In another sign that the food industry is shifting irretrievably towards plant-based foods, the world’s larger producer of pork products yesterday signalled its entry into the burgeoning sector. Smithfield Foods, a subsidiary of China’s WH Group, announced the launch of Pure Farmland, a meat-free range. What’s more, the range is being combined with plant-based dairy products as well.
The Virginia based food giant’s meat-free range includes soy-based burgers, meatballs, breakfast patties, sausages and ground meat. The products are designed to mimic the “bleeding” sensation that has been developed by the new kids on the block, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.
Plant-based dairy combined with meat
Vegan cheese is part of the offering. One product is a burger with dairy-free cheddar, and there are also meatballs with dairy-free parmesan.
The products will be available from mid-September at Kroger, Sprouts Farmers Market and Target Corp.
Smithfield’s Chief Commercial Officer, John Pauley confirmed in an interview the aim to ensure that the brand will be available in over 5,000 retail stores.
“We’ve been exploring the alternative protein space, and have taken our time to get it right,” said Pauley. “With this launch, we are bringing together our expertise in creating market-leading food products, our organizational commitment to sustainability, and our deep understanding of ‘flexitarian’ consumers, to deliver a broad variety of flavorful plant-based protein choices that consumers want and can afford at a great value.”
The company also has a partnership with the American Farmland Trust. With each package, the brand is agreeing to donate towards the cost of protecting one square foot of farmland. “These donations will help the American Farmland Trust continue to further its mission of not only protecting the nation’s farm and ranch land but also promoting sound farming practices and supporting farmers.”
Other leading meat producers such as Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms have also launched into the plant-based meat market following the change in consumer habits as the vegan trend continues apace. Growing awareness of the health, animal and environmental consequences of traditional farming is driving these changes in the board room.
With the vegan meat market set to be valued at around $85 billion by 2030, Smithfield has an advantage in this market place by virtue of its existing production and supply chain infrastructure, as well as distribution and marketing abilities. “We’re not the new guy,” says Pauley, “we’ve been around for a long time”.