While the company’s plant-based nuggets present a direct challenge to companies like Beyond Meat, Tyson Foods is playing a different game by introducing consumers to foods that are blended with meat and protein replacements.
So it’s not exactly a direct competitor to Beyond Meat, a former Tyson Foods venture portfolio investment, or Impossible Foods, which are the two current leaders in the growing alterna-beef category.
Rather, it seems to be an attempt to up-sell customers on products with less beef for potentially more money. Tyson did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.
For Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods, making alternative proteins is less of an optional strategy and more of a necessary response to what could be an existential threat to the traditional meat market in the U.S. and around the world.
By 2040, traditional meat consumption could fall by 33%, according to a recent analysis by the consulting firm AT Kearny.
“All in all, cultured meat and new meat replacement products are going to disrupt the $1,000 billion conventional meat industry with all its supplier companies,” the study’s authors write. “This disruption is supported by a general shift toward consumption of non-meat proteins (for example, legumes and nuts) as a consequence of new lifestyle trends, all aimed at a more sustainable and healthier diet, as well as regulatory measures against conventional meat.”
Tyson has launched its new brand with just these pressures in mind. The company is the first large meat producer to confront the changes that are coming to the market at anything approaching the scale of the challenge.
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