(Bloomberg) – There’s no denying the appeal of bacon. In the total market, the product of pork origin represents a staggering 99% and in 2020, sales of this traditional breakfast food totaled US $ 6,000 million until November, 20% more than in the same period of the previous year.
However, plant-based bacon is making room in the pan. During the 52-week period ending April 18, sales increased 25%, nearly double that of bacon based on animal meat, according to data from Spins, which reports data from natural and organic product retailers. Nielsen, which aggregates data from conventional grocery stores, reported that the entire category of bacon alternatives nearly doubled in 2020, to $ 267 million, compared to 2019.
One reason for this increase is that more alternative options are available, as a new generation of bacon makers take advantage of popular ingredients to create fake pork products. These manufacturers are entering a market that has been dominated for decades by products like Lightlife’s Smart Bacon and Morningstar’s Veggie Bacon Strips, which still fail to meet metrics like taste, texture, and satiety.
The next generation of growers are employing innovative ingredients or processes, or both. San Francisco startup Hooray Foods combines coconut oil, rice flour, and tapioca starch through a patent-pending manufacturing process that encapsulates the fat droplets and allows the product to cook more like the real thing. Prime Roots, which started in 2017 and came out of UC Berkeley’s Alternative Meat Lab, makes koji bacon that is grown in large fermentation tanks. The koji, a mushroom, is formed into slabs and smoked, then wrapped in colorful packaging. Trophic, another Berkeley-based alternative protein startup, is creating a bacon prototype made from protein extracted from red algae.
The highest-profile addition is Albany, New York-based Atlast Food Co.’s MyEats Bacon, which is made from mycelium, the underground root structure of mushrooms. Grown indoors in raised beds 30 meters long, the mycelium is cut into blocks that are then seasoned with liquid smoke, and then cut into strips.
The startup recently raised $ 40 million in Series B funding from well-known agricultural investors Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm and Stephen McDonnell of Applegate Farms. Actor Robert Downey Jr., who helped fund the Footprint Coalition, also invested. On July 13, Atlast was announced as a semifinalist in the $ 15 million Xprize Feed the Next Billion, a four-year competition that recognizes the most promising alternative proteins.
Reasons for the fake bacon surge include the May cyberattack that shut down about a fifth of the capacity of the US meat industry. “Consumers have really looked for these products. A lot of that was due to bad press at the meat processing facility, ”said Jeff Crumpton, Spins’ retail reporting manager. “The vegetable base was ideal to take a step in that.”
Another reason is price parity, as vegan products become almost as affordable as their animal analogues. The rise of flexitarian diets has also fueled the movement. “People are moving toward cruelty-free, grass-raised, sustainable and animal-welfare styles,” Crumpton said.
Original Note: Sales of Vegan Bacon Are on the Rise as More Brands Hit Shelves
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