Pepsico, Beyond Meat create joint venture to pursue development of plant-based drinks and snacks

US – PepsiCo and Beyond Meat have created a joint venture called The PLANeT Partnership that will develop, produce and market snack and beverage products made from plant-based protein.

In a joint statement, the companies said the joint venture will leverage Beyond Meat’s technology in plant-based protein development and PepsiCo’s marketing and commercial capabilities.

PepsiCo has prioritized increasing offerings in its portfolio that meet growing consumer demand for foods and drinks that fall in the better-for-you category.

Plant-based products have gained particular momentum during the pandemic as people have watched what goes into their bodies more closely.

“Plant-based proteins represent an exciting growth opportunity for us, a new frontier in our efforts to build a more sustainable food system and be a positive force for people and the planet, while meeting consumer demand for an expanded portfolio of more nutritious products,” Ram Krishnan, PepsiCo’s global chief commercial officer, said in a statement.

As consumers incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets, faux meat will be just one part of a much larger menu.

Beyond Meat, along with rival Impossible Foods, have come to dominate the plant-based meat space despite mounting competition from industry heavyweights like Nestlé and Tyson Foods, along with countless smaller startups.

Beyond Meat however, has leverage over competitors as it has an expertise in plant-based food development and broad consumer awareness in burgers and sausages.

It will however need to expand beyond those categories to further grow revenue and immerse itself in the plant-based trend, this is where the partnership with an established brand like PepsiCo becomes very advantageous.  

PepsiCo — with its portfolio that includes Quaker Oats, Cheetos, baked fruit and veggie snack maker Bare, Naked smoothies, Bubly water and its namesake soda — can expedite the process by using its marketing and commercial capabilities for the new snacks and beverages.

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PepsiCo already has a major presence in stores, so the new products developed through the joint venture could have a greater chance of commanding more shelf space with the food and beverage giant involved than Beyond Meat could have done alone.

“This [partnership] represents another attractive longer-term driver for Beyond Meat to capture more share in the expanding plant-based food ecosystem,” Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Rupesh Parikh said in a note, cited by Bloomberg.

Moving into snacks and beverages not only does it help beyond meat move into other categories, but it should eventually lessen its financial dependence on meat and expand the Beyond name to be synonymous with the plant-based category as a whole.

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