Plant-based meat alternatives crowd U.S. grocery stores

 21.08.2019 12:27:11

(Reuters) - Plant-based meat alternatives have seen booming interest from consumers, prompting a growing number of companies to enter the space in hopes of carving out a spot for their products in the competitive supermarket aisle.

FILE PHOTO: A Beyond Meat burger is seen on display at a store in Port Washington, New York, U.S., June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo
Consumers increasingly want to reduce their meat consumption amid growing concerns over health risks, animal welfare and environmental hazards.

Spurred by the success of California-based Beyond Meat Inc (BYND.O), veteran meat companies have also entered the market.

Shoppers at U.S. grocery stores have many plant-based options, with several companies planning to roll out meat alternatives by the end of this year.

Here is a list of plant-based products available in U.S. grocery stores:

- Beyond Meat: burgers, sausages, ground meat and crumbles made of protein from peas, brown rice, sunflower seeds and mung beans are available at more than 53,000 retailers and restaurants worldwide. In the United States, the company's products are sold at most large chains, including Amazon's (AMZN.O) Whole Foods, Kroger Co (KR.N) and Albertsons Companies Inc ABS.N.

- Impossible Foods: a "bleeding" burger made from soy protein, the patty was originally sold only to fast-food chains, including Burger King (QSR.TO), which begins selling the "Impossible Whopper" nationwide this month. The company on July 31 received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell its burger in grocery stores. Impossible said it plans to sell in select supermarkets in September, but declined to provide details on its retail launch.

- Nestle SA (NESN.S): The world's largest packaged food group seeks to sell a pea-based veggie patty called Awesome Burger under its U.S. plant-based Sweet Earth brand in supermarkets and restaurants in September or October. The company is already selling the Awesome Burger at McDonald's (MCD.N) restaurants in Germany.

- Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N): The U.S. meat producer in June launched its first vegetarian and mixed protein line, including vegetarian nuggets, blended protein burgers made from beef and pea protein, and sausages and meatballs that combine chicken with plants. The nuggets entered U.S. grocery stores in the summer, with burgers expected in the fall.

- Maple Leaf Foods Inc (MFI.TO): The Canadian packaged meat producer's subsidiary Greenleaf Foods produces plant-based burgers and ground meat under its Lightlife brand. It also owns the Field Roast brand that makes plant-based sausages, burgers, deli slices, meat loafs and roasts. The products are available at thousands of U.S. stores, including Whole Foods, Albertsons and Wegmans.

- Perdue Foods: The chicken producer, part of family-owned Perdue Farms, has launched frozen chicken nuggets mixed with cauliflower, chickpeas and other plant protein, with more blended and potentially fully plant-based products in the pipeline. Perdue's plant-blended line will be available at retailers by September.

- Smithfield Foods Inc: The meat-processing company owned by China's WH Group Ltd (0288.HK) has launched a line of plant-based burgers, meat balls, sausages and ground meat made of soy. The products will be available at Kroger Co, Sprouts Farmers Market Inc (SFM.O) and Target Corp (TGT.N) starting in mid-September.


- The Meatless Farm Co: The Britain-based meat alternatives company has launched burgers and ground meat made of pea, rice and soy protein in an exclusive deal with Whole Foods in the United States, with sausages following in 2020. Meatless Farm's chief executive, Robert Woodall, told Reuters the company looks to manufacture in the United States and plans to launch at other retailers next year.

- Jensen Meat Co: The San Diego-based ground beef company acquired meat alternatives maker Before the Butcher in June. Producing soy-based sausages, crumbles and chicken, turkey and beef burgers, Before the Butcher's products are currently only available in restaurants, stadiums and universities. The company plans to launch at more than 3,000 retail locations by the end of this year.

Reporting by Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler