Cleaner Living cleans up in July

Cleaner Living cleans up in July

July was a bit of a roller coaster ride for the domestic stock market, as it grappled with the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, economic data that points to a slowing global economy and the expected interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve at the end of the month. For the month in full, each of the major stock market indexes finished higher month-over-month, adding to their gains for the year, but exited the month below their July highs. The same was true for the Tematica Research Cleaner Living Index, which rose 1.2% in July, continuing its sharp June rebound. 

Driving the July performance for the Cleaner Living Index were shares of Beyond Meat (BYND) and Primo Water Corp. (PRMW), both of which climbed more than 20% during the month. Those moves reflect the continued expansion of Beyond Meat’s meatless protein products, a growing number of partnerships and expanding consumer awareness of water quality. That last topic was a key conversation point in our recent Thematic Signals podcast conversation with Dr. Roy Speiser. The index’s July performance also benefitted from double-digit gains at Simply Good Foods (SMPL), the company that leverages the Atkins brand in the healthy snack market, Trex (TREX) and Fresh del Monte Produce (FDP). 

Offsetting those gains were continued declines at Tenneco Inc. (TEN). The company’s clean air solutions have been impacted by the combination of a slowing global economy, a weakening of the auto market and on-going US-China trade concerns. Other notable decliners with the index for the month of July included Sprouts Farmers Markets (SAFM) and Renewable Energy Group (REGI). Sprouts continues to confront the traditional grocery chains expanding their natural, organic and healthier for you product offerings. Cleaner fuel company Renewable Energy Group on the other hand is facing falling oil prices, making competing solutions increasingly affordable. 

As we are starting to wind down the 2019 June-quarter earnings season, coming into this week more than three-quarters of the S&P 500 group of companies had reported those quarterly figures. Tallying those results, we’ve seen earnings-per-share expectations for the current quarter fall. The result is that full year 2019 earnings per share expectations for that cohort of 500 companies has risen just 2.7%, compared to 2018. Before too long, investors will begin to focus on 2020 growth prospects, and current expectations have the S&P 500 group of companies growing their collective earnings by 10.8% year over year in 2020. 

By comparison, the Cleaner Living index constituent base is slated to grow its collective earnings by nearly 30% in 2020. That’s significantly faster than the expected year over year EPS growth of 6%-12% in 2020 for the consumer discretionary, consumer staple and utility segments tallied by FactSet. Arguably the difference in those EPS growth rates reflects the accelerating shift by consumers toward natural, organic and healthier for you solutions that speaks to the structural shift captured by Tematica’s Cleaner Living investment theme and index. 

While we very much like the overall vector and velocity of the Cleaner Living constituent base and the collective earnings-per-share growth to be had in the coming quarters, we recognize at least in the near-term the overall market and subsequently the Cleaner Living index will likely be impacted by U.S.-China trade developments, the speed of the global economy and changes in monetary policy from the world’s major central banks.

Signals for Tematica’s Cleaner Living investment theme & the Cleaner Living Index


Performance for the Tematica Research Cleaner Living Index (CLNR) is available through Bloomberg, Reuters, FactSet, and other data aggregators, as well as the Tematica Research website. The index is currenty available for licensing for the use in a variety of exchange traded products or as a data overlay in portfolio screening and management. The Tematica Research Cleaner Living Index is being calculated by Indxx.

The time has come for the tiny pea 

The time has come for the tiny pea 

Basic economics teaches us about the dynamics between supply and demand, so it should come as no surprise that given the rise of plant-based alternatives, including pea protein, that are a part of our Cleaner Living investing theme and the Tematica Research Cleaner Living Index, farmers would pivot their plantings to account for that pick-up in demand.

If the economic theory holds, larger pea plantings could lead to price declines, but odds are given the growing number of solutions coming at consumers the pea supply will be gobbled up. And if there is any price declines to be had, we doubt we’ll see that passed along to consumers from the likes of new public Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Tyson Foods. For those that missed it, Tyson recently introduced a hybrid or blended burger that includes both pea and beef protein.

Long an afterthought for most farmers — largely just something planted to help with crop rotations — the tiny legume has suddenly gotten pulled into the alt-protein craze fueled by the likes of Beyond Meat Inc. and the Impossible Burger.

Prices are moving higher, buoyed as well by rising demand from pet-food makers, and growers in the U.S. and Canada are now rushing to put more peas in the ground. Even those who are a bit put off by the whole vegetarian movement that’s driving the demand. Like Tony Fast. Beyond Meat’s goal of helping wean humans off meat consumption “does not interest me at all,” Fast says. “I am a traditional meat guy and pro-rancher.”

So now whether they like the vegan burgers or not, North American farmers are boosting plantings. Growers in Canada and the U.S. are expected to seed about 20% more field peas this year, government data show. That’s happening even as U.S. farmers cut acres of principal crops including corn, soy and wheat by about 3%.

Opening Of The Beyond Meat Manhattan Beach Project Innovation Center

Sandwiches made with Beyond Meat breakfast sausage.

Photographer: Tim Rue/Bloomberg

Plant-based companies have been around for decades, but products were aimed at vegans and vegetarians, a tiny market, according to Greg Wank, food and beverage lead at New York-based accounting and consulting firm Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP. Now that even meat-eating consumers are trying to get more of their protein from alternative sources, demand is taking off, underscoring the blistering debut of Beyond Meat. The shares are up about 500% since they started trading in May.

“It’s the right place and the right time,” Wank said.

Source: Beyond Meat Fever Turns the Tiny Pea Into America’s Hot New Crop – Bloomberg

Meatless alternatives are on the rise, but so is global meat consumption

Meatless alternatives are on the rise, but so is global meat consumption

One of the dangers investors is looking at the world with blinders on because it means missing the larger picture. For example, if we were to look at the recent stock price success of Beyond Meat, a new constituent in the Tematica Research Cleaner Living index, and chatter over the expanding reach of Impossible Foods, one might think the world was no longer interesting in meat.

To the contrary, we are continuing to see the tailwind of our New Global Middle-Class investing them spur demand for the protein complex.

When it comes to the burgers or steaks on your plate, looks and tastes can be deceiving as “meatless meat” and “plant-based meat” gain traction.

Sales of meat alternative grew 30% in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to Nielsen Product Insider.

While the alternative meat market could grow to be worth $140 billion globally in the next ten years, according to Barclays, it’s still a small percentage of the current $1.4 trillion global meat market which is also showing no signs of slowing down.

Still, the demand for alternatives has increased.

Despite the trend in eating plant-based “meat,” global consumption for meat is still on the rise, driven in part by countries like China and Brazil which saw a massive increase in recent decades.

The average person in China, for instance, went from consuming just nine pounds of meat per year in 1961, to 137 pounds per year in 2013, according to The Economist.

“As countries get wealthier, there’s a tendency to eat more meat as a sign of wealth, as a sign of like, ‘I can afford it,’” said Lily Ng, CEO of Foodie, a food magazine and online platform based in Hong Kong.

Globally, the average amount of meat consumption has nearly doubled over the past 50 years.

Although, countries including the U.S. and the U.K. may have reached a so-called “Meat Peak” — which means total meat consumption has hit a peak and declined slightly recently. In addition to that, one in three people in the U.K. says they’ve stopped or cut down on eating meat, according to a survey by Waitrose supermarket.

Source: Meatless alternatives are on the rise, so is global meat consumption