Globally there is a growing interest in plant-based protein, particularly in economically advanced countries where there is a growing consumer awareness about plant-based ingredients and the interest thereof. Partly due to a marked shift in consumer preference and concerns about the negative externalities of animal husbandry on the environment as well as concerns about animal welfare. Leveraging this trend there has been a profusion of market players who have been able to strengthen their presence in the market by successfully mimicking the sensorial experience of eating meat. Additional reinforcements are being provided by social media marketing campaigns ultimately facilitating players to gain traction for their products.
Final Consumption Expenditure of Households – Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverage (Current Prices, Million Euro)
A glaring example is that of Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND), whose CEO Ethan Brown earlier in an interview had confirmed the use of pea protein due to its availability in significant quantity and consumer preferences of avoiding soy in their diet (not necessarily in that order), in May 2019, reportedly experienced its stock almost triple by 163% from its original IPO price and was reportedly the best since 2000 for a U.S. company with a minimum of $200 million in market cap. Additional developments, which reflects the degree of acknowledgment of pea protein, among others, and conformity to the prospects building upon the existing brand loyalty is the inhouse formulation of the Plantiful™, a plant-based burger which was introduced by Wendy's® during the first quarter of 2020. The Plantiful patty is reportedly made with pea-based protein. Thus, ushering in a new era in the food and beverage industry, the pea protein market is expected to augment the share of alternative protein in the next few years.
While consumers are gravitating on factors like superior nutritional benefits, the possibility to reduce consumption of meat, assist in weight management, factors like the employment of ecofriendly farming methods and low-price points are factors that are expected to drive the demand for pea protein. The yellow and green peas are also reported to offer meat like retexture enabling food processors to mimic the texture of meat. Further, the preference of pea proteins also stems from the fact that it has nitrogen fixation properties akin to other legumes, which minimizes the cost of fertilizers to a certain extent. Further, the new common agricultural policy (CAP) greening measures of the EU which had introduced the green direct payment scheme nitrogen-fixing crops (such as dry pulses) have also in part driven the cultivation of peas. Further, in November 2018, the EU adopted its report on the development of plant proteins in the European Union, wherein the growth potential for EU plant proteins in premium feed and food sectors, driven by consumer demand finds its mention. Such cognizance of the importance of plant protein is in part expected to lead to an unhindered upwards pea protein market trend during the next few years. Also, the innate characteristics of pea protein which encompasses all the essential amino acids enabling enhanced blood circulation, calcium absorption, stimulate metabolism, maintain muscle health, and regulate blood sugar levels are expected to reinforce the demand for the pea protein market.
Another aspect that doesn’t fall within the purview of human consumption yet is expected to drive the market for pea protein is the increasing need for humans to make that extra effort for their companion animals. The increasing realization of a variety of benefits that arise from the bond which develops between companion animals and human beings is partly responsible. Advantages like stress reduction and an enhanced degree of fitness leading to reduced triglyceride levels minimized blood pressure levels and diminished cholesterol levels, are the key aspects. Pet adoption also leads to increased frequency of outdoor activities that further leads to the increment of social capital. Thus, supported by the above pet parents today seek humanized feed offering for their pets as opposed to products with merely superior quality for their companion animals. This implies that pet food offerings should constitute ingredients that respond to the degree of wellbeing influencing consumer choice that is generally determinative of purchase decisions pertaining to products intended for human consumption.
Number of Pets in Europe, by Type of Animal
Also, the inclination of pet parents for products with better functionalities has transitioned the preference for a portion of healthy pet food than a portion of indulgent pet food. Hence such demand has raised the bar for pet food manufacturers who have started integrating naturally derived protein, like that of the pea protein in their pet food products. For instance, in April 2019, Ingredion Incorporated (NYSE: INGR), which is a globally renowned provider of ingredient solutions to diversified industries had announced the launch of VITESSENCE® Pulse 1550 pea protein concentrate, among others as an addition to growing pet food ingredients portfolio for the U.S. and Canada. Further with regards to the product, it was developed with the rationale to enables pet food companies to enhance the protein content of their products. It also facilitates the reformulation of current products, development of new products as well as the creation of protein combinations in addition to other protein sources thereby leading to pet food products with a more complete profile.
Certain market developments related to pea protein during the past few years which reaffirms the upward trajectory of the pea protein market are as follows:
May 2020 – Transitioning to Pea Protein
The Meatless Farm reportedly replaced soy ingredient with pea protein in its vegan burgers and sausages, as it acknowledges a meatier taste than its previous recipes. The sausages and burgers with new recipes were to be made commercially available to the consumers before it commenced its advertising campaign.
July 2020 – Fundraising
An organization called Verdino that offers a variety of pea-protein based products and that is based out of Romani had reportedly received funding worth 3 million euros Salconserv Food which is reportedly the first and only Romanian producer to offer a plant-based alternative to minced meat based on pea protein.
July 2020 – Investment
Laying the foundation for enabling pea-based dairy products to enter Asia, Hong Kong-based Multizen Holdings has invested in Ripple Foods, a Californian vegan pea-based dairy brand, which is known to produce plant-based frozen desserts, milk and yogurts which reportedly offers 8g of plant-based protein per serving. A protein blend called Ripptein that is extracted from peas which are isolated to leave out the pea-flavor is the sources of protein.