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

Plant-based protein coffee debuts at Starbucks

Plant-based protein coffee debuts at Starbucks

According to data published by the NPD Group:

  • Three out of five Americans say they want more protein in their diets;
  • Fourteen percent of U.S. consumers, or more than 43 million people, regularly use plant-based products and
  • 86 percent of them aren’t vegans or vegetarian.

These figures are in sync with the growing influence of our Clean Living investing theme and we are seeing companies respond. One of the latest is Starbucks, which has introduced its first plant-based protein offering that is part of its efforts to craft a healthier image as it attempts to move past its sugar and calorie ridden Frappuccinos. Starbucks isn’t the first company to introduce such products, and it probably won’t be the last, but given its reach, it likely means we are approaching a tipping point. All that remains is to see if consumers opt for it.

Starbucks is getting into the plant-based protein game for the first time.

The chain is introducing Protein Blended Cold Brew in almond and cacao flavors, available now through fall, while supplies last. The nondairy 16-ounce drinks are made from pea and brown-rice protein.

“Plant-based beverages, plant-based proteins are a choice that many consumers are gravitating toward,” CEO Kevin Johnson told an annual institutional-investor gathering in June, highlighting health and wellness as a strategic priority for Starbucks.

The new almond drink is made with almond milk, almond butter and 12 grams of plant-based protein and contains 270 calories, 12 grams of fat and 22 grams of sugar, according to Starbucks. The sweetness comes from what the Seattle-based chain calls the Banana Date Fruit Blend as well as coconut sugar; there’s no refined sugar.

Starbucks customers can also request a shot of plant-based protein be added to a different drink, the company said.

From faux-beef burgers to infused energy bars, plant-based proteins are a growing trend in the U.S. – and not just among people who eschew eating animal proteins, such as beef, poultry and pork.

KFC started testing plant-based chicken in the United Kingdom and Ireland in June, while two months earlier, White Castle introduced its Impossible Slider, a version of its iconic slider made with a plant-based meat equivalent. And Dunkin’ Donuts began serving almond milk in September 2014.

Source: Starbucks debuts its first plant-based protein coffee