SMITHFIELD, VA. — The world’s largest pork processor is debuting a portfolio of plant-based alternatives to appeal to a growing base of shoppers seeking to reduce meat consumption.
Smithfield Foods’ new Pure Farmland brand features soy-based breakfast patties, meatballs, burgers and pre-seasoned protein starters. The products will be available in the fresh, refrigerated sections of grocery stores nationwide beginning in mid-September.
“We’ve been exploring the alternative protein space and have taken our time to get it right,” said John Pauley, chief commercial officer for Smithfield Foods, Inc. “With this launch, we are bringing together our expertise in creating market-leading food products, our organizational commitment to sustainability and our deep understanding of ‘flexitarian’ consumers to deliver a broad variety of flavorful plant-based protein choices that consumers want and can afford at a great value.”
Increasingly, meat companies are carving a niche in the burgeoning market for plant-based alternatives. Tyson Foods, Inc., Springdale, Ark., recently announced the introduction of Raised & Rooted, a brand of alternative proteins that incorporates pea protein in various forms. Canadian packaged meats processor Maple Leaf Foods, Inc., Toronto, is making aggressive moves to capitalize on the trend through acquisitions and significant capital investment. Perdue Farms, Salisbury, Md., is introducing chicken nuggets, tenders and patties blended with vegetables such as cauliflower, chickpeas and plant protein.
Plant-based foods sales significantly outpaced overall grocery sales last year, according to data issued by The Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association. Retail sales of plant-based foods in the U.S. grew 11% — five times more than total food sales — bringing the total plant-based market to $4.5 billion. The plant-based meat category grew by 10% and is now worth more than $800 million, according to the report. Plant-based meats accounted for 2% of retail packaged meat sales, with refrigerated plant-based meat growing 37%, the report said. Sales in the conventional meat category, in contrast, grew by 2%.