The Very Good Food Company founders depart loss-making plant-based business

Mitchell Scott “terminated” as CEO, while co-founding partner James Davison has resigned.

The Very Good Butchers meat-free brand

Plant-based jerky opening gambit from Beyond Meat, PepsiCo tie-up

The US manufacturers have unveiled the first products from a partnership announced last year.


Beyond Meat plant-based jerky range

Beyond Meat and PepsiCo are to market plant-based alternatives to beef jerky in the US.

A range of three flavours is the first set of products to emerge from a partnership announced last year between the meat-alternatives supplier and the food and beverage giant.

The jerky, sold under the Beyond Meat brand, is available at retailers including Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons and 7-Eleven.


As well as three flavours (original, teriyaki and hot and spicy) the jerky, made from peas and mung beans, is on offer in three sizes – a one-ounce pack, a three-ounce SKU and the largest, ten ounces.

The respective manufacturer’s suggested retail prices for the different sizes are US$2, $5.29 and $14.99.


With Beyond Meat’s own products, the company focuses on the refrigerated and frozen aisles. The jerky is its first shelf-stable offering.

Dan Moisan, the CEO of the venture, which has been dubbed Planet Partnership, said the launch of the jerky “will make plant-based meat accessible to millions of households”.

Asked to point to the consumer and category data that informed the launch, the venture told Just Food: “Consumers are increasingly looking for sources of nutritious, sustainable protein, and this was the perfect opportunity to meet those needs in a plant-based snack that’s delicious and convenient.”


According to research by GlobalData, Just Food’s parent, published in November, the US meat snacks market was worth $3.41bn in 2020. The London-based data and analytics group forecasts the category could hit $4.67bn in 2025, which would represent a compound annual growth rate of 6.5%.

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Sales of plant-based jerky options remain tiny by comparison. The Good Food Institute (GFI), an NGO advocating for alternative proteins, has published SPINS data that estimates plant-based jerky sales reached $3.9m in the year to the end of April 2019. Just Food has approached the GFI for more recent figures.

Proponents of plant-based meat argue alternative options to meat jerky can prosper, although there have been recent concerns about the growth rate of the overall plant-based meat market in the US.

Recent sales figures from Beyond Meat and Maple Leaf Foods have led some industry watchers to reassess how quickly the meat-substitutes market may grow in the country.

Kraft Heinz forms venture with alt-protein firm NotCo

The US food giant said the companies plan to use AI to launch co-branded products.

By Dean Best

Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio and NotCo CEO Matias Muchnick
Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio and NotCo CEO Matias Muchnick

Kraft Heinz is to team up with plant-based foods group NotCo to launch products using artificial intelligence.

NotCo, based in Chile, says it uses an AI programme – dubbed Giuseppe – to analyse plants to “come up with unique combinations that replicate animal-based products almost to perfection”.

The company, which has attracted more than US$350m in investment, sells plant-based meat and dairy products in markets including Chile, Mexico and the US. NotCo’s inaugural product was a plant-based alternative to mayonnaise, Not Mayo, which is made from garbanzo beans.


Kraft Heinz said today (22 February) the two businesses are to form The Kraft Heinz Not Company, a venture to develop co-branded, plant-based products.

Asked which products the venture will initially launch, a Kraft Heinz spokesperson said: “The joint venture kicks off immediately with the goal of getting something to market in 2022. The joint venture will have a global focus. We expect to share more details on markets and roll-out plans in the months ahead.”

The new venture will be based in Chicago and have R&D facilities in San Francisco. In a statement, Kraft Heinz said the venture “will focus on plant-based innovation across numerous Kraft Heinz product categories”.

Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio added: “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. It helps deliver on our vision to offer more clean, green, and delicious products for consumers. We believe the technology that NotCo brings is revolutionising the creation of delicious plant-based foods with simpler ingredients.”

The most recent tranche of funding NotCo announced was unveiled in July. At the time, the company said it had raised US$235m in a Series D round of funding.

Investment firm Tiger Global led the round. Existing backers, including Bezos Expeditions, Jeff Bezos’ investment house, private-equity firm L Catterton and New York fund Enlightened Hospitality Investments took part. Formula One racing driver – and vegan – Lewis Hamilton and tennis star Roger Federer also joined the round.

Matias Muchnick, CEO and co-founder and NotCo, described the establishment of the venture with Kraft Heinz as “an exciting milestone for the plant-based industry and shows the power of technology’s role in driving mainstream adoption”.

Kraft Heinz, meanwhile, today updated its “long-term” targets on a series of financial metrics.

The ketchup and baked-beans maker is aiming to achieve a 2-3% rise in organic sales each year, up from a previous target of 1-2% growth.

Kraft Heinz is also targeting a 4-6% increase in annual adjusted EBITDA, compared to its most recent goal of 2-3% growth each year.

In the 12 months to 25 December 2021, Kraft Heinz’s sales rose 1.8% on an organic basis. Its adjusted EBITDA was down 4.5%.

Speaking at today’s Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, Kraft Heinz CFO Andre Maciel said: “In 2022 we expect to deliver adjusted EBITDA for our ongoing business that is consistent with our long term growth algorithm previously communicated. This is despite the unprecedented inflation and the supply chain stress we never could have envisioned two years ago.”

Maciel said the step-up in growth Kraft Heinz is aiming to see from sales is set to come on the back of “consistent double-digit net sales growth in emerging markets and further share gains in foodservice around the world”.

Kraft Heinz, meanwhile, has developed a new initiative, dubbed Agile@Scale, to boost efficiency, make the business more agile and, through which, the company will team up with other companies in areas such as digital technology.

Maciel said: “I am confident that we will continue to operate at industry-leading levels of efficiency. We will also continue to focus on growing EBITDA dollars. As we do, we expect that these were resulting sustaining our industry-leading margins.”


