GLOBAL March 2020
Cargill to join race in offering alternative meat to global market
US-based Cargill, one of the world's largest suppliers of agricultural commodities, is now joining the race to develop plant-based protein products in reaction to rising global concerns over recent disease outbreaks like the COVID19 coronavirus and African swine fever epidemic amongst others.
Cargill plans to roll out 4 new meatless burger products, made from soy or pea protein, for food and beverage outlets and retailers in the US with effect from April 2020 to kick start its global distribution plan.
Cargill plans to leverage its global supply chains as it attempts to gain market share in plant-based protein. Cargill has established sourcing and manufacturing strengths in the animal protein sector that can transfer well to plant-based protein.
Cargill will compete head-to-head with smaller US players like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods which had started their ventures earlier and already fast developing their markets beyond US to also include Asia. According to a Cargill spokesperson, “Beyond Meat products are made from pea protein whereas Impossible Foods uses soy protein. We are offering a portfolio that will encompass both pea and soy formulations.”
Apart from these 2 renown players, there are also large meat companies like Tyson Foods and Smithfield Foods which sell plant-based meat products. In China, there are also many domestic players like Shuangta Food and Jinzi Ham Company with their own plant-based meat versions.
China’s meat substitute segment is still in its nascent stage however it is experiencing rapid growth in recent years with the entry of new and existing food players into this segment. One good example is Hong Kong-based Green Common, which distributes Beyond Meat in Greater China, has even developed its own plant-based pork-replacement product called Omnipork for Chinese consumers.
Cargill recorded sales revenue of US$113.5 billion in 2019 with 29 percent derived from the Asia Pacific region. Cargill hopes to capture a slice of the growing demand for protein globally, which is forecast to grow by 70% over the next 30 years. China will be one of the major growth market as it is the world’s largest consumer of pork meat.
McKinsey estimated that the global market for alternative protein was worth about US$2.2 billion in 2019, against a much bigger meat market of US$1.7 trillion. There are varying estimates on the growth of the alternative meat segment ranging from a meagre US$10 billion to US$150 billion by 2030.
Cargill, which is already strong in the natural meat segment is not about to lose its grip on the entire protein market as it seeks to build strong presence in the alternative meat segment as well.



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