When the UK behemoth supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is highlighting vegan cheese as the product line with the largest percentage beat to their quarterly plan, something big is brewing…and it is in the plant based business sector.
Before I show you a small view of the current plant based business potential, it is good to see some of the reasons to consider eating more plants, or make the full switch to a plant-based diet. If you have not yet had time to research this on your own, I can plant a few seeds for you here.
Taking five minutes to really look at our nation’s food production sector. This will be a revelation for most.
Robert Kenner’s Academy Award nominated documentary, FOOD, INC, goes behind the scenes of the US food industry.
Looking deeper into the Big Business behind this, fueled by factory farming will literally break your heart as you see how animal cruelty runs rampant and mostly unchecked in the US. Many parents don’t teach their kids to know the source of their food, and this is a good start.
It is also widely published that it takes 15 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef, and five pounds of grain to produce one pound of chicken. Scientific American revealed recently that the amount of beef the average American eats in a year creates as much greenhouse gas as driving a car over 1,800 miles!
The Environmental Working Group published a great article on a Meat Eater’s guide to climate change and health if you are curious about your impact.
It has recently been scientifically proven that plant protein builds muscle just as well as animal proteins, and both protein sources benefit muscle health equally.
We also know that processed meat is classified as an IARC Group 1 Carcinogen – which is the same category as tobacco – yikes! So, this makes the Meatless Monday a fun alternative to reduce meat consumption immediately and can be a fun cooking adventure to share with your kids! You can also educate your family (and yourself) with fun pop culture facts like who in the celebrity kingdom is a vegan! Come on, show your kids a movie where Vegan Tobey Maguire plays Spiderman and I guarantee you can use that as leverage for them to eat their veggies – “Super Heroes do it!”
Or how about showing them Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 Racing Champion and one of the fastest drivers on the planet – plant proteins power greatness!
And to inspire your kids even more – do a quick Internet search on The Great Vegetarians. It might even surprise you what brilliant minds were already keen on this lifestyle!
Health as Business.
Our every day Super Heroes and modern day brilliant minds can become those willing to build and invest in businesses that promote plants. And in reality, this is what I would like to highlight in this post – the real Business of Plant Power.
The buzzwords of organic, free range and farm-to-table are all very common today and have already built great businesses across the meat and plant industries. But you know something is bubbling in a sector where emerging plant players are targeted by the big gorillas in the room. (Gorillas are mainly vegetarians, so they would indeed go after plants, so that reference can be taken in a few different ways!)
Firstly, as an example of Big Business taking notice of the plant based industry - look the marketing blitz of #GetReal Dairy Milk v. Almond Milk, calling out ingredients. While this is actually true - there are products with not-so-great or artificial additives - this is in every food sector, not just relegated to the plant-based industry. So do what your mom told you to do and read the ingredient list on anything you buy, and know where your food is sourced.
In highlighting the opposing viewpoint to those ads, The Milk Boards and the National Dairy Council and must have missed Jamie Oliver’s TED talk “Teach every child about food” from 2010.
It is an enlightening view into what our children know about food and worth viewing the entire talk, but if you want to see the snippet on dairy milk, start watching at 12:08.
It may surprise you to learn about the artificial additives in some forms of dairy milk, including deadly amounts of refined sugar.
Secondly, in another thrust against the plant-based industry, the proposed Dairy Pride Act would force any non-lacteal secretion products not to use the word milk in their product labeling and marketing.
Plants are becoming more of the main target…but this is a good thing!
So - since beef, pork and chicken all have great PR teams, why can’t our plant friends, too? Well, the can! Last year, the Plant Based Foods Association was established to represent makers of proteins derived from peas, soybeans and other nonmeat sources. As of their press release in 2016, the organization has 23 companies on board, representing a $3.5BN industry. Yes, 3 billion dollars annually. Go Plants!
Here is where is gets fun AND lucrative:
In the US, new product plant based product launches were up 32% in 2016, as reported by Innova Market Insights. New vegan product launches are predicted to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% from 2016 until 2020. This is due to real lifestyle changes – not a fad.
Sales of products incorporating plant proteins grew 8.7 percent over 2014 and 2015 through retailers not including Whole Foods, while overall sales of food products grew 3.7 percent, according to SPINS, which collects data on retail sales for the natural and specialty products industries.
What this proves is that the plant-based world is not just a choice for health, the environment and ethics, but it is also a growing business. Yes, you can invest in plant-based companies and ventures. Whether you look to do traditional stock investing or can go down the VC route, this market is ripe for picking (pun intended :).
There are some very interesting areas to investigate further, including Myoko’s Kitchen and Givaudan and Beyond Meat.
Givaudan is a company who creates flavors and fragrances and has recognized alternative proteins as a huge area of future growth. Proteins like algae. Yes, protein-rich algae are a “thing” and building momentum, as it can replace eggs and dairy fats in a wide range of applications including bakery, beverages and desserts.
Miyoko’s Kitchen just garnered $6MM in funding to expand it’s production and distribution of it's plant-based artisan cheese.
Beyond Meat is a plant-based protein company that is delivering full flavor and taste through by building "meat" from plants alone. If you have not yet tried this (especially the "burger") then get yourself to Whole Foods quickly, as they usually run out of stock. The company is building another US based factory in Missouri that will employ hundreds, and help keep up with demand. Leo DiCaprio is a major investor, alongside chicken giant Tyson...looks like they know where the future is going too!
These are just a few of the companies in the current investment news, and BTW you can find several that are US based and do US production. Bonus.
I don’t give investment advice or promote companies or stocks, but this can give you a view of alternative industries for you to investigate on your own, according to your own investing profile.
As a final bonus to all of you who made it to the end of this post (thank you very much!) and circling back to the current momentum of plant-based cheese, here are a few of my favorite vegan cheese recipes.
The aged Camembert is worth the time to make it, and the mozzarella is a quick and easy treat!
Sainsbury’s and famous folks past and present – the likes of Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Ariana Grande, Cesar Chavez, Pamela Anderson, Lewis Hamilton, and Gandhi can’t be wrong!
There has never been a better time to let your conscious foodie make you some delicious meals …and some money!
I welcome any and all comments - and please share!