U.S. agrifood giant Cargill is set to bring its crop supply chain further into its proteins business via a new line of plant-based patty and ground products for the retail and foodservice sectors.
Already a major player in meat protein, with assets including two major Canadian packing plants processing up to 6,000 head of cattle per day, Minneapolis-based Cargill said Monday it will launch private-label plant-based patties and ground products in early April.
Brian Sikes, head of Cargill’s global protein business, said in a release Monday the company’s customers are looking to it for plant-based solutions.
“We need to keep all protein options on the table,” he said. “Whether you are eating alternative or animal protein, Cargill will be at the centre of the plate.”
A company spokesperson confirmed via email that the new patties and ground products are pea- and soy-based and are to be made at a Cargill facility at Waco, Tex.
The company’s “alternative protein” products are to be made on processing lines separate from its animal proteins. Cargill is “committed to meeting the needs of vegan and vegetarian consumers in our production systems,” the spokesperson said.
The spring launch throws one of the world’s biggest agribusinesses into a market built up by new firms such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.
The upstart U.S. companies in the past couple of years have made public splashes with their bids to simulate beef burgers and ground beef much more closely in taste and texture. Several major quick-service chains have already launched new burger options using those companies’ wares.
Cargill’s spokesperson said Monday that some crops going into the new products are grown in Canada but didn’t offer specifics on whether those products would come from Cargill’s primary elevator network or third-party suppliers.
Crops suited to Canadian climates are already used in Cargill’s existing plant-based protein ingredient lines, such as its soybean and corn protein flours. It also already partners with another Minneapolis processor, Puris, to make proteins from yellow peas.
Privately-held Cargill also already has bench strength in various ingredients and binders needed to make viable plant-based faux-meats.
Other processors and developers of “meat analogues” already use Cargill’s Satiagel carageenan, SimPure starches and Prosante textured soy flour (TSF) to help mimic meat products’ texture, viscosity and structure, the company has said previously.
“Producing plant-based products across our global supply chain is the logical next step to expanding our ability to meet consumer needs and bring new value to this category,” Elizabeth Gutschenritter, managing director of Cargill’s alternative protein team, said in Monday’s release. — Glacier FarmMedia Network