Hormel announces meat substitute amidst food industry scrutiny

Food producer and distributor Hormel Foods has announced the creation and launch of its new Happy Little Plants brand. During a presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference, Hormel made the announcement that the company would begin to diversify its portfolio with plant-based proteins. The plant-based meat substitute will be made with non-GMO soy, designed to look and taste like authentic meat. Happy Little Plants is advertised as an alternative to ground meat, and can be cooked in the same way as ground beef or turkey, according to Hormel. The company’s vice president Jim Splinter has said “We are continuing to build an organisation that has the agility and adaptability to create products to align with today’s dynamic marketplace.”

The demand for meat substitutes has increased in recent years, as veganism and vegetarianism gain popularity. Barclays predicts the meat alternative industry to be valued at $140bn over the next decade. As health conscious and climate conscious consumers decrease their meat consumption, the industry is expected to see significant growth. This announcement follows a similar announcement from Kellogg who has added a meat substitute product called Incogmeato to its portfolio.

The Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index, reported on here, has analysed the animal protein industry, and found that 77 per cent of animal protein producers do not measure all of their GHG emissions and do not have meaningful plans to reduce them. Hormel has been named in the report as a food producer and supplier that does not measure all of its GHG emissions, despite public commitments to reduce these emissions, announced by the company in April. Hormel did however, invest in the construction of a new 74MW wind farm near Milligan Nebraska, which it claims will help the company achieve emissions reduction goals upon its scheduled completion in 2020. These factors have contributed to the company’s “medium risk” rating in the Index.

Despite concerns regarding climate responsibility, Hormel’s shares have increased following the announcement of Happy Little Plants, indicating consumer and shareholder confidence in the emerging meat substitute market.

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