Tyson Joins the Alternative Protein Products Market

( Tyson Foods )

Tyson Foods, the nation’s biggest meat producer announced plans Thursday to debut its plant-based nuggets as part of a new brand, Raised & Rooted, that will sell plant-based and blended meat products.

The Raised & Rooted brand was created to provide great-tasting plant-based and blended foods that are rooted in how people eat today, Tyson said in a press release. The initial products under this new brand, which will launch with several major retail customers this year, include plant-based nuggets as well as blended burgers made with a combination of beef and plants. In addition, the company’s existing Aidells® brand has launched Aidells Whole Blends™ sausage and meatballs, made with chicken and plant-based ingredients.

Tyson executives have been hinting about this move into meat alternatives since February, but this is the first time the meatpacker is revealing its plans to compete with the likes of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

U.S. sales of meat substitutes are expected to jump 78% to $2.5 billion between 2018 and 2023, according to Euromonitor. Global sales could reach $23 billion in that same timeframe.
Tyson’s news is already creating a stir. Shares of Beyond Meat fell 4% in premarket trading Thursday after the announcement, while Tyson’s stock rose 3%. The maker of plant-based meats has a market value of $8.5 billion, roughly a third of Tyson’s market value, according to CNBC.

Some analysts believe Tyson could upend the alternative protein market because of its sheer size and distribution capacity. Tyson Foods reported $40 billion in sales in its 2018 fiscal year. Meanwhile, Beyond Meat forecasts $210 million in sales this year. Tyson has 50 facilities just for processing chicken; Impossible Foods has one factory in Silicon Valley, Fox News reported.

Tyson describes its products as "alternative proteins" and not "meat," a label used by some plant-based companies that has riled the meat industry. 

“We remain firmly committed to our growing traditional meat business and expect to be a market leader in alternative protein, which is experiencing double-digit growth and could someday be a billion-dollar business for our company,” Tyson CEO Noel White said in a statement.

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