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Big Ag wants a cut of booming fake-meat market

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SEPTEMBER 9, 2019 / 5:23 AM / UPDATED 3 HOURS AGO

Big Ag wants a cut of booming fake-meat market

7 MIN READ

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba/CHICAGO (Reuters) -

 

Bunge Ltd, one the world’s biggest grain traders, recently disclosed the 1.6% stake it had purchased in the fast-growing fake-meat startup Beyond Meat.

 

The play looked smart after the stock surged more than 250% since the faux burger and sausage maker’s initial public offering in May. Indeed, Beyond Meat’s (BYND.O) market capitalization of $9.9 billion is now larger than Bunge’s (BG.N), a 201-year-old firm with 31,000 employees.

No wonder many top agricultural firms want to grab their cut of the booming market for plant-based fake meat. Bunge’s investment is just one example of how grain traders and seed companies are trying to capitalize on a market that now accounts for 5% of U.S. meat purchases - a share expected to triple over a decade, according to investment management firm Bernstein.

 

That growth would mirror the fast ramp-up of milk substitutes made from crops such as almonds.“I definitely think this is going to continue to drive demand,” said Vince Macciocchi, president of the nutrition group at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM.N), one of Bunge’s chief rivals

 

 

ADM and privately-held grain trader Cargill are selling processed peas and soy proteins to consumer food companies and restaurants that use them to make vegetable burgers, sausages, fish substitutes and other faux-meat products. They are also getting into the business through acquisitions and corporate partnerships or by leveraging their labs and research capabilities to help make new plant-based products for clients including food and beverage makers.

 

Seed company Corteva (CTVA.N) - which spun off in June after a merger of Dow Chemical and Dupont (DD.N) - is studying potential vegetable seed offerings.

 

Grain traders and seed-makers are following the lead of Beyond Meat and another startup, Impossible Foods, along with traditional meat producers such as Tyson Foods (TSN.N) and Maple Leaf Foods (MFI.TO) that have cashed in on plant-based meat substitutes. Demand for meat alternatives has soared as consumers add plant-based protein to their diets for health reasons and out of concern for animal welfare and environmental damage from livestock farming.Tofu, made from soybean milk, is the best known meat alternative and has been around for decades. But in recent years, other crops such as black beans, peas, lentils, canola, beets and sunflower have become popular in products made to taste like or replace meat.

 

SURGING DEMAND

ADM this year created a new position - director of “flexitarian” solutions - to focus on developing products for food companies who are targeting the market for a mostly plant-based diet, Macciocchi said. The company is also considering repurposing an animal-feed plant in Rotterdam to produce human-grade soy products, he said. ADM has expanded its plant-protein team of scientists and marketers in the past three years even as it aims to cut its overall workforce.

 

“We’ve dedicated a significant amount of our team - the technical side of our team, as well as the commercial side of our team - to plant-based proteins,” Macciocchi said.Cargill [CARG.UL] in August announced an additional $75 million investment in North American pea-protein producer Puris - which supplies Beyond Meat. That triples its original $25 million investment in January 2018

 

Cargill’s customers have been clamoring for pea or soy protein products, including alternative meats, said Laurie Koenig, who leads a Cargill unit developing such items.

 

“We’ve never seen this kind of pull before from the market,” Koenig said.

Like ADM and Cargill, Bunge is now looking to supply ingredients to startups and large companies involved in the imitation-meat trend, Bunge CEO Greg Heckman said in an interview.

 

“There’s just so many ways that it is touching our business,” he sa

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Big Ag is here to stay.  So, IMO, it does far more good than harm for Big Ag to get into the plant-based meat substitute business.  Big Ag has resources to advertise and market their meat substitutes that the little guys can only dream of, at this stage.

 

If Big Ag can help shrink the livestock industry by getting into the meat substitute business, it's a plus for the environment and humanity.

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1 hour ago, bludog said:

If Big Ag can help shrink the livestock industry by getting into the meat substitute business, it's a plus for the environment and humanity.

 

I agree.

