May 13, 2019


Tyson to start selling plant-based meat alternatives


Tyson Foods, a major producer of poultry, beef and pork, has jumped on the bandwagon for plant-based protein - meat-like food created from plant sources - CNN reported in early May.

According to the company's CEO and president Noel White, the product will first enter the market "on a fairly limited basis." During an analyst call discussing Tyson's second-quarter earnings, White said that Tyson could launch its meat substitute "on a much larger scale" this fall.

Commercial meat analogues - or simply known as plant-based 'fake meat' - is starting to gain attention as consumers want a healthier food alternative which could also reduce environmental impact caused by conventional livestock production.

By 2023, the US meat-substitute retail market could reach US$2.5 billion, according to the research firm Euromonitor International.

In 2016, Tyson took a 5% stake in Beyond Meat, which sells plant-based alternatives to meat. Tyson upped that stake in 2017, before recently exiting the deal. Beyond Meat did not want a competitor as an investor, according to Axios.

In addition, Tyson is planning to start selling a plant-baesd protein this summer.

"Tyson Ventures is pleased with the investment in Beyond Meat and has decided the time was right to exit its investment," the company said in a statement. "Beyond Meat provided an early opportunity for Tyson Ventures to invest in plant-based protein products that many consumers are seeking."

Tyson continues to maintain a minority stake in Memphis Meats, which uses cells - rather than animals - to make meat.

Last year, Tom Hayes, then the CEO and president of Tyson Foods, described Tyson's protein strategy as comprehensive.

He saw the company's move towards meat alternatives as part of "a combination of innovative and traditional approaches" to feed protein to a growing population in a sustainable way.