Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) on Thursday announced that it is entering the alternative protein market. This summer, it will launch plant-based nuggets under the new brand, Raised & Rooted. The meat producer said it will then release a blended burger, made with Angus beef and pea protein, in the fall.
Tyson’s announcement sent shares of Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND), a former Tyson investment, down 4% in premarket trading on Thursday. Tyson’s stock rose 3%.
“Today’s consumers are seeking more protein options so we’re creating new products for the growing number of people open to flexible diets that include both meat and plant-based protein,” said President and CEO of Tyson Foods, Noel White. “For us, this is about ‘and’ – not ‘or.’ We remain firmly committed to our growing traditional meat business and expect to be a market leader in alternative protein, which is experiencing double-digit growth and could someday be a billion-dollar business for our company.” Earlier this year, White appointed former Chief Strategy Officer, Justin Whitmore, to lead Tyson Foods’ alternative meat business.
The flexitarian diet, which encourages mainly plant-based foods but allows for animal products in moderation, is a driving growth factor for the alternative protein market. Tyson’s Aidells brand already sells products like sausage links and meatballs made with a blend of real chicken and plant-based ingredients.
Tyson also continues to invest in alternative meat startups. Its current investments include, mushroom-based protein producer Mycotechnology, and cell-based meat producers Memphis meats and Future Meat Technologies.
Shares of Tyson Foods have gained nearly 55% this year versus competitors like Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM), up 44%, and Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL), down 2%.