Nothing big will get done without big players. If you want to have meat consumption reduced significantly, the only way is for Big Ag to get involved.

 

I wish they'd do it without pesticides or find a way to remove all the pesticides from the finished product.  I don't want to "Roundup" my liver.

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On 9/9/2019 at 10:10 AM, LoreD said:

The company is also considering repurposing an animal-feed plant in Rotterdam to produce human-grade soy products, he said. ADM has expanded its plant-protein team of scientists and marketers in the past three years even as it aims to cut its overall workforce.

 

I agree, too.  If they can start repurposing all of the animal farms and processing plants to plant based foods; I think we will have a win.

 

There is a program in California to teach Dairy farmers how to transition to plant based options.  One former dairy farm was growing expensive mushrooms for expensive restaurants.

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1 hour ago, LoreD said:

all of the animal farms and processing plants

 

That, "all", won't happen. "Some" would be good. "Many" would be great!

 

Culture can be changed, but only over three to four generations. And you have to keep up the pressure in each generation.

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6 hours ago, laripu said:

I wish they'd do it without pesticides or find a way to remove all the pesticides from the finished product.  I don't want to "Roundup" my liver.

 

Pick your poison !  Various livestock meats contain different types of hormones and antibiotics.  But, being higher on the food chain, livestock also contain pesticides accumulated  from a lifetime of eating the plant matter grown to feed them. 

 

https://www.organicconsumers.org/scientific/growth-hormones-fed-beef-cattle-damage-human-health

Quote

Almost all beef cattle entering feedlots in the United States are given hormone implants to promote faster growth. The first product used for this purpose ­ DES (diethylstilbestrol) ­ was approved for use in beef cattle in 1954. An estimated two-thirds of the nation's beef cattle were treated with DES in 1956 (Marcus, 1994, cited in Swan et al., 2007)

Today, there are six anabolic steroids given, in various combinations, to nearly all animals entering conventional beef feedlots in the U.S. and Canada:

 

                                                                   

                                                                               

                                                   ANTIBIOTICS

 

Image of chart 2

 

As meat substitutes get increasingly popular, more expensive, organic versions will probably become available.

 
Quote

 

                                                                                             What is organic?
Foods featuring the USDA organic seal are grown and processed following a set of regulations, which include using only approved pest-control methods, such as eggshells or crop rotation, to act as natural deterrents. Synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, and artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors are not allowed. Certified farms are regularly inspected for compliance.
                                                                                        United States Department of Agriculture

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Eating produce or crop-derived foods, including plant based meat substitutes exposes one to far less pesticide hazard than eating genuine meat from slaughtered livestock.

 

https://www.peta.org/living/food/meat-contamination/

Quote

 Although humans do ingest some herbicides and pesticides from plant foods, scientists report that animal products are responsible for roughly 80 to 90 percent of dietary pesticide exposure. Pesticides are sprayed on crops that are eventually fed to farmed animals, and like dioxins, pesticides accumulate in their bodies over time. When we eat the flesh, milk, or eggs of animals, the pesticides that they have eaten during their lives are transferred to us.

 

 

 

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On 9/10/2019 at 12:10 PM, bludog said:

Big Ag is here to stay.  So, IMO, it does far more good than harm for Big Ag to get into the plant-based meat substitute business.  Big Ag has resources to advertise and market their meat substitutes that the little guys can only dream of, at this stage.

 

If Big Ag can help shrink the livestock industry by getting into the meat substitute business, it's a plus for the environment and humanity.

only issue is what they choose to make the fake meat with. Big Ag has a big issue regarding the environment with mono crops and the destruction of the soils. The problem with Big Ag, is they mass produce with one big thing in mind - profit. 

So you say, well it's better than raising cattle and I would agree somewhat. It's kind of along the lines of fracking for natural gas. NG is better than oil because it doesn't release as much carbon into the atmosphere. But... and this is an important thing to consider, But: while we are soon coming to a point in the cross road to becoming carbon neutral, we really do need to think about the whole enchilada. NG is not great or not even good in the long run.

