Vegetable proteins: Vegeat, the Quebec option
Vegeat has just made a major breakthrough on the market. The young Montreal sprout launches a first Quebec alternative to vegetarian meatballs, and American, Beyond Meat and Lightlife. Its two vegetable protein products will be offered exclusively on Sobeys tablets.
S ylvain Charlebois, Professor of Distribution and Agri-Food Policy at Dalhousie University, was sorry that Beyond Meat was not Canadian. The country is one of the world’s largest pea producers, whose protein is one of the key ingredients in vegetable protein products. But Beyond Meat has become the scout, he believes.
IGA and Rachelle-Béry will be the first points of sale. The start-up business of five employees is targeting the same markets as its US counterparts, adding manufacturers to its list of future customers. Its vegetable mince could thus be used for making a commercial spaghetti sauce, for example. More than one company would have approached the company, indicates its president, François Cardinal.
The price for two Beyond Meat dumplings: $ 8. Vegeat products will be available for $ 5.99 for two patties and $ 9.99 for vegetable mincemeat. The idea, according to Cardinal, is to democratize plant protein. “It must be made accessible everywhere, at a lower cost, in an efficiency and quality of production.”
Vegeat is one of the winning innovations at the Dux Grand Prix, which recognizes healthy eating initiatives held in Montreal in January 2019.
Yellow peas, coconut oil, beets, citrus fiber, carrots, tapioca: Vegeat products are GMO-free, soy-free and allergen free, depending on the company. Unlike nuts, pea protein is not labeled as a food allergen on Canadian products. However, it can also cause allergies.
Open the market
By being on the shelves of the entire Sobeys group, with “a more sustained marketing effort in the IGA and Rachelle-Béry of Quebec and New Brunswick,” Vegeat opens a door on a pan-Canadian network. And already, the company is solicited by the United States, Brazil and Japan.
The company is currently in discussion with “some major fast food chains present in Quebec,” which still do not offer pellets based on vegetable proteins, says Cardinal. These agreements are expected to close in September.
Vegeat products will display the “Made in Quebec” logo, have not received any grant or financial assistance through a program.
The company is already working on new products, always 100% vegetable and allergen-free. Sausages will be marketed among others.
Vegetable protein, a heavy trend
“The vegetable protein market is not fleeting, like gluten-free,” says François Cardinal. This is a serious trend that will be intertwined with consumers’ eating habits. ”
Maple Leaf completed the acquisition of Lightlife in 2017. Tyson Foods, the largest exporter of US beef, had invested in Beyond Meat in 2016. It had disposed of its shares for US $ 79 million one week before Beyond Meat’s IPO in May. Then, in June, Tyson Foods announced it was going into the “fake meat” industry, selling pea-based chicken nuggets.
“Meat companies will definitely be going into plant protein,” says Cardinal. They will have to fill the market shares gained by this new industry.