Plant-Based Foods Dominated 2019, What Does the Future Hold?

plant-based foods

It’s no secret at this point that Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) had the best performing IPO of 2019. The plant-based foods company initially priced its shares at $25, and by the end of that first day was already trading 163 percent higher. BYND shares are now trading at $118.5, and its market cap is $7.1 billion.

The Market is Hungry for Plant-Based Foods

Beyond Meat is the great success story of 2019, but it didn’t achieve this milestone by itself. The market for plant-based foods is exploding as people all around the world begin to reconsider their diets. This year the US market grew 11.3%—five times as fast as total food sales. Since April 2017, total plant-based food sales have increased by 31%.

But that’s quickly becoming the past; what about the future? Well, Swiss investing firm UBS believes that the global market for plant-based foods could be worth $85 billion by 2030.

That’s more than a decade away. Which other companies will be vying for control by then, and how should investors play the field in the meantime? Let’s find out.

When Will Impossible Foods Go Public?

So far, Beyond Meat’s biggest competitor is Impossible Foods. Though CEO Patrick Brown has said there are currently no plans to take the company public, it has raised approximately $687.5 million in total funding.

$300 million of that came from a Series E funding round held in May. The round saw Temasek Holdings and Horizon Ventures—as well as a number of celebrities like Jay-Z, Serena Williams, Katy Perry, and Jaden Smith—invest in the plant-based foods producer.

The month before BYND went public, Impossible Burger was reportedly searched 400% more frequently on Google than “Beyond Burger.” Clearly, investors are just as interested, if not more interested, in Impossible as they are Beyond. So why not go public?

The most likely answer is that it simply doesn’t have to. Impossible Foods has plenty of ambitious goals, but its private investing rounds have been so successful that it can likely achieve its plan to expand its menu offerings and scale its operations without needing to appeal to the public market.

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So don’t expect the company to go public anytime soon. But there are other options for investors looking to enter this space.

Tyson Foods Enters the Alternative Protein Market

The world’s second-largest producer of beef, pork, and chicken, Tyson Foods, Inc. (NSYE:TSN), made big waves this June when it announced it was developing its own plant-based foods.

The new products will be part of the Raised & Rooted brand, which will include plant-based nuggets and “blended” burgers made with a combination of plants and some meat.

While Tyson Foods’ offerings aren’t as vegan-friendly as Beyond or Impossible Burgers, research shows that 19 out of 20 people who order plant-based foods or meatless meat products aren’t even vegetarians. So Tyson likely won’t miss out on too much of the market by offering a blended product.

What Else is in Store for Plant-Based Foods?

No less than the burger behemoth itself, McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) has announced it is exploring plant-based menu options. It will be testing the plant, lettuce, and tomato (PLT) burger for 12 weeks in Ontario restaurants between now and the end of the year. The PLT is provided by Beyond Meat, so if McDonald’s decides to make this a permanent menu item, it could mean big business for both companies.

Also expect Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods to continue jockeying for control of fast-food restaurants and grocery store aisles. And while a lot of the attention is currently focused on meatless burgers, there will likely be a lot more diversification in menu items within the next year.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © NatashaBreen

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