Seara bets on growing plant-based protein market

The Power of Plant-Based Proteins - Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter

In a bid to make plant-based proteins present in everyday dishes, Seara is going to expand the portfolio of Incrível, a brand dedicated to products that mimic the flavor and texture of meat. Leader in the Brazilian plant-based market with a share of more than 60%, Incrível wants to show consumers that vegetable proteins are not restricted to special occasions.

Seara is launching a line with five new products made up of vegetable proteins that emulate chicken fillet and chicken cubes, steak, ground beef, and beef strips. “Brazilians have their daily dishes, and we don’t eat hamburgers and breaded products every day,” says Gabriela Pontin, head of Seara’s plant-based business unit since May.

According to Ms. Pontin, Incrível’s new line was conceived after surveys with more than 3,000 people – including customers and potential consumers. Undoubtedly, the vegetable hamburger is the great attraction of the plant-based market, but the assessment is that the possibility of using the products in common dishes, such as stroganoff or ground beef with zucchini, will help Seara to accelerate the pace of growth in this category, which has been growing at expressive rates.

Globally, the plant-based market grows from 15% to 17% per year. In 2020, it grossed $6 billion, according to data from The Good Food Institute. The segment represents less than 1% of the global protein industry, but projections indicate it could reach 8% in a few years. “It’s going to be a huge market, for sure,” says Ms. Pontin.

In Brazil, where the plant-based business began to be explored later than in Europe and the United States, the growth rate is naturally higher, 40% a year, said the executive. With recent product launches, Seara believes that Incrível will be able to surpass this level of growth, reaching 50% in 2022. The five products are added to the 11 SKUS – hamburger, sausage, breaded chicken, cod, among others – which Incredible already offered.

The new Incrível line will be produced by Verdali, a partner from Videira, in the state of Santa Catarina. According to Ms. Pontin, the products were developed jointly by the two companies. Incrível’s other products continue to be produced in Seara’s own factories, according to her.

Seara is not the first to launch plant-based products for everyday meals. Fazenda Futuro, a foodtech created by Marcos Letta, brought ground beef and chicken strips to the market. BRF, which debuted in the plant-based market with the Veg&Tal line, already had chicken in strips, cubes and shredded, as well as ground beef. Compared to rivals, Seara is the first to launch versions of the whole product (plant-based beef steak and chicken fillet).

In the Brazilian plant-based market as a whole, Seara have the lead. According to data from Nielsen consultancy for the second quarter, the Incredible brand had a stake of 60.7%. Veg&Tal was ranked second, with 13.1%, and Fazenda Futuro had 6.2%. As a market that is still in the early stages of development, innovations have the potential for major changes. No wonder no one wants to miss out on a chance to nip a bigger slice.

For JBS, Incrível is another initiative to advance in plant-based. In the United States, the company created Planterra Foods, which owns the OZO brand. In Europe, the company paid €341 million to buy Dutch company Vivera. The company has also added plant-based items with Pilgrim’s acquisition of Kerry’s prepared food business.

Source: Valor international