While most QSR chains are dealing with either Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, what are the options for smaller players? Should they also source products from these two companies and brand them on their menus? To date, alternatives are not quite satisfying and they lack the bargaining power of big names such as Starbucks (which announced its will to add more plant-based foods in its restaurants).
A solution may come from big food
A solution may come from horeca retailers. Sonner this year, Sysco, one of the leaders of this business (an equivalent to the Transgourmet and Pomona in Europe) launched its plant-based burger. Both a burger patty and plant-based ground beef will be available to Sysco’s many clients in the hospitality industry.
Who will be trusted?
Interestingly, as most of you have seen, restaurants tend to brand their vegan burgers alternatives as “Beyond Meat burgers” (or Impossible). That’s quite revealing of the power acquired of those brands. But is this power:
- Transitory: just a way to help consumers make the move to try the “fake meat stuff” for the first time. If this were the case, we could expect to see more and more restaurant switch to other “homemade” (or cheaper, no-brand alternatives such as Sysco’s). And in the consumers market, that would leave some room for food giants such as Nestlé and Unilever to develop their products.
- Lasting: something that alternatively will last as the only companies that consumer will recognise as enough to put their trust in. That’s clearly what investors that are betting on Beyond Meat in the public market and on all the other plant-based companies in the private market are doing.
While food giants have the means (financials and in terms fo manufacturing power, something that the plant-based startups lack seriously of), they don’t have the high level of trust that people have put in the new brands. As more and more consumers are looking for these products, the fate of the market will deeply depend on the speed at which Beyond Meat and the likes will be able to both increase their production to answer the needs while cleaning their recipes (as concerns from early adopters have risen there). If they fail to go that fast big food giants will be ready to take on the market. So who are you betting on?