Plant-based meat alternatives now have another large corporate ally, PepsiCo. The soda giant has announced that it is forming The PLANeT Partnership with Beyond Meat, one of the world’s largest plant-based meat manufacturers.
The PLANeT Partnership is set to develop, produce, and market snacks and beverages made from plant-based protein, bringing together Beyond Meat’s innovation expertise with PepsiCo’s marketing and commercial capabilities.
PepsiCo is the third-largest food company in the world per Forbes’s composite measure, after Nestlé and alcohol giant Anheuser-Busch InBev. In addition to soft drinks, PepsiCo has considerable holdings in snack food, it also owns Naked Juice, which produces high-protein smoothies - a natural point for collaboration with Beyond. The most likely collaboration, however, will be in the snack market.
PepsiCo’s decision to partner with Beyond rather than strike out on its own or work with another food giant suggests that Beyond (and its competitor Impossible Foods), both multibillion-dollar companies but relative upstarts compared to Pepsi, remain competitive and a few steps ahead of their larger rivals.
And it’s not just PepsiCo choosing Beyond to collaborate with.
Starting this year, fast-food chain Taco Bell will begin testing a Beyond Meat-based dish at its restaurants. Without giving away what the new dish might be, the chain has claimed that it will not be the usual plant-based substitution seen from other restaurants as it will be working with Beyond Meat to develop a new protein.
“I would say that it’s going to be unique to the things that you’ve seen elsewhere, so we’re definitely going to put our Taco Bell innovation and spin on it,” noted Liz Matthews, Taco Bell’s global chief food innovation officer.
Both partnerships are a significant win for Beyond and reflect the growing demand for plant-based alternatives, particularly in the snack and fast-food markets.