Meat giant Tyson Foods will be launching vegan meat this Summer.
The company previously invested in Beyond Meat but sold its stake before the vegan startup went public last week. Now Tyson wants to capitalize on changing consumer tastes via its own products.
According to Tyson CEO Noel White, its new vegan will launch within the next few months, rolling out further in October and November.
Vegan meat, cheese, and poultry
The food giant revealed in February that it was investing resources in developing ‘great tasting protein alternatives that are more accessible for everyone’, with Noel White adding that the plant-based food sector is ‘growing rapidly’ compared to meat and poultry – and vegan products are consumed by a range of people, not just vegans.
“It’s not either, it’s and. Flexitarian right? That’s where the growth is at,”White said. “There’s a growing number of people that want to eat a product that they view as being healthier for them and it may be non-animal protein, it may be a blended protein.
“We have teams of people committed to bringing these products to market quickly. It’s an area that we are investing in sizably and we will be in market this calendar year – and maybe sooner than you think.”?
Former Tyson CEO Tom Haynes speaking about plant-based protein in 2017
The launch isn’t Tyson’s first foray into the meatless sector; last year it announced the launch of its range of plant-based grab-and go bowls under the ‘Green Street’ banner.
“Tyson Foods is transforming from a company with a strong heritage in chicken to a modern food company that is challenging the industry status quo,” said Tom Hayes, who preceded, Noel White as the company’s CEO.
“Consumers expect more from food companies today, and we’re up for the challenge. We’re combining our size and scale with agility to make food people want to eat. That’s driving our business and helping us deliver top-tier returns for shareholders.”
Investing in alternative protein
Hayes spoke about the emergence of alternative protein multiple times in 2017, in various media appearances and interviews, saying that they are becoming increasingly popular.
Speaking about Tyson’s investment in Beyond Meat, he said: “One of the things we believe is that protein is going to continue being in demand. And we don’t just think of animal protein. 96 percent of consumers in the US eat animal protein, but any kind of protein.
“For us we want to be mindful of that – we are focused on the consumer – and so we have set up a team that focuses on new technology, new food type like Beyond Meat, or could be sustainability technologies, things that get food waste out of the system. So that’s been a big focus for us.”
Speaking about the scale of the meat-alternative market he said: “It’s small today – consumers are looking for alternatives – but it’s relatively small. Animal-based meat is still the most efficient way to deliver protein, plant-based is growing though, and there’s a lot of good work being done.”