Don’t miss these key dates!

Don’t miss these key dates!

Are you as excited for this year’s MeatEx Canada trade fair as we are? We look forward to welcoming meat, poultry and seafood producers, and anyone else involved in the meat industry!

To help exhibitors prepare and know what to expect, we’d like to share a few key dates surrounding the event, which runs Sept. 28-30, 2022, at Enercare Centre in Toronto:

  • Aug. 2: Deadline for stand confirmation
  • Aug. 26: Deadline for exhibitor registration; submission of stand construction plans, subject to approval
  • Sept. 26: Advanced setup (based on request)
  • Sept. 27: Exhibitor permits, setting up and dismantling badge (on-site); regular set-up and move-in
  • Sept. 28 at 11 a.m.: Opening ceremony

For additional dates, check out Exhibitor Information on the MeatEx Canada website. While you’re there, discover more information on becoming an exhibitor, and the great reasons why you’ll want to be one! 

Already know you’re going to join us? Then pre-register now and our colleagues will contact you to finalize your registration.

September 2022
 Unique Opportunity


Nestlé optimistic on margin preservation supported by eat “at-home revolution”

“This whole notion of the at-home revolution, that's something I very strongly believe in" - CEO Mark Schneider

Nestle HQ in Vevey, Switzerland

Nestlé is optimistic profit margins will be preserved this year as pricing takes effect and an “at-home revolution” supports sales, a trend CEO Mark Schneider predicts will be long-lasting.

Schneider guided to an underlying trading operating profit margin of 17-17.5% in 2022, a closely-watched metric that fell 30 basis points last year to 17.4%. However, two thirds of that decline was due to a lag in price increases filtering through on the back of “significant” input-cost inflation and the rest was related to Nestlé’s purchase of the nutrition assets of The Bountiful Company.

Further pricing will also be initiated this year on expectations inflationary pressures will continue, with Schneider describing the margin target as “conservative” within a “volatile environment” dominated by rising prices for raw and packaging materials, transportation and energy costs, and supply chain bottlenecks.


Presenting Nestlé’s annual results today (17 February) on a media conference call, Schneider was asked why the business has been able to weather the pressure on margins.

“In an environment where we knew from the beginning that we had to price very responsibly, we looked first at all internal efficiency upsides to make sure that we can spare consumers any unnecessary inflation. And it continues to be a top priority in 2022,” he said.


He added: “When you have this compression point, when inflation starts to rise, that temporarily was going to be a drag on our margin. In the future, one of two things is going to happen. Either we’re settling into a regular inflation pattern. And in that case, I think the company can adjust so it’s not a permanent downward pressure on our margin. Or inflation at some point will ease again. Then I think you will see some of those negative effects reversing themselves.”

Schneider described last year’s performance as “strong”, with organic sales growth of 7.5% outperforming 2020’s 3.6%, the fastest pace in five years. And he is sticking with a longer-term target of mid-single digits – 4-6%.

Pet food was pinpointed as a standout amid increased adoption of pets during the pandemic, along with frozen foods, ready meals and coffee as restrictions confined people to their homes. And as Covid eases, Nestlé anticipates flexible working will be supportive of sales.


“This whole notion of the at-home revolution, that’s something I very strongly believe in. And that to me is a longer-term trend that is here to stay,” Schneider said. “As a result of that, at-home consumption of coffee, frozen meals and many other products will probably continue to benefit. [And] there will also be a time squeeze, so convenience will be important.”

However, as the world slowly comes out of Covid, and the elevated pandemic-related retail demand tails off somewhat with the opening up of foodservice, Nestlé has guided to organic growth of 5% for this year.

Schneider explained: “What you may see is short term, year-over-year slowdowns. That’s normal, that’s math. One year that’s very strong, creates a higher base for the next year. But the more important value-creation outlook is mid and long term. And there I think we’re right on story here when it comes to this at-home revolution.”

Despite the rise in the cost of living, Nestlé has not seen a pattern of downtrading by the consumer, except in what the CEO called “mid-range products” and in infant formula. In fact, CFO Francois-Xavier Roger said demand for premium products increased last year, growing 12% organically and accounted for 35% of group sales, which rose 3.3% on a reported basis to CHF87.1bn (US$94.6bn).

Schneider added: “Generally, premium products, as we know from past downturns, do hold up very well. We see most of the pressure in mid-range products. And we have seen some of the downtrading in more exposed economies last year, for example, in developing markets. But overall, with the strength of our premium products, and also some of the efficiencies we were able to gain, we have been able to offset any negative impact.”

However, sales in emerging markets (59%) were robust at 7.8% organic growth, comparing favourably with 7.2% in advanced economies.

There was some downtrading in infant formula to “cheaper solutions” in some markets, with China again weighing on sales in the category as birth rates continued to decline, a phenomena Nestlé noted as being consistent with a world trend during the pandemic.

China has been a baby-food issue for Nestlé in the “past two years” but Schneider has previously emphasised his commitment and made no suggestions today around any planned restructuring. It is a market being “addressed very energetically right now”, he said, adding “the business leadership is now taking very decisive steps and I hope that we can already point to improving results there for the year 2022”.

Plant-based foods were an area of interest during today’s call in light of perceptions the category might be slowing in some markets. Nestlé reported sales in the sector – one Schneider views as a “once in a generation opportunity to revitalise and re-energise our food business” – of CHF800m last year. That represented 16.8% organic growth, well ahead of 12.7% in pet care and 13.5% in the health sciences business.

He explained: “I think our early foray into specialties, in addition to some mainstream products – so think about plant-based alternatives to tuna and shrimp or egg as an example – has clearly paid off and we continue to put significant research and development effort in this area.”