Hormel Foods Corporation’s 199 Ventures which is the company’s venturing company, is entering the plant-based protein sphere by partnering with The Better Meat Co. Together, they will bring new mycoprotein and plant-based protein products to the market.
In 2019 Hormel Foods wanted to bring forward a food incubator where the company invests in others that align with Hormel Foods’ growth strategies, which was when 199 Ventures was born.
The Better Meat Co. has revolutionized the plant protein industry by introducing the Rhiza mycoprotein line, which the company claims is far better than the plant protein isolates used in most plant-based meats on the market today. The mycoprotein used in their products is made from Fusarium venentum, which is a naturally occurring fungus. Rhiza is a superfood with more protein than eggs, more fiber than oats, and more iron than pork. It also has zero cholesterol and is allergen-free.
Rhiza is produced using potatoes which go through a fermentation process. After a few hours, the harvested product is minimally processed to create the plant-based meats. Rhiza can be found in forms that include burgers, steaks, chicken alternatives and more.
“As a global branded food company, we understand our food culture is changing at a rapid pace, and people are curious and willing to try great tasting, plant-based proteins,” said Fred Halvin, vice president of corporate development at Hormel Foods, in a press release. “We are excited to work with The Better Meat Co. team to continue to offer delicious and convenient mycoprotein and plant-based protein products”
This isn’t the first time that a legacy food company has partnered with an alternative protein maker. Some of the more popular partnerships include PepsiCo and its collaboration with the famous meat alternative maker Beyond Meat. Another is Nestlé’s agreement with Future Meat Technologies, which are known for their cell-based meat.
Hormel Foods is known for producing many meat-based products, including bacon, pepperoni, deli meats, and more. So, moving towards including plant-based meats in their portfolio does not come as a surprise, mainly because most big food companies are also headed in that direction.
In 2019, Hormel introduced Happy Little Plants to the foodservice industry, through its subsidiary Burke Corporation. They provide plant-based meat and pizza toppings to consumers, giving them some vegan options to choose from when eating pizza.
The Better Meat Co. is the first outside partnership that Hormel has created in the alternative protein space because they’re known for their plant-based meat enhancement ingredients.
“We’re proud to partner with Hormel Foods to unleash the power of fermentation to build an even more sustainable food supply,” said Doni Curkendall, executive vice president of operations at The Better Meat Co., in the same press release. “Hormel Foods has a deep bench of expertise in both animal and plant proteins, and we look forward to working together to bring our delicious mycoprotein to the world.”
According to Markets and Markets, the plant-based meat market was estimated to be valued at $4.3 billion in 2020. It was expected to reach $8.3 billion this year, growing at a CAGR of 14 percent. The plant-based diet encourages the consumption of vegetables and fruits, which, in turn, accommodates a healthier lifestyle. Consuming more plant-based foods lowers the risk of conditions, such as heart disease and certain cancers. However, one of the issues in this industry is the high price point compared to traditional meat, which is likely to impact its growth.
The plant-based meat industry is growing at an unprecedented rate and the innovation within this category is limitless. Consumers are waiting to see what comes next and companies are searching for the biggest market disrupter.