According to a leading supplier, plant-based protein alternative brands that use pea as a key ingredient are about to be hit by the severe drought in Canada that has led to soaring crop prices.
French company Roquette, which processes peas and counts Beyond Meat as one of its customers, said this week that the plant protein sector was facing an unprecedented situation.
With the worst drought in a century, the challenge will be pea availability and the price increases that will inevitably follow. Large pea producers in France have also had their crops severely damaged by wet weather rather than drought.
Although accounting for just 2 percent of total plant-based proteins, according to commodities data firm Mintec, peas have been the fastest-growing category used by food companies.
Manufacturers see peas as a more sustainable product than soya beans and not associated with deforestation or GM issues, said Marcel Goldenberg at Mintec.
Nestlé has turned to peas as their key ingredient for their plant-based Meat, and this year have also launched plant milk made from yellow peas.
Nestlé said inflation was hitting various aspects of production, including ingredients, packaging, and transportation though it was doing everything to manage those costs.
Start-ups using peas for meat alternatives include Meatless Farm in the UK and, according to the company, have been working on ways to handle food inflation.