The past few years have seen plant-based meat and dairy alternatives go from a niche product to a mainstream trend, and finally to a mainstay in the food industry. Now that the average consumer has had the opportunity to try plant-based alternatives, the market has spoken and plant-based foods are taking a much larger role in the food industry in 2021.
Plant-based offerings are being added to the lineups of the world's largest food producers, multinational restaurants and cafes, and to important segments like the infant nutrition space. It's clear that the largest players in the food industry like Tyson Foods, PepsiCo, Starbucks Corporation, and Yum! Brands, along with innovative plant-based foods companies like Else Nutrition see plant-based alternatives as something that is not going away and even as the future of the industry.
Else Nutrition Partners With Major US Retailers
The emergence of plant-based food has given rise to a number of innovative companies. Among them is Israel-based food and nutrition company Else Nutrition. Else has carved out its place in the plant-based market by focusing first on infant and children's nutrition, including a 100% plant-based, non-soy, and GMO-free infant nutrition formula that meets the highest standard for nutrition and industry standards to be considered a clean label product. In recent months, the company has been expanding its US retail footprint through partnerships with major North American retailers.
On February 8, Else's products hit shelves at 350 locations of US nationwide health food retailer Sprouts Farmers Market. Sprouts will soon be joined by additional other US retail chains served by KeHE Distributors. The company also successfully launched its product online last year with its initial launch on Amazon and the company's own e-store. Else was listed in Q4 2020 as Amazon's best seller new brand in the baby formula category. Else expanded its online retail presence in early January with the announcement that its products would be available on PlantX's fully plant-based e-commerce platform, and again in early February with the launch of Else products on health and wellness-focused e-commerce platform Thrive Market.
"Today marks a major milestone for Else," Else Nutrition CEO and Co-Founder Hamutal Yitzhak said of the Sprouts Farmers market launch in the company's February 8 release. "Having our product available on shelves at this national retailer is a key step in our mission of bringing whole, clean, sustainable nutrition alternatives for children everywhere."
On February 4, Else announced its latest all plant-based product. Continuing the company's focus so far on infant and child nutrition, Else is launching a new Plant-Powered Complete Nutrition for Kids products after completing a successful trial run. The latest addition to Else's lineup is a clean label, organic, plant-based nutrition shake packed with the protein, carbs, healthy fats, and 20 essential nutrients with 50% less sugar than leading brands.
Global Food Giants Step Further into Plant-Based Space
PepsiCo announced in late January that the company is forming a joint venture with Beyond Meat to develop plant-based drinks and snacks. The venture will give Pepsi access to the leading plant-based meat brand in the world, while Beyond gets access to Pepsi's distribution and production infrastructure. More information on what kinds of snack products the two companies will create together is forthcoming.
In November, meat industry giant Tyson Foods announced that the company would step further into the plant-based space by retooling its Raised and Rooted brand of plant-based and hybrid foods. The company plans to eliminate its hybrid offerings that combined meat-based and plant-based proteins and focus the Raised and Rooted brand on fully plant-based meat alternatives instead.
Starbucks Corporation is also expanding its plant-based offerings. In January, the company introduced its Original Nut Blend non-dairy milk alternative in the European markets. In addition, the company will be adding a range of plant-based food options, including breakfast sandwiches made with Beyond Meat's plant-based sausage.
Yum! Brands has moved further into the plant-based space as well. The company has already added plant-based options to Pizza Hut menus and in January announced the test launch of Taco Bell's first plant-based menu item in partnership with Beyond Meat.
The growing interest in and adoption of plant-based foods from major retailers, restaurant brands, and food producers is a clear indication that the plant-based market segment is here to stay. Meanwhile, plant-based food companies like Else Nutrition are advancing the future of the industry.