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Cargill CEO: “The vegetable protein industry will eat up consumer demand for meat”

The vegetable protein industry will erode consumer demand for meat as the fast-growing sector expands, Cargill CEO David MacLennan said recently. “Our analysis is that herbal products will account for maybe 10 percent of the market in … three to four years. We’re a big beef producer and that’s a big part of our portfolio. So there will be some cannibalization, ”MacLennan said at a National Grain and Feed Association convention.

Meat giant Cargill – one of the largest meat producers in the world – has already made its own investments in plant-based proteins in Asia and North America and has stated that its vegan meat products will challenge brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods for sale in grocery stores, canteens and restaurants. Cargill is also diving into the herbal ingredients sector by manufacturing food ingredients as a supplier to other brands. In a partnership with PURIS Foods, Cargill has become the largest North American manufacturer of pea protein and supplies the ingredient to brands such as Beyond Meat. Last year, Cargill also launched its first plant-based protein brand, PlantEver, in China, which includes vegan chicken nuggets and burger patties. The move came after the company successfully tested its plant-based nuggets at three KFC fast food chain locations in China – which sold out within an hour of their launch. Last year, the meat giant also launched a range of plant-based products, jointly branded with Japanese chain Lawson, that include vegan scallops and chicken tenders, including products like vegan scallops and chicken tenders.

Meat producers are joining the plant-based space

Other large meat producers such as Tyson are entering the vegetable meat sector with their own offerings. Earlier this year, Tyson Foods launched its first fully plant-based burgers, sausages and bottoms under its Raised & Rooted line at retailers across the country. Although the Raised & Rooted line was originally developed to capitalize on the growing trend towards plant-based meats by mixing plant-based meats with animal-based ingredients such as protein and beef, the use of animal-based ingredients posed a problem as they were called “plant-based” -based. “Last year, Tyson committed to removing animal products from its Raised & Rooted brand and discontinued The Blend Burger Patties to bring its new fully vegan, plant-based burgers to market.


“One recent and notable change we’re making is the formula for Raised & Rooted Nugget to eliminate protein,” said David Ervin, vice president of Alternative Protein at Tyson. “In the future, Raised & Rooted products will not contain animal products.” The new all-vegetable nuggets are available this month at retailers such as Walmart, Kroger, Target, Safeway and Costco.

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