Soy and wheat have long been the foundation of many plant-based meats, but the humble pea is now competing for the spotlight, thanks to companies like Beyond Meat
and Impossible Foods
, which use peas as a key ingredient.
The trend is expected to increase, as more companies, investors, and influential people enter the plant-based market. In 2017 Oscar-winner James Cameron
and his family founded Saskatchewan-based company Verdient Foods
, “created to address the current and future global sustainable plant-based protein food demand.” And France-based nutrition company Roquette
is building a huge pea-protein plant in Canada that is set to open next year
North American farmers are now hurrying to plant more peas, with growers in the United States and Canada expected to plant 20 percent more field peas
this year, according to government data. Farmers are cutting principal crops like corn, soy, and wheat by about 3 percent, which makes the increase in peas even more impressive.
While many stakeholders in the agriculture industry may have mixed feelings about the rise of plant-based eating, they can’t deny it. Even U.S. agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue admitted the Impossible Burger tasted “very good”
when he visited Impossible Foods’ headquarters. Some people in the industry, like Montana farmer Paul Kanning, are ready to embrace the change:
I’m excited about things like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger that are putting pea protein in their burgers. It’s awesome. The demand is going to do nothing but increase, I believe, and you will see production increase in various areas of the U.S.
He’s not wrong. According to a new report from the global consultancy A.T. Kearney
, 20 or so years from now, most meat will not be from slaughtered animals. Instead, the report predicts that 60 percent of people will likely be chomping down on plant-based or cell-based meat.