Eat Beyond adds Above Food to growing portfolio of alternative protein brands

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages / NatashaPhoto
©GettyImages / NatashaPhoto

Related tags plant-based Eat Beyond

Vancouver, Canada-based Eat Beyond Global Holdings has completed an investment in Above Food Inc.– a distributor of plant-based ingredients and finished products – adding the company to its publicly-traded portfolio of emerging alternative protein companies.

Founded in 2019, Above Food​ develops and distributes premium whole plant ingredients for meat and dairy alternatives. The company merged with Purely Canada Foods in 2020 to create plant-based products made from sustainable and traceable sources of heirloom pulses and ancient grains in North America.

Above Food's merger with Purely Canada Foods expanded its current customer network to more than 300 food and beverage manufacturers across 35 countries including many leading plant-based brands.

As a vertically-integrated company, Above Food complements the rest of Eat Beyond's portfolio, which includes pioneers in the alternative proteins space such as Eat JUST Inc. (maker of mung-bean based JUST Egg) and Singapore-based cell-based agriculture companies TurtleTree Pte. Ltd. and SingCell Tx Pte, said Eat Beyond CEO Patrick Morris, noting that the growth Above Food had achieved in just two years made it an attractive investment.

"The more we looked and dug into the fundamentals of their business, the more we were impressed,"​ Morris told FoodNavigator-USA. 

"Last year they generated CA$127m in sales and their existing client base is very impressive,"​ Morris said, noting that Above Food's customers include McDonald's, ADM, TreeHouse Foods, Post Foods, and other major players in the food industry. 

"These are big food names and it just seems like they had done so much in such a short period of time."

Stock performance

Eat Beyond Global Holdings​, which launched onto the Canadian Stock Exchange in 2020 trading under the symbol 'EATS' at a share price of CA$0.50 and today is trading at just above CA$4.00 per share. 

"We've had an incredibly robust response in the public market,"​ said Morris, who added that Eat Beyond will soon launch a US publicly-traded listing. 

"We anticipate doing another capital raise in the next few months to increase the size of our pool of funds, and we absolutely will be investing in more companies and expanding our portfolio,"​ added Morris. 

Brand ambitions

While B2B is the backbone of Above Food's business, Morris believes that with the right marketing and strong management, the company will succeed as a plant-based consumer brand over the next one to years. 

According to the Good Food Institute (GFI), plant-based food sales are growing at a rate of 14 times faster that total food sales and the category as a whole reached $5bn in 2019 (full retail sales numbers for 2020 aren't in yet, although GFI does note that the pandemic caused a major impact on sales with fresh plant-based meat growing 454% in week of March 28, 2020 vs. the same week in 2019).

Beginning this year, the company will also be launching its own B2C product line that includes plant-based meats, plant-based dairy, plant-based baby food, and plant-based bakery.

In October 2020, Above Food announced the creation of its proprietary 'Whole-Plant Protein Formulations' for the B2C market which it planned to launch following a multi-category approach targeting plant-based meats (Above Meat), plant-based dairy (Above