Big Food: 40% Have Dedicated Plant-Based Teams, Plus Other Key FAIRR Report Findings


By Sally Ho, Green Queen (Hong Kong) 

Jul 31, 2020


A new report by collaborative investor network FAIRR has found that nearly half of the world’s biggest food retailers and manufacturers have set up teams dedicated to developing and selling plant-based food products. Tesco and Unilever ranked the highest in terms of its commitment to shifting its portfolio towards plant-based, according to the analysis.


40% (2 in5) of Big Food companies have dedicated plant-based R&D/Sales teams


The report, titled Appetite for disruption: a second serving, contains data from a four-year investor engagement with 25 food giants. It finds that two in five food retail and manufacturing titans now have dedicated plant-based teams working exclusively on creating and selling plant-based products and meat and dairy substitutes.


Tesco & Unilever are planet-forward leaders on supply chain front


In terms of company ranking, Tesco and Unilever topped the list for actively diversifying plant-based protein as a part of its climate-aligned growth strategies, with Nestlé and Marks & Spencer following closely behind.


When looking at the companies that have set up dedicated human resources for plant-based product development, the report highlighted Kroger, Coles, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.


Alternative protein has officially gone mainstream


    This report shows that 2020 is set to be a watershed in the shift from animal proteins towards plant-based and new protein sources. The protein transition has gone mainstream.

    Jeremy Coller, Founder of FAIRR


Retailers are flooding the meat aisle with plant-based alternatives


Of the retailers, 7 out of 15 now sell or plan to sell plant-based meat substitutes “on the meat aisle” in stores, while half of the manufacturers have teams to develop new plant-based protein products. Separately, a study by Kroger and the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) found that sales of vegan meat increased 23% when sold in the conventional meat aisle.


“This [is] evidence that the world’s biggest supermarkets and food-makers are vying for their slice of the plant-based pie,” said Jeremy Coller, founder of FAIRR.


“They are drastically scaling-up and skilling-up their capacity to research and develop plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy, and tangible goals for a protein transition are being put in place.”


Alt protein has received over US$ 1 billion in investment to date this year


Other key findings in the report include the fact that over US$1.1 billion of investment has gone into alternative proteins within the first half of this year alone, marking a doubling of the figure recorded in the same period last year...


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