the least. Americans are drinking 40 percent less milk than in 1975, and prices have suffered a rout. The downturn has been a near-deadly blow to stalwarts like Dean Foods Co., the top U.S. dairy company that has been forced to weigh a sale.


Meanwhile, the plant alternatives are hot. Sales of alt-milks were up 8 percent in the year through Jan. 26, hitting $1.7 billion, according to data from Nielsen. Plant-based cheeses and yogurts, while a smaller category, are seeing even bigger gains. Beyond Meat Inc., the maker of vegan burgers and sausages, surged 163 percent on its May 2 trading debut -- the biggest U.S. listing since at least 2008 among initial public offerings that raised at least $200 million.


Outwardly, the dairy industry has harsh words for the plant-based competitors that are eating into their profits.


The National Milk Producers Federation is fired up about the Dairy Pride Act, legislation introduced in the Senate to force the Food and Drug Administration to police labels. In public comments to the FDA last September, yogurt-maker Chobani LLC said using dairy terms on labels for plant-based alternatives was “improper,” “illegal,” and “poses a public health risk.”


At the same time, dairy producers can’t help but get in on the zeitgeist. Chobani recently launched non-dairy products that are coconut-based. Notably, though, the products aren’t labeled as “yogurt.”


The new products aren’t “a replacement to dairy -- dairy and yogurt aren’t ever going to be replaced,” the company said in an emailed statement.


Even dairy-icon Dean is in the plant business, and owns almost 70 percent of Good Karma Foods, a maker of flaxseed milk and yogurt.


“Plant-based becomes a cool opportunity to diversify our portfolio so we can be more relevant to consumers,” said Marissa Jarratt, senior vice president of marketing and general manager of the frozen business unit at Dean Foods. Jarratt said she doesn’t see a conflict between plant-based and dairy.


“We want consumers to have options they can choose from,” she said.


Or take the case of Elmhurst Milked in Brooklyn, which made waves a few years ago by transforming from a dairy processor to an alternative maker...


‘Not Peaked’ ...


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Tyson, one of the world's biggest meat producers, will start selling a plant-based protein


By Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business

May 6, 2019


New York (CNN Business)How big is the plant-based protein craze? Tyson Foods, one of the world's largest poultry, beef and pork producers, plans to start selling a meat substitute this summer.


The product will first enter the market "on a fairly limited basis," CEO and president Noel White said during an analyst call discussing the company's second-quarter earnings on Monday. He added that Tyson plans to roll out its meat substitute "on a much larger scale" this fall.


The plant-based fake meat trend is growing rapidly. Demand is being fueled by consumers choosing healthier diets and trying to reduce their impact on the environment. By 2023, the US meat-substitute retail market could reach $2.5 billion, according to the research firm Euromonitor International.


Tyson has been thinking about alternatives to animal protein for a while.


In 2016, Tyson (TSN) took a 5% stake in Beyond Meat (BYND), which sells plant-based alternatives to meat. Tyson upped that stake in 2017, before recently exiting the deal. Beyond Meat did not want a competitor as an investor, according to Axios. Beyond could not immediately be reached for comment.


"Tyson Ventures is pleased with the investment in Beyond Meat and has decided the time was right to exit its investment," the company said in a statement. "Beyond Meat provided an early opportunity for Tyson Ventures to invest in plant-based protein products that many consumers are seeking."


Tyson continues to maintain a minority stake in Memphis Meats, which uses cells — rather than animals — to make meat.


Last year Tom Hayes, then the CEO and president of Tyson Foods, described Tyson's protein strategy as comprehensive.


"This isn't an 'either or' scenario," he said in a statement at the time. "It's a 'yes and' scenario."


Hayes added that "it will take a combination of innovative and traditional approaches" to feed protein to a growing population in a sustainable way.


White, who took over for Hayes as CEO in September, reiterated the message. "We have a strategy focused on protein, whether that's animal protein or plant protein," White said during a quarterly earnings call in February.


On Monday, White also discussed volatility in the animal meat market.


China's pork industry is taking a huge hit because of African swine fever. Pork production has fallen 10% in China this year, according to US government statistics.


"African Swine Fever has the potential to impact the global protein industry on a level that we have never experienced," White said in a statement Monday, adding that the fever could prove a benefit to Tyson. "A worldwide decrease in pork supply would offer significant upside to our pork business, while also lifting the chicken and beef businesses as substitutes," he added.


But, he warned, the fever could spread to the United States...


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