10 Things Investors Should Know about the Plant-Based Foods Market
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10 Things Investors Should Know about the Plant-Based Foods Market

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10 things investors should know about the plant-based food market Part 1 of 6
Why the 2020s are a watershed decade for plant-based alternatives Part 2 of 6
Plant-based meat vs. animal meat Part 3 of 6
 From bean to burger 4 of 6
Plant-based consumer potential 5 of 6
5 innovations in plant-based technology 6 of 6

The following content is sponsored by The Very Good Food Company

Company Spotlight

What Investors Should Know about the Plant-Based Foods Market

Plant-based foods are gaining traction—and fast.

By 2030, the global plant-based food market is expected to reach $161.9 billion in value. That’s a 355% increase compared to 2021.

Interested in investing in this rapidly expanding industry? This graphic from The Very Good Food Company (VGFC) highlights what you should know on the future of the plant-based food market.

1. Consumers are Becoming More Health Conscious

As plant-based foods grow in popularity and more product options become available, consumers have started to become more selective about the types of products they’re willing to purchase.

For many consumers, health is a key consideration when making purchasing decisions. A global survey revealed that, out of 8,500 respondents, over 50% were vegan for health reasons.

But not just any plant-based product will cut it. Consumers are starting to hold businesses to a higher standard, with an expectation that plant-based products have high nutritional value, low salt content, and good quality protein.

2. Consumers are Becoming More Socially Conscious

Consumers are also becoming more educated on environmental issues, and how plant-based diets can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the same survey as above, almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents were vegan for environmental and sustainability reasons.

Some experts believe this figure will only increase, as the impacts of climate change become more apparent across the globe.

3. An Influx in Plant-Based Tech Innovation

With consumer demand growing and expectations for the plant-based food industry evolving, new technological advancements in this space are rapidly emerging.

For instance, the cell-cultured meat market is gaining traction fast. Cell-culture meat is meat that’s grown in a lab from the cells of animals. It’s biologically identical to traditional meat.

While cell-cultured meat has yet to hit the commercial market on a mass scale, several start-ups have gone public, such as MeaTech3D, Mosa Meat, and UPSIDE Foods. Recently, MeaTech announced its plans to start pre-production of cell-cultured chicken fat by 2022.

In the next 20 years, cell-cultured meat usage is expected to skyrocket. In fact, it could make up 35% of the global meat market by 2040, which would cause conventional meat’s market share to decrease drastically.

4. Diversifying Plant-Based Market

In addition to meat alternatives, other plant-based alternatives are gaining popularity as well, especially egg substitutes and spreads. In 2020, plant-based egg sales in the U.S. reached $27 million, a 167.8% increase compared to the year prior.

Category2020 SalesYoY growth
Plant-based eggs$27 million167.80%
Plant-based milk$2.5 billion20.40%
Plant-based cheese$270 million42.50%
Plant-based spreads, dips, sauces$61 million83.40%

While egg substitutes and spreads are growing fast, plant-based milk remains the most popular product category when it comes to overall sales, making up 35% of the total plant-based foods market.

5. Retailers Push Plant-Based

Retailers are starting to take note of the rising popularity of plant-based products, and are integrating plant-based foods into their offerings as a result.

For example, Tesco, the UK’s biggest grocery store brand, expects to see sales of plant-based products grow 300% by 2025. And Unilever, one of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers, expects to generate $1.2 billion from plant-based meat and dairy sales in the next five to seven years—around 5x more than their 2020 sales revenue for alternatives.

6. Plant-Based Companies are Growing Fast

Since the market is booming, many plant-based food companies are experiencing significant growth. For instance, The Very Good Food Company, a Canadian plant-based food company, saw its revenue increase by 680% from Q1 2020 to Q1 2021.

In that same timeframe, VGFC’s product sales increased by 77%, and its eCommerce sales increased by 1744%. More growth is on the horizon since the company recently closed a $70 million loan agreement with Waygar Capital and Ninepoint Partners to help expand operations.

7. More Consumers are Becoming Flexitarians

Not everyone is transitioning to a fully plant-based lifestyle.

As the benefits of plant-based diets become more apparent, more people are starting to limit their meat intake, or have become flexitarians—people who primarily eat a plant-based diet, but occasionally eat meat or fish.

In fact, almost one-third of Americans have reduced their meat and dairy consumption, and consider themselves flexitarians.

