The Market is Signaling More Innovation to Come in Alternative Proteins Products

VANCOUVER, BC, March 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — USA News Group – Showcasing data gathered from the PitchBook Data platform, The Good Food Institute (GFI) have revealed that global alternative protein companies secured a record $5 billion in disclosed investments in 2021. GFI’s analysis signals a growing appetite for meatless food investments with returns beyond the bottom line. Moving into 2022, new products are hitting shelves and menus, from faux meat, to Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs), to plant-based protein ingredients, as have been announced by innovators such as Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA) (OTCQB:NPRFF), The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR), Danone S.A. (OTCQX:DANOY), The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ:KHC) and PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP).

One of the benefactors of the plant-based investments of 2021 was Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA) (OTC:NPRFF) who secured an oversubscribed IPO late in the year. The company’s early successes have been bolstered by the development of a proprietary product known as Textured Hemp ProteinTM (THP).

Hemp protein is an excellent source of plant-based protein, that’s lean, rich in amino acids, a good source of iron, magnesium and manganese, and may prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.

THP is a nutritious plant-based and allergen-free food, currently used in wholesale ingredients and consumer packaged goods, such as Nepra’s PROPASTA™ line.

Made from proprietary formulations of hemp hearts, PROPASTA™ Spaghetti and Meatballs, Ricotta Ravioli with Marinara, and Macaroni and Cheese provide a complete protein source that is rich in healthy fats, easy to digest, non-GMO, and free from the top 8 allergens.

At the Natural Foods Expo West in Anaheim, California, Nepra launched its PROPASTA™ line of heat-and-eat plant-based meals, targeting American Flexitarians wanting to reduce their consumption of animal-based products as well as their impact on the environment.

“Launching our latest PROPASTA™ brand at Expo West couldn’t come at a better time for consumers eager for nutritious, allergen-free, and plant-based comfort meals that the whole family can enjoy,” said David Wood, Co-Founder and CEO of Nepra Foods.

The PROPASTA™ brand is strategically positioned at the intersection of consumer appeal, environmental impact, and optimized nutrition to capture the American Flexitarian segment, representing over 45 million weekly shoppers and 41% of the U.S. population.

“Our team of food scientists and chefs, led by Chadwick White, Co-Founder and CTO, worked tirelessly over the past year to develop recipes and formulations that are unmatched in the industry today,” added Wood. “PROPASTA™ is a bold category-leading brand that meets people where they are in the frozen food aisle with great tasting, animal-free meals that deliver true nutrition for everyone.”

With the ready-made frozen meals market estimated to reach USD $156 billion by 2025, Nepra is poised to take advantage of a fundamental shift in consumer demand for plant-based options that allow people to reduce their consumption of animal products without compromising taste, texture, or nutrition.

At its Colorado facility, Nepra recently announced the full operations of its first dedicated extrusion line from new extruder equipment, which the company says will exponentially increase ingredient output and boost overall sales revenue.

This specialized equipment can produce Texturized Hemp Protein, THP™ (800,000 lbs./year) that is used in plant-based meat analogues such as vegan meatballs and chunk chicken, used in Nepra’s product lines with additional capacity sold wholesale to other food producers.

These wholesale THP™ sales alone are expected to boost company revenue by up to US$3.5 million annually.

In 2020, the plant-based food market totaled $29.4 billion, and according to Statista it’s expected to grow to $77.8 billion by 2025.

The largest supermarket chain in the USA, The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) is teaming with plant-based innovators Impossible Foods to develop something new under Kroger’s Home Chef brand.

“We are incredibly proud of our Home Chef brand, which became a $1 billion brand in 2021,” said Kroger Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer, Stuart W. Aitken. “Our assortment is connecting with the customer through ready-to-eat meals, rotating seasonal programs, new appetizers as well as our first plant-based protein, in partnership with Custom Made Meals and Impossible [Foods].”

With Impossible’s help, Kroger hopes that its Home Chef brand can gain traction among plant-based consumers while simultaneously catering to the growing amount of vegan shoppers.

France’s Danone S.A. (OTCQX:DANOY) is targeting 3-5% annual sales growth over the next three years, with hopes that stepping up investment in its brands and shedding non-performing assets will help the cause.

According to new CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique, the “Renew Danone” plan is “all about creating the conditions for sustainable and competitive growth and then delivering consistently in a way that creates value for all.”

Back in the summer of 2021, Danone announced its “Plant-Based 2.0” platform, focused on vegan “dairy-life technology” designed to make key improvements to the taste and texture of their several plant-based dairy brands that produce oat, almond and soy milk, as well as coconut oil-based cheeses and spreads.

Looking to develop more plant-based food innovation, The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ:KHC) is partnering with TheNotCompany, under the banner of The Kraft Heinz Not Company.

TheNotCompany is providing first-of-its-kind technology and proven artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, while Kraft Heinz delivers its household-name brand portfolio and scale.

“The joint venture with TheNotCompany is a critical step in the transformation of our product portfolio and a tremendous addition to our brand design-to-value capabilities,” said Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio. “We believe the technology that NotCo brings is revolutionizing the creation of delicious plant-based foods with simpler ingredients.”

The Kraft Heinz Not Company plans to develop superior plant-based versions of co-branded products at a level of speed, taste, quality and scale yet to be seen in the industry.

A similar partnership launched back in 2021 between PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) and Beyond Meat to form The PLANeT Partnership, LLC to develop, produce and market innovative plant-based protein snack and beverage products.

“Plant-based proteins represent an exciting growth opportunity for us, a new frontier in our efforts to build a more sustainable food system and be a positive force for people and the planet, while meeting consumer demand for an expanded portfolio of more nutritious products,” said Ram Krishnan, PepsiCo Global Chief Commercial Officer. “Beyond Meat is a cutting-edge innovator in this rapidly growing category, and we look forward to combining their unparalleled expertise with our world-class capabilities in brand-building, consumer insights and distribution to deliver exciting new options.”

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