JBS Ceases US Plant-Based Meat Operations: What Does This Mean for the Industry?

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Plant-based meat alternatives have been gaining popularity in recent years, with major players like Cargill, Tyson, Smithfield, and Maple Leaf Foods entering the market. However, JBS USA has recently made the decision to discontinue its US-based plant-based business unit, Planterra Foods. This move comes as a surprise, considering the growing demand for plant-based options among consumers.

Plant-Based Options: A Promising Market

JBS, a Brazilian company that acquired the plant-based meat company Vivera last year, expressed its belief in the potential of plant-based options for consumers. However, the decision to close the Planterra Foods unit implies a shift in focus to its plant-based operations in Brazil and Europe. JBS aims to strengthen its market share and expand its customer base in these regions.

A Standalone Venture

What made Planterra Foods unique was its status as a standalone operation, run independently of JBS by Darcey Macken. This strategic decision allowed the brand to have autonomy while benefiting from JBS’s support in areas such as shared services and procurement. By operating at arm’s length, Planterra Foods could establish itself as a distinct player in the plant-based meat category.

Standing Out in a Crowded Market

Planterra Foods faced the challenge of differentiating itself in a crowded market filled with an abundance of plant-based options. The brand attempted to set itself apart by offering soy-free products made with textured pea protein and MycoTechnology’s pea and rice protein fermented by Shiitake mycelia. These products boasted lower saturated fat and fewer calories than competitors’ offerings.

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Slowing Sales in the Plant-Based Meat Segment

Sales of plant-based meat alternatives have experienced a decline in recent months, particularly in the refrigerated segment where Planterra Foods’ OZO brand made its debut. Fresh plant-based meat products have not proven as profitable as conventional meat for retailers, despite consumer interest in healthier options. The challenge lies in finding the right solutions for shoppers that prioritize taste, convenience, and health.

Future Outlook for the Meat Alternatives Market

The decision by JBS to withdraw from the US plant-based meat market, alongside Maple Leaf Foods’ reallocation of resources from its plant-based meat business, has raised questions about the future of the industry. While some believe that the category is reaching its peak, others argue that the recent slowdown is due to temporary factors such as inflation and supply chain challenges. Industry stakeholders are confident that the market will continue to grow steadily in the long term, albeit at a slower pace, fueled by ongoing product innovation.

While JBS’s decision to exit the US plant-based meat market may be disappointing for some, it does not diminish the overall potential of plant-based options. The industry is set to evolve and adapt to changing consumer preferences, continuing to offer healthier and more sustainable alternatives to conventional meat.

For more information on meat alternatives and the future of the food system, don’t miss our upcoming virtual summit, “Futureproofing the Food System,” taking place from November 15-17. The event will feature industry experts discussing various topics, including the future of meat in the global market.

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To stay updated on the latest developments in agriculture and food production, visit Ames Farm Center.

Source: Original Article