At the beginning of the new year, the technology media often make an outlook and forecast on the development of the industry in the coming year. Although it may not be accurate, it is also interesting. Therefore, we also tested the crystal ball to predict the development of the plant meat field in food technology in 2022.
After years of plant-based burgers and other vegetarian meat fillings, the vegetarian meat industry will see more plant-based whole-muscle products hit supermarket shelves in 2022 and beyond.
Impossible Foods' interest in plant-based full-muscle steaks broke in early 2019; and since then, we've seen a slew of vegetarian meat companies announcing their efforts to create full-muscle alternatives. vegetarian meat startups Juicy Marbles, Novameat and Redefine Meat, for example, are all working on similar products for full-muscle steaks. Others, like Atlas, are offering whole-muscle bacon made from mycelium. There are also startups working on plant-based whole-muscle seafood, like Israeli startup Plantish, which recently entered the industry’s radar with the world’s first plant-based salmon fillet.
Many of these companies hope to deliver their new products to the market in 2022, so expect a wave of new vegetarian meat products featuring full-muscle concepts to hit the market this year.
As we enter 2022, a slew of alternative protein startups are launching a variety of fungal-based meat substitutes. Startup Meati, for example, has prototyped steak and chicken products using submerged mycelium. Then there's Nature's Fynd, which debuted a breakfast patty using its fungal protein ingredient last fall. In early January, MycoTechnologies debuted its Good Side Foods brand of minced meat substitutes, with the main protein ingredient fermented from fungi.
The rise of fungal protein ingredients is not surprising, since fungi are, after all, closer to animals in molecular structure than plants. For this reason and process factors, fungi-based protein ingredients do not require much high-tech means and processing to create realistic meat substitute products. This year should be just the beginning, and we will see more meat substitutes made from mycoproteins in the future.
One of the main criticisms of early vegetarian meat products was that the ingredients were too complex. While vegetarian meat is undoubtedly a marvel of modern food science, those unfamiliar ingredients and chemical names can leave a legion of customers suspicious. Therefore, simplifying the product ingredients of vegetarian meat is a direct response to this criticism.
From 2021 we start to see some startups offer new vegetarian meat products with simpler ingredient lists, and expect to see more of them this year. Startup Nowadays, for example, has a pea protein-based chicken nugget product with just seven ingredients. Daring also has soy-based chicken nuggets, and their ingredient labels are fairly straightforward. Then there's No Evil Foods, which develops a range of vegetarian meat products from sausages to beef jerky with "clean" labels. Those companies that promote simplified alternative protein product ingredients will be in stark contrast to other vegetarian meat companies with more complex ingredients, and their products will be more differentiated.
While many of the early vegetarian meat companies were mostly responsible for the development and production of a complete set of products themselves, more and more new companies are now providing raw materials for vegetarian meat, enabling other companies and brands to enter the market faster.
Take Motif FoodWorks for example. Last month, the company announced that its yeast heme protein, Hemami, had received GRAS clearance from the FDA for commercial use. As a food additive, Hemami provides umami and texture for use by manufacturers of meat substitutes. That's good news, because now any vegetarian meat company can buy this off-the-shelf ingredient from Motif FoodWorks instead of spending tens of millions of dollars trying to develop it themselves.
There are other food tech companies developing off-the-shelf ingredients to serve the vegetarian meat market, whether it's ready-to-use finished plant-based silken protein, or animal-free collagen from Jellatech and Geltor, or animal fat substitutes from Hoxton, Melt & Marble, and Nourish. , are created for the continuous iterative update of vegetarian meat and alternative protein products, making the next generation of products more delicious.
While companies such as Good Catch and Ocean Hugger have been developing and producing plant-based seafood products for some time, there are still relatively few or no such products on the market. As a number of other companies launched new products last year, Asian vegetarian meat giant Omnifood launched a plant-based seafood line last summer, Plantish launched plant-based salmon fillets last week, and Spain’s Mimic recently launched a tomato-based Plant-based tuna, 2021 If 2021 is a big year for seafood alternatives, the segment is bound to be even bigger in 2022.
The vegetarian meat market has experienced some volatility in 2021, with consumption falling year-on-year, so that some vegetarian meat companies have been affected, while some brands seem to be outperforming against the trend. How many vegetarian meat brands can we expect to do that? Like any market coming out of adolescence, don't be surprised to see some M&A in the vegetarian meat industry. If we look at the industry honestly, there are too many products, brands, and companies in it to survive. In 2022, we will likely see some market consolidation, with large players acquiring smaller companies, either to start their own vegetarian meat lines or to make up for their own deficiencies. To be sure, some of the companies that have been covered may be numbered. This is the market.