In this file:


·         Plant-based proteins an opportunity, not a threat, to Manitoba farmers, summit told

·         ‘Meatless meat’ no threat to ranchers



Plant-based proteins an opportunity, not a threat, to Manitoba farmers, summit told

Manitoba government sees province at leading edge of growing appetite for plant-based meat alternatives


Ian Froese, CBC News (Canada)

Sep 19, 2019


You can have your meat and tofu, too.


That's the message a professor in food research delivered a conference Thursday, saying Manitobans are not immune to the emerging demand for plant-based protein — but farmers should embrace the change rather than dismiss it.


In front of an audience of agriculture industry workers at the first Manitoba Protein Summit on Thursday morning, Sylvain Charlebois acknowledged that some producers feel threatened by the growing appetite for plant-based proteins like the Beyond Meat burger, and restaurants like A&W for championing it.


He insisted that fast-food joints aren't betraying beef producers, but are rather trying to offer consumers another choice.


"You can say all you want about A&W, but people like to go there and they enjoy going there," said Charlebois, director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University in Halifax.


"You have to respect the consumer," he added. "Giving a choice to consumers is a good thing — for everyone."


He encouraged the agriculture sector to embrace plant-based innovations, which include new products that go beyond traditional tofu dogs and burgers in their ingredients (the Beyond Meat burger, for example, includes pea protein and canola oil, while Impossible Food's patties have soy protein and coconut oil).


"If you do it right, with the right protein strategy, you can distinguish yourself and present your product very differently as part of a much larger portfolio of protein choices."


Carson Callum, general manager of the Manitoba Beef Producers, says the beef sector is often unfairly maligned, and its producers offer a nutritious product and use sustainable farming practices.


But he sees a place on store shelves for both beef and plant-based substitutes.


"We need to make sure we work collaboratively, because we both fit in the grocery store."


Province announces new strategy ...


Steaks won't go away: Charlebois ...





‘Meatless meat’ no threat to ranchers


By Alan Guebert, The Western Producer (Canada) 

Sep 19, 2019


P.T. Barnum, the quintessential American showman, might have found today’s food carnival more interesting and far more profitable than his namesake circus of yore.


For example, slow food is taking note of the fast rise of meatless, or plant-based, burgers this year. Veggie burgers, their previous incarnation, are not new; the lovely Catherine has been buying and trying them for decades. This year, however, two companies, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, introduced high tech veggie versions of the American classic and both have rocked eaters and investors alike.


In her Sept. 2 Washington Post review of a Beyond Burger, food writer Alicia Kennedy, a long-time veggie burger devotee, noted that “… when it arrived and I took a bite, I immediately began to tear up.… I was so sure I’d just eaten beef, for the first time in years.”


Joyous tears have also flooded Wall Street for Beyond Burger’s parent company, Beyond Meat. On May 2, the company offered its first public shares at $25 apiece. Prices that day closed at $65.75, then they really took off. On July 26, shares hit $235 before dropping back to “just” $165 on Sept. 3, a 660 percent rocket ride in just four months.


Many farm groups (and most ag pundits, too) aren’t as impressed as fake meat’s eager eaters and gilded investors. All but a few scoff at the very idea of meatless meat tasting anything close to real meat while nervously confessing that they see vegetable-based meat as an existential threat to the livestock and poultry sectors.


That farm reaction was not unexpected. It is, after all, what we in agriculture often do: condemn first, then — maybe, maybe not — ask for the facts.


The fact is meat alternatives snagged only US$4.3 billion of the $900 billion-plus global meat market in 2018. Market analysts see mock meat sales rising 6.8 percent per year through 2023 to an arguably unimpressive $6.3 billion, even as real meat sales grow faster.


Burger King is proving that forecast spot on.


On Aug. 31, market watchers told Business Insider that Burger King’s recent six percent increase in sales rested on two, unforeseen facts: its meatless meat entrée, called the Impossible Whopper (from Impossible Foods), is driving new customers to its retail outlets and that, once there, “traditional beef Whopper sales have also increased.”


An even more plausible reality is that the biggest threat to meatless meat will come from other meatless meat newcomers attempting to catch their veggie lightning in a bun.


More importantly, some of the newcomers aren’t new; they are the biggest of big boys in Big Ag.


“The big guns of ADM (Archer Daniels Midland), Cargill, Tyson and a host of others are elbowing for space, each keen for a serving of the latest and greatest in alternative meat fare,” noted Chris Bennett on Aug. 13.


And, he added, “innumerable smaller companies are jumping into the game, with new startups popping up monthly.”


Despite that rising investment surge in mock meat, farmers and ranchers — and chickens, beef cattle, lambs, goats, hogs, turkeys, and anything else that sizzles when fried, roasted, grilled or boiled — are not an endangered species.


In fact, veggie burger or not, the number of vegans and vegetarians in the U.S. has not increased in 20 years. Moreover, Ethan Brown, the co-founder of Beyond Meat, told Vox in March “that 93 percent of consumers who buy Beyond Meat also buy animal meat — and he’s fine with that.”


Farmers and ranchers should be fine with that, too...