Competition among alternative protein players gets hot as companies beef up with new deals
Jonathan Shieber, TechCrunch
Aug 11, 2019
The competition for control of the burgeoning market for burger replacements (and other alternatives to animal proteins) continues to heat up.
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods the two leading contenders for top purveyor of plant-based patties (and other formulations) have spent most of the typically sleepy summer months jockeying for the position as top supplier to a food industry suddenly ravenous for alternatives to traditional meat product.s
As soon as the first Impossible Whoppers came off the flame broilers at Burger King, Beyond Meat was announcing a new fast food chain supply deal of its own with Subway.
Through that agreement the publicly traded provider of plant-based products will be grinding up meatless meatballs for Subway’s new vegetarian option to the classic meatball sub.
Subway will roll out meatless meatballs in 685 of its franchise locations in the U.S. and Canada starting in September.
Not to be outdone, Impossible Foods came swinging back with some a new partnership with the institutional food prep giant Sodexo. At roughly 1,500 Sodexo locations food slingers at healthcare facilities and corporate and university cafeterias will unveil new options like Impossible Foods-based sausage muffin sandwiches, sausage gravy and biscuits, steakhouse burgers and creole burgers.
“Sodexo is committed to providing customers with more plant-forward and sustainable options as part of their diet,” said Rob Morasco, senior director culinary development, Sodexo, in a statement. “We are excited to expand our menu to include the Impossible Burger’s flavorful blend, which will be featured in several new products this fall.”
Set against this meatless horserace for national food service dominance, other plant-based providers have launched to take the startup direct-to-consumer approach to satisfy vegetarian cravings for other types of food substitutes.
It was partially in response to this furor over the vegetarian market that the world was introduced to Nuggs. Ben Pasternak, the company’s young founder, first came to fame as the teenage entrepreneur behind the social media app Monkey.
When Monkey was sold to a Chinese company in 2017, Pasternak turned his attention to food. He’s been cooking up the idea for Nuggs since that time. In 2018 the core team assembled with Pasternak bringing on Liam Mullen, a former pastry chef and self-trained molecular gastronomist who was working for the high-end New York restaurant Daniel at the age of 16.
Unlike Impossible Foods, which has faced supply chain woes thanks to its initial strategy of building its own manufacturing facilities, Nuggs is manufactured by McCain Foods, a food prep giant that also led the company’s $7 million round. Other investors include...
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