Tyson Foods, the largest meat producer in the U.S., is developing vegan protein products that could be on shelves as early as this year.
On the company’s first-quarter earnings call last Thursday, Noel White, the company’s president and chief executive, said Tyson is using all its resources to make “great tasting protein alternatives that are more accessible to everyone.”
In an interview after the call White stated:
That’s where the growth is at. There’s a growing number of people that want to eat a product that they view as being healthier for them and it may be non-animal protein, it may be a blended protein. … We have teams of people committed to bringing these products to market quickly. It’s an area that we are investing in sizably and we will be in market this calendar year—and maybe sooner than you think.
In the coming weeks, White plans to announce which type of plant-based protein the company has been working on.
Tyson has a history of investing in vegan protein products. The company invested in Beyond Meat, a vegan protein company that recently sold more than 25 million vegan burgers, and clean meat company Memphis Meats, known for creating real beef burgers without cows and the world’s first chicken and duck meat made without animal slaughter.
Former CEO of Tyson Tom Hayes told Fox Business in 2017:
Plant-based protein is growing almost, at this point, a little faster than animal-based, so I think the migration may continue in that direction.
As veganism gains popularity, the meat industry is seeing the writing on the wall: Their days are numbered. They can either join the vegan movement now or be out of business later.
And boy, are they joining the vegan movement. Major Canadian meat company Maple Leaf Foods acquired U.S.-based vegan protein producer Lightlife Foods in 2017 and launched an independent subsidiary called Greenleaf Foods that is 100 percent plant-based. Applegate Farms, a subsidiary of meat giant Hormel Foods, aims to invest in the $3.7 billion plant-based market.
The meat industry can no longer ignore the wave of people dropping animal products in favor of a nutritious, sustainable, and compassionate vegan lifestyle. According to GlobalData, there were six times as many vegans in America in 2017 as in 2014, and Allied Market Research predicts that the meat substitute market will grow 8.4 percent from 2015, potentially reaching $5.2 billion globally by 2020.
This is great news for the countless animals who suffer horribly at factory farms. Despite being just as smart and sensitive as the dogs and cats we adore at home, cows, pigs, and chickens raised and killed for food are subjected to nightmarish abuses: excruciating mutilations, violent deaths, and nearly a lifetime of extreme confinement.