The Van Trump Report

Big Meat Companies Gobbling Up Alternative Meat Companies

Big meat and food conglomerates are gobbling up producers of meat alternatives according to the latest industry reports. Meat companies such as JBS and Cargill have invested heavily in plant-based proteins and laboratory-grown meats in recent years and bought out several smaller companies. Other companies investing heavily in the space also include Kellog’s, Conagra, Tyson Foods, and NationalBeef Packing.

The big concern right now amongst consumers and political activists is that the “fake meat” market might end up being controlled by a handful of current big-name players similar to our live meats. They simply point to the beef industry, where four companies, JBS, Cargill, Tyson Foods, and National Beef Packing control roughly 85% of the entire industry. In fact, there are some reports circulating today that already a handful of large corporate conglomerates own approximately 80% of the fake meat industry.

It’s worth noting that those opposed to so much power in the hands of a few say that plant-based meats will hardly be an alternative to the current system if they continue to fall into the hands of today’s entrenched corporate powers. 

Philip Howard, an associate professor at Michigan State University and lead author of the IPES-Food report, says you need to keep in mind that with most of these products you won’t see the parent company’s name on the label, so people buying meat alternative products may not realize they’re supporting those big companies. On top of that, for the time being, US federal regulators are doing little to stop consolidation in the sector.

Personally, I think this is what happens in a free-market economy. I see it more as a “natural cycle” and of course, the larger powers-that-be in the food industry are going to have the upper-hand. Why should Cargill, Tyson, National Beef, JBS, Conagra, or Kellogs be punished or penalized? Why would they not be allowed to invest or participate in these new alternative meat brands? 

At the end of the day, a free-market will dictate whether on not the smaller players in the space can actually survive with the help of the larger vessels in the water. I suspect the independence that so many entrepreneurs desire will be fleeting once they figure out and learn that the conglomerates have partnerships and deep distribution lines with major grocery chains and distributors, meaning anyone looking to expand their meat alternatives beyond their local neighborhood might find it extremely difficult without their help and bridges they have built. 

Bottom line, I think having the large conglomerates come in only further validates the space and might actually help provide a bridge of some sort between the old and the new. Lots to think about with more moving pieces than ever in the alternative meat space… I’m hoping the bigger players getting involved can somehow help our traditional livestock industry. Time will tell… (Source:,,

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