Why is this significant?
In the early days of significant technologies like V2.0 plantbased products pioneering companies often have to either work with available raw materials and/or systems or “invent” everything themselves. As industries mature then existing suppliers step up with suitable products or startups fill the gap, computers are a good example of this progression. This is what’s now happening in the plantbased space with ingredients suppliers bring their NPD muscle to bear on ingredients problems
Plantbased ingredients market adds new fat range to improve taste performance. As the plantbased market expands it’s benefiting from product development by ingredients companies. An example is the new range of fat ingredients made from shea and palm oil made “to recreate the sensory experience derived from beef in plant-based alternatives.”
In the past plantbased meat companies have had to do all or most of their own development work using existing ingredients which were unlikely to be ideal. Now the manufacturing chain is starting to mature and break out into it’s component parts as profit opportunities become apparent. This will help improve product quality by offering ingredients specifically targeted to manufacturing high quality plantbased products. No longer will plantbased manufacturers have to force a square peg into a round hole! Hopefully this will enable new entrants to develop good products from the start and reduce the number of truly awful plantbased meat products on the market.
The bad news for plantbased incumbents like Impossible Foods and especially Beyond Meat is that the barrier to entry is now dropping. Impossible have a higher barrier to competition because of their synbio produced heme than Beyond, whose IP is in the texturising of their pea protein. As current plant protein supplier apply their expertise to texturising their products any IP advantage Beyond has could quickly evaporate. This could easily be the case by the end of 2020 and it’ll be interesting to see if Beyond can stay ahead of the curve
New entrants will be able to develop great tasting products and become competitive much quicker given the palette of ingredients available or soon to be available. The next couple of years are likely to define the shape of the market for a long time