Several companies that are active animal protein producers have entered the plant-based protein sector, including Tyson Foods and Maple Leaf Foods.

Both companies have contended that such products are largely for those who desire more protein, but may want to reduce their animal protein intake. In other words, they are not just targeting vegetarians and vegans.

Both companies have also developed blended protein products. Tyson’s blended line carries the Raised & Rooted label, while Maple Leaf Foods has the 50/50 brand.

Two weeks ago, Maple Leaf Foods announced that it was evaluating its investment in the plant-based protein sector as recent sales in that area have fallen short of hopes. However, speaking on November 15 in a telephone press conference, Tyson Foods President and CEO Donnie King said its alternative proteins products are still doing well.

“In terms of our alternate proteins, if you think of the Raised and Rooted brand of protein, we launched those, we’re continuing to invest in those, and we have seen growth in those categories,” said King. “The way we approached alternate (protein) is not an or but an and, so that’s the way we positioned our portfolio and we’ve seen good consumer acceptance to our products.”

King noted that in the company’s overall operations, the alternative protein sector is small when compared to its traditional animal proteins operations, which includes chicken, beef, pork and turkey. But Tyson certainly isn’t planning on pulling back from its line of Raised & Rooted products.

“We’re still in the game. We’re growing, and part of that is growth outside of the United States. We’ve deployed those products and brands with large customers as well as our brands in Europe and also in Asia,” said King.

It is worth noting that Maple Leaf Foods introduced its 50/50 blended product line in 2020, and we would have to wonder if as the company evaluates its plant-based protein business, more emphasis will be placed on those products.