Category% of Survey Respondents
Omnivore65%
Flexitarian29%
Vegetarian4%
Vegan2%

Being a flexitarian is becoming easier than ever, as plant-based products become more accessible, and the taste of meat alternatives improves.

8. Restaurants are Adopting More Plant-Based Options

Because of consumer demand, restaurants are adjusting and creating more inclusive menus with diverse vegan, vegetarian, and dairy-free options for their guests.

A&W, a popular Canadian fast-food chain, launched its plant-based burger back in 2018. Because of its popularity, the restaurant is expanding its plant-based menu options by adding Beyond Meat nuggets to the menu.

9. Younger Generations are Prioritizing Plant-Based Eating

The plant-based movement has been largely driven by younger generations.

In a survey of over 1,200 respondents, 22% of Millennials said they’d adopted a vegetarian lifestyle at some point in their lives, compared to just 13% of Gen Xers, and 11% of Baby Boomers.

And many Millennials, even if they haven’t gone full plant-based, were attempting to limit their meat intake—45% of Millennial respondents claimed they were actively trying to reduce their meat consumption.

Gen Z however are the driving force behind the plant-based movement with 79% of them claiming to eat plant-based once or twice per week.

10. Governments Are Supporting the Plant-Based Industry

Independent businesses aren’t the only players getting behind the plant-based boom—governments are stepping up to support this rapidly growing industry as well.

For example, the Canadian government recently announced plans to invest $150 million in the plant-based foods industry, signing a deal with Protein Industries Canada. This funding will go towards plant-based food manufacturing, research and development, and tech innovation.

The Future is Plant-Based

There are multiple drivers supporting the rapidly growing plant-based food industry, and because of this, more growth is expected in the near future.

Companies like VGFC are at the forefront of this movement, providing products that don’t sacrifice taste and aren’t highly processed.

Click here to learn more about the VGFC and their wide array of product offerings.

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ESG Data: The Four Motivations Driving Usage

ESG controversies can damage a company’s value, but ESG data may be able to help manage this risk. What are other reasons for using ESG data?

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ESG Data: The Four Motivations Driving Usage

Data is key to the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) revolution. Access to granular ESG data can help boost transparency for market participants. Unfortunately, 63% of U.S. and European asset managers say a lack of quantitative data inhibits their ESG implementation.

Being clear on the potential application of this data is equally important.

  • Investors and banks can use ESG data for risk assessment, to spot opportunities, and to push companies for change.
  • Companies can publish their own ESG data, quantify progress on their ESG goals, and use data to inform decisions.
  • Policymakers can use ESG data to inform regulatory frameworks and measure policy effectiveness.

This graphic from ICE, the second in a three part series on the ESG toolkit, explores four primary motivations of ESG data users.

1. Right Thing

The objective: Having a positive social or environmental impact.

For investors, this can involve screening out companies that conflict with their values and selecting companies that align with their ESG objectives.

As another example, it can involve comparing the social impact of municipal bonds. One way investors can measure social impact is through scores that quantify the potential socioeconomic need of an area, using metrics like poverty and education levels. Here are the social impact scores for three actual municipal bonds issued in Florida.

StateBond IssuerSocial Impact Score
(Higher = larger potential impact)
FloridaIssuer #176.5
FloridaIssuer #266.6
FloridaIssuer #343.2

Issuer #1’s bond is projected to have a community impact that is nearly twice as high/positive as Issuer #3’s bond.

For companies, doing the right thing can include assessing their progress on ESG goals and benchmarking themselves to peers. For example, gender and racial representation is a growing area of focus.

2. Risk

The objective: Managing ESG risks, such as climate and reputational risks.

For investors, this can involve back-testing or analysis around specific risk events before they materialize. Here are the risk profiles of two actual municipal bonds in California. The shown bonds are practically identical in many ways, except their wildlife score.

 Issuer #1Issuer #2
Current Coupon Rate5.0%5.0%
Maturity DateAug 01, 2048August 01, 2048
S&P RatingAAAA
Price to Date (Call Date)Aug 01, 2027Aug 01, 2027
Price122.0122.0
Yield1.0%1.0%
Wildfire Score (Higher = more risk)3.62.7

Managing ESG risk can also involve analyzing a company’s policies and governance for weaknesses. This is important as an ESG controversy can have long-lasting effects on the valuation of a company.

In one study, companies with ESG controversies dropped more than 10% in value relative to the S&P 500. They hadn’t fully recovered a year after the incident.

3. Revenue

The objective: Targeting outperformance through ESG analysis.

Selecting companies with strong ESG data can align with long-term growth trends and may help boost performance. For heavy emitting industries, research indicates that European companies with lower emissions trade at much higher valuations. The chart below shows companies’ price-to-book ratio relative to the Stoxx 600* sector median.

 UtilitiesEnergyMaterials
Above Median Emission Intensity (Bad)1.91.12.0
Below Median Emissions Intensity (Good)2.71.92.1

*The Stoxx 600 Index represents large, mid and small capitalization companies across 17 countries of the European region: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Energy companies with low emissions trade at a valuation nearly two times higher than energy companies with high emissions.

4. Regulation

The objective: Understanding and complying with relevant ESG regulation.

The International Sustainability Standards Board has announced a global reporting proposal aligned with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). In addition, a growing number of jurisdictions will require organizational reporting that aligns with the TCFD.

  • Brazil
  • European Union
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • UK

Not only that, a European Union regulation known as Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) came into effect in 2021. It seeks greater transparency in disclosures from firms marketing investment products. Even firms located outside the EU could be impacted if they serve EU customers. In total, the market cap of these non-EU companies exposed to SFDR amounts to $3.2 trillion.

Matching ESG Data with Motivation

There will be growing demand for transparent data as ESG investing flourishes. To remain competitive, investors, policymakers, and companies need access to ESG data that meets their unique objectives.

In Part 3 of the ESG Toolkit series sponsored by ICE, we’ll look at key sustainability index types.

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The Hierarchy of Zero Waste

In a world that generates 2 billion tonnes of waste every year, waste management has become a global concern. Here are some strategies to help guide zero waste policies.

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The Hierarchy of Zero Waste

Many cities have set ambitious zero waste targets in the upcoming decades.

The idea is to have communities where waste generation is avoided, and products are shared, reused, or refurbished.

This graphic, sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies, shows the main strategies and hierarchy to guide zero waste policies.

What is Zero Waste?

In a world that generates approximately 2 billion tons of waste every year, waste management has become a global concern. Thus, countries and cities are increasing efforts to reduce or even eliminate waste when possible.

The Zero Waste International Alliance defines zero waste as “the conservation of all resources  by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”

Becoming a zero waste community, however, is a complex task.

Currently, Sweden recycles 99% of locally-produced waste and is considered the best country in the world when it comes to recycling and reusing waste. However, such results only came after almost 40 years of recycling and reuse policies.

In line with this, here are seven commonly accepted steps you can use to achieve zero waste:

1. Rethink, Redesign Products

The global population consumes 110 billion tons of materials each year, but only 8.6% is reused or recycled. In a zero waste society, single-use products are avoided and products are designed with sustainable practices and materials.

2. Reduce

Consumption must be planned carefully to reduce the unnecessary use of materials. Consumers must choose products that maximize the usable lifespan and opportunities for continuous reuse. Companies must minimize the quantity and toxicity of materials used.

3. Reuse

The value of products is maintained by reusing, repairing, or refurbishing for alternative uses.

4. Recycle

Products are diverted from waste streams and recirculated into use. Resilient local markets are developed, allowing the highest and best use of materials.

5. Material Recovery

Component materials like cement, metals, or asphalt are recovered from mixed waste and collected for other applications.

In the U.S. alone, around 12 million tons of asphalt shingle tear-off waste and installation scrap are generated from roof installation each year. Currently, more than 90% of this is discarded in landfills. This material can be repurposed to create new products like liquid asphalt, fiber, and aggregate.

6. Residuals Management

Waste is biologically stabilized and sent to responsibly managed landfills.

7. Unacceptable

The production of materials that are not recoverable and can negatively impact the environment must be avoided.

Reducing our Climate Impact

Reducing, recycling, and recovering materials can be a key part of a climate change strategy to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 42% of all greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the production and use of goods, including food, products, and packaging.

Even though 100% zero waste may sound difficult to achieve in the near future, a zero waste approach is essential to reduce our impact on the environment.

Northstar Clean Technologies aims to become the leading recovery and reprocessing company for asphalt shingles in North America.

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