TRALEE, IRELAND — Increased protein consumption overall and "snackification" driving consumers to look for new protein alternatives are some of the tailwinds for plant protein ingredient suppliers, said Edward Scanlon, chief executive officer of Tralee-based Kerry Group.
“Our research shows that there has been a 267% rise in high or added protein products in the last five years in Europe and North America,” he said Aug. 9 in an earnings call to discuss financial results for the first half of the year.
Mr. Scanlon listed several ways that Kerry may help companies take advantage of the interest in plant protein: its Cereshred meat alternatives capability, its ProDiem functional plant protein capability for bar applications and its ProDiem Refresh, a technology developed for beverage applications. Working with Kerry allows companies to produce a protein drink that is vegan, allergen-free, soy-free, non-bioengineered/non-G.M.O., dairy-free, collagen-free, gluten-free, kosher and halal, he said.
“Now if that’s not on trend, I don’t know what is,” Mr. Scanlon said.
Mr. Scanlon added the Kerry Group uses a “5R” approach in clean label: reduce, reposition, reinvent, remove and replace. He said clean label has different manifestations depending on the region or subregion.
The Kerry Group in the first half of the year reported adjusted earnings after taxation of €254.8 million ($290.7 million), or €1.28 ($1.46) per share on the common stock, which was up slightly from €253.6 million, or €1.28 per share, in the same period of the previous year. Kerry Group revenue of €3,225 million ($3,677.7 million) in the first half of the year, which was up 1.4% from €3,181.3 million, reflected 3.6% business volume growth.
Kerry’s Taste & Nutrition segment reported 4.1% volume growth. Trading profit of €338.9 million was up 2.5%, and total revenue of $2,579 million was up 1.4%.
Kerry’s Consumer Foods segment reported 1.3% volume growth. Operating profit slipped 7% to €47.8 million in the segment, and total revenues rose 1.2% to €685.4 million.
In its Americas Region, Kerry reported 2.8% volume growth. Performance in North America was driven by meat, snacks and beverage end-use markets (E.U.M.s). Reported revenue in the Americas region decreased by 2.4% to €1,307 million as translation currency headwinds more than offset volume growth and the contribution from business acquisitions.
In meat E.U.M., consumer demand was met through taste, natural shelf life preservation and a range of alternative protein-based products. In beverage E.U.M., natural extract capabilities drove growth, and Kerry made progress in its cold-brew technology. In snacks E.U.M., growth came through healthier snacks and indulgent world taste experiences.