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Global Plant-Based Giants and How They Fared in 2023

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The plant-based food has continued to enjoy success and growth in 2023, thanks to consumers increasingly seeking out more sustainable and healthy food options. As a result, the world’s largest plant-based food companies capitalized on this trend, with many reporting record sales and profits.

Now, we take a look at who looks set to close 2023 as major plant-based players and what in 2023 has secured them their continued success.

US plant-based giants

Beyond Meat

Investment in 2023 (according to Crunchbase): $0

Sales in 2023: Predictions state that Beyond Meat will make between $360 million and $380 million in sales in 2023. This is according to the company’s revised revenue forecast which clearly states that such figures would represent a 9% to 14% decrease when compared to 2022. This is largely attributed to rising inflation and interest rates, in conjunction with the increasingly competitive plant-based meat market.

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Notable achievements: Continued partnerships with large QSR partners including McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and KFC and an increased distribution network that now encompasses more than 85,000 global outlets. Beyond Meat also launched new products in 2023, notably Beyond Chicken Nuggets and Beyond Meatballs, plus Beyond Steak in the UK following a successful unveil in the US.

Fortune Magazine named Beyond Meat as one of the “Most Disruptive Companies in the World”, while Fast Company magazine also named it as one of the most innovative.

Known future plans: Sustainability appears to be a chief concern. The company has revealed that it is working to reduce the environmental impact of its product range and is focused on developing plant-based meat items that require less water and energy to produce.

Impossible foods

Investment in 2023 (according to Crunchbase): $0 (though the company has previously raised more than $1.9 billion.)

Sales in 2023: Impossible Foods has not released its sales figures for 2023 yet. However, in 2022, it declared sales of $460 million. This was 50% up on the previous year and experts claim that this trajectory could continue in 2023 with predictions of sales in excess of $500 million being made.

Notable achievements: Key partnerships with Burger King, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s came alongside heh launch of new products. These releases included Impossible Chicken Nuggets, Impossible Pork, and Impossible Meatballs. The company also launched a new line of plant-based burgers called the Impossible Signature Burgers. As a result of product innovations, Impossible Foods is now served at more than 40,000 restaurants worldwide and sold at 80,000+ global retail locations.

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Impossible Foods was lauded for its achievements in 2023 by multiple organizations, including the World Economic Forum and the TIME100 list.

Known future plans: Like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods has cited a desire to up its sustainability credentials. Alongside, the company plans to explore new markets, such as Africa and South America. To cater to such markets plant-based meat products that are tailored to the specific needs of different cultures are being developed.

Confirmed new products in the works include a new plant-based chicken breast product that is expected to launch in 2024, as is a fresh plant-based beef patty that is hoped to be juicier and more flavorful than its current flagship product. The company is also looking at ways to make its plant-based meat products more affordable and accessible to consumers. In practical terms, this involves Impossible Foods considering selling its products in bulk and offering discounts to low-income households.

European plant-based giants

Oatly

Investment in 2023 (according to Crunchbase): $425 million in post-IPO equity funding on March 15, 2023. JamJar Investments and LionTree led the round with Temasek, Baillie Gifford, and BlackRock (not to be confused with Blackstone, which caused Oatly controversy in 2020) also participating.

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Sales in 2023: Oatly’s sales in 2023 are expected to be between $1.1 billion and $1.2 billion, according to market analysts. This would be an increase of 20% to 25% on 2022’s figures.

Notable achievements: Overall, Oatly has had a very successful 2023. The company is predicted to have increased sales and market share, while also expanding distribution to more than 30 countries. It also launched new products–including cheese– and partnered with major retailers (including Walmart and Target) and restaurants.

Known future plans: Oatly is currently constructing a new factory in Singapore that is expected to be operational next year. When the doors open, it will be the largest oat milk factory in the world. Oatly is also developing a new oat milk ice cream product that is expected to launch in 2024, while making sustainable oat production a priority. The company is working to develop optimal farming practices by partnering with farmers to reduce the environmental impact of oat production.

The Vegetarian Butcher

Investment in 2023 (according to Crunchbase): $0. The Vegetarian Butcher was acquired by Unilever in 2018, making it both extremely well-funded and no longer a privately-held company.

Sales in 2023: Estimations are coming in at between €250 million and €300 million, according to market data. If realized, this will represent a growth of 30% to 40% from the previous year. Such uptick is largely attributed to the growing popularity of plant-based meat as a whole, coupled with the successful expansion into key markets including China and India.

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Notable achievements: Being considered the leading European plant-based company and enjoying a global footprint in more than 30 countries. New product launches included plant-based chicken nuggets, plant-based bacon, and plant-based ground beef, all of which received a positive reception from consumers. The Vegetarian Butcher also partnered with a number of major retailers and restaurants in 2023, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Burger King.

Known future plans: The Vegetarian Butcher made significant progress on its sustainability initiatives in the last year. Critically, the company reduced its water consumption by 50% and its greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. The Vegetarian Butcher is also working to develop more sustainable farming practices and to reduce its waste, initiatives that will permeate all other plans.

New products are in the pipeline with a reported focus on seafood and fish analogs. To support the development of new lines, the company is building a new factory in the United States that is expected to be operational in 2024. Claims suggest that it will be the largest plant-based meat factory anywhere in the world.

Heura

Investment in 2023 (according to Crunchbase): €3,400,000 in equity crowdfunding on May 22, 2023.

Sales in 2023: 2022 was a record-breaking year for Heura with its sales increasing on the previous 12 months by 80%. Experts predict that 2023 could see this trend repeated, leading to a €100 million sales period.

Notable achievements: Expansion into new markets proved successful with Heura moving into the United Kingdom, France, and Italy in 2023. Such moves were supported by the launch of new products with plant-based chorizo, sausages, and fish all proving popular. Heura also secured partnerships with a number of major retailers and restaurants in 2023, including Waitrose, Domino’s Pizza, and Burger King.

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Known future plans: Following profitable expansion in 2023, Heura is planning to reach into Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden in 2024. Asia and Latin America are expected to follow suit.

APAC plant-based giants

OmniFoods

Investment in 2023 (according to Crunchbase): $100 million from a Series C funding round that closed on March 8, 2023. The round was led by EDBI, with Temasek Holdings, Horizons Ventures, and Blue Horizon Ventures participating alongside.

Sales in 2023: Sales figures are not yet available but experts predict that they will represent up to a 50% increase on last year’s figures. It is likely that significant consumer uptick in the US, China, and Japan would be major contributors.

Notable achievements: OmniFoods expanded into Japan and South Korea in 2023 while also launching a number of new products. These included plant-based chicken nuggets and plant-based ground beef. OmniFoods was also named one of the “Most Innovative Companies in the World” by Fast Company magazine.

Known future plans: Omnifoods has announced plans to expand into India and Brazil in 2024.

Tindle

Investment in 2023 (according to Crunchbase): $0

Sales in 2023: Tindle‘s sales in 2023 have not been released, however, the company did announce that it had tripled its store count in Germany since its retail debut in January of 2023. This–plus global footprint expansion–suggests that sales are positive and on an upward trajectory.

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Notable achievements: Tindle enjoyed a particularly positive 2022, branching out into the US and securing what was the largest Series A funding amount for a plant-based meat brand to date. 2023 appears to have been a relatively quiet year that has continued to build on the foundations already laid for global success.

Known future plans: Further expansion into Europe and beyond is expected to be a major priority for Tindle, alongside the diversification of products, potentially including beef and seafood analogs.


Amy Buxton