I do know corn is easy... they like to make a lot of corn and a lot of soy. 

We have the technology already to make a lot of corn and a lot of soy which is already destroying our soil and robbing the biodiversity of top soils in farmlands everywhere.

 

Greatly reducing livestock to feed the world - good. Mass production of mono crops, bad.

Biodiversity farming along with a huge reduction in food waste = where we want to go.

 

Peace!

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On 9/14/2019 at 6:52 PM, TheOldBarn said:

Big Ag has a big issue regarding the environment with mono crops and the destruction of the soils. The problem with Big Ag, is they mass produce with one big thing in mind - profit. 

 

Such is the bottom line, in our capitalist system that every enterprise out there has to pay attention to profit first.  Impossible Foods, no less than Dupont.  Of course rare leaders exist in some businesses who are more ethical ...  But still not free of the tyranny of profit.  And there's zero evidence that Beyond Meat, for instance is any more responsible than Monsanto.

 

On 9/14/2019 at 6:52 PM, TheOldBarn said:

only issue is what they choose to make the fake meat with.

 

Even now, companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible foods buy their produce from Big Ag.  And there are really no other crops to make imitation burgers with but beans and legumes as the main ingredients.

 

On 9/14/2019 at 6:52 PM, TheOldBarn said:

So you say, well it's better than raising cattle and I would agree somewhat. It's kind of along the lines of fracking for natural gas. NG is better than oil because it doesn't release as much carbon into the atmosphere. But... and this is an important thing to consider, But: while we are soon coming to a point in the cross road to becoming carbon neutral, we really do need to think about the whole enchilada. NG is not great or not even good in the long run.

 

One step at a time.  In this case, a giant step.

 

Quote

< snip >

A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions.

< snip >

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth

 

The benefits of drilling for natural gas don't even come close to a widespread avoidance of meat from live animals.   A steep reduction of the livestock industry, accompanied by an expansion of produce farming is the only way to feed the 9 billion, at which population is expected to peak, around 2100.  Without it, there will be mass starvation.

 

And as you said yourself:

On 9/14/2019 at 5:35 PM, TheOldBarn said:

I tried one and it brought back a lot of memories because it's been a decade or more since I went Vegetarian. I thought it tasted exactly like a whopper, even the charbroil part. 

IN addition to saving resource regarding food production you also need to look at the great savings of fresh water which is huge today and especially in years to come.  And again, back to nutrition, if more people choose the Impossible Whopper Choice, perhaps eventually they'll also to love more nutritional veggie burgers which can come with all kinds of even better taste . Sometimes tasting different than real meat can be even better.

 

 

On 9/14/2019 at 6:52 PM, TheOldBarn said:

Greatly reducing livestock to feed the world - good. Mass production of mono crops, bad.

Biodiversity farming along with a huge reduction in food waste = where we want to go.

 

Absolutely true.  And important to work on.  Government regulation is needed to make sure Big Ag doesn't cut too many corners and does the right thing.

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On 9/15/2019 at 9:42 AM, bludog said:

 

Such is the bottom line, in our capitalist system that every enterprise out there has to pay attention to profit first.  Impossible Foods, no less than Dupont.  Of course rare leaders exist in some businesses who are more ethical ...  But still not free of the tyranny of profit.  And there's zero evidence that Beyond Meat, for instance is any more responsible than Monsanto.

 

 

Even now, companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible foods buy their produce from Big Ag.  And there are really no other crops to make imitation burgers with but beans and legumes as the main ingredients.

 

 

One step at a time.  In this case, a giant step.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth

 

The benefits of drilling for natural gas don't even come close to a widespread avoidance of meat from live animals.   A steep reduction of the livestock industry, accompanied by an expansion of produce farming is the only way to feed the 9 billion, at which population is expected to peak, around 2100.  Without it, there will be mass starvation.

 

And as you said yourself:

 

 

 

Absolutely true.  And important to work on.  Government regulation is needed to make sure Big Ag doesn't cut too many corners and does the right thing.

absolutely true, we would someday all love to be

 

 

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