Companies making plant-based milk and meat products are heating up

Hot on the heels of Beyond Meat, the plant-based burger company that scored the most successful IPO of 2019, I see the beginnings of a non-dairy milk war. Producers of plant-based milk substitutes are racking up record sales of products made from oats, peas, soy, almond, coconut and rice.

In July, Blackstone, Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman, Howard Schultz and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation took a 10% stake in the Swedish oat milk company Oatly at a $2 billion valuation. The market is potentially huge and while Oatly is clearly the front runner with sales in 2019 of $200 million, investors are sniffing around other dairy substitute companies, realizing there will be many other creams in the crop. Noops, a newcomer offering non-dairy oatmilk desserts, closed a $2 million seed funding round in July led by 25Madison.

Meanwhile, Beyond Meat is still on fire. Its second quarter sales, announced August 4, jumped 69% to $113 million. Its main rival, Impossible Foods, creators of the plant-based Impossible Burger and Impossible Sausage, increased distribution from 150 grocery stores in March to 5,000 stores and 22,000 restaurants in July.

We are in the middle of a huge transition to plant-based alternatives – first from meat, and now dairy. Venture investors, more used to the clean technology of enterprise software, cloud and edge computing, have smelled the winds of change in the multibillion-dollar food industry and they are ready for a scrap.

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