Tyson Foods, the largest U.S. meat processor, said on Thursday it slightly raised its stake in plant-based protein maker Beyond Meat as it looks to tap growing demand for alternative sources of protein.
While the terms are not being disclosed, Tyson Foods' latest investment slightly increases its ownership stake in Beyond Meat from the 5 percent established a year ago, as per the report published on Reuters.
Beyond Meat reports the latest fundraising round, which also includes the support of venture capital fund Cleveland Avenue, will be used to expand production, fund the company’s R&D commitment, and expand sales and distribution.
“Global demand for all protein remains high and we are passionate about meeting that demand sustainably,” said Justin Whitmore, executive vice president corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. “Our investment in Beyond Meat provides another fantastic alternative for consumers as we strive to sustainably feed the world.”
Whitmore added: “This investment reinforces our focus on protein and enables us to support Beyond Meat’s efforts to produce new, leading-edge products. What we are most excited about is that we can do all of this while continuing to provide the great tasting, high-quality food that is the hallmark of our company.” Mr. Whitmore was quoted on GlobeNewswire.
California-based Beyond Meat sells plant-based burger patties, heat-and-eat meals and non-GMO soy and pea protein frozen foods at grocery chains such as Amazon.com Inc’s Whole Foods Market, Publix, and Albertsons Cos Inc’s Safeway.
Traditional meat sales have come under pressure on growing concerns about animal welfare and the environmental impact of intensive animal farming, apart from a rising perception of vegetarian meals as healthier.
U.S. companies such as Beyond Meat and MorningStar Farms, owned by the world’s largest cereal maker, Kellogg Co, are leading the charge in the meat substitute market.
The industry could reap $5.2 billion in sales by 2020, according to Oregon-based Allied Market Research (AMR), an 8.4 percent rise from 2015.