How will consumers view JBS’s acquisition of plant-based Vivera?

The plant-based deal has already provoked ire on social media


By Kevin White, The Grocer (UK)

30 April 2021


JBS hailed its deal to acquire Dutch plant-based brand Vivera last week as an “important step” in its global growth ambitions, and one that gave it a “stronghold in the plant-based sector”.


The Brazilian meat supplier – the world’s largest – snapped up Vivera for an enterprise value of €341m.


And at first glance, the deal looks like a no brainer. Vivera, which is currently Europe’s third largest plant-based brand and the continent’s largest independent, will benefit from the insight and financial might of a company that turned over R$270.2 billion (£35.72 billion) in 2020, a 32.1% increase on 2019 levels.


JBS, meanwhile, will be able to make further inroads into Europe following the acquisitions of Moy Park and Tulip by its Pilgrim’s Pride subsidiary over the past three years. And as global CEO Gilberto Tomazoni said last week, the Vivera deal would also bolster its growing meat-free portfolio, alongside its Incrível burger brand in Brazil and its Ozo brand in the US.


However, the announcement of the deal – which is subject to approval from competition authorities – did not escape criticism. Many shoppers took to social media last week to accuse Vivera of “selling out”. Others noted the ongoing disputed links between JBS and deforestation.


So why has JBS done the deal, how much of it is a reputational move? And could it backfire if vegan consumers view Vivera as sleeping with the enemy?


Plant-based boom ...