Trends

Plant-Based proteins: beyond ‘Beyond’ there’s Italy

In Italy, R&D investments on plant-based meat are growing fast. Discover how Joy Food, Emilia Foods and Barilla are riding this global trend

“In five years our products will cost less than traditional meat”. With this catchphrase, Chuck Muth, Chief Growth Officer of Beyond Meat, closed his speech at the panel dedicated to plant-based protein during the last edition of Anuga, who hosted even the plant-based investor leader Bjoern Witte from Blue Horizon.

Besides that, the executive also explained that another priority of Beyond Meat for next years will be the reformulation of the products.

PLANT-BASED MADE IN ITALY

So in the next years, Beyond Meat products will be cheaper and healthier, but we don’t have to cross the ocean to have some valid plant-based alternatives to traditional meat.

Despite for most italian people, is still hard to accept the plant-based meat, thanks especially to a part of press informing so little and so poorly, sometimes even through some “lobby style” articles, there are in Italy some companies and startup that can rely on a food engineering level comparable to the american competitors, and are gaining ground on this field. In Anuga we met two of them.

FROM THE BIRTHPLACE OF COLD CUTS, HERE’S THE PLANT-BASED CHICKEN

Two steps away from Perugia, in the heart of Umbria, considered as the homeland of pork processing, there is Joy Food.

The company, founded and managed by Musacchio family, since 2014 it produces plant-based meat, with a focus in the last years in chicken, bacon and beef.

Compared to the overseas competitors, the products of Food Evolution have obviously a shorter label, being healthier and easier to digest.

ALONG THE VIA EMILIA WE HAVE THE ITALIAN RESPONSE TO BEYOND MEAT

A few kilometers north, in Modena, in the heart of italian food valley, it’s located Emilia Foods. The company, specialized in frozen food, is 100% Italian but with a great international exposure, especially in Americas and Asia and it has just launched its plant-based burger.

The products, commercialized under the brand Via Emilia, can be considered as the Italian response to Beyond and Impossible, being able to rely even on a shorter and more understandable label.

BUT THE BEHEMOTHS DON’T SIT BACK AND WATCH

Startup, companies and…multinationals. Some days ago it has been officialized the launch of project Smart Protein, included in european programme Horizon 2020. Among the partners it stands Barilla, besides the israeli scaleup Equi-Nom (we talked about them on #Tech)

The project, leader by the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University College Cork in Ireland, will study how to extract proteins by fermentation of food waste originated by pasta, bread and beer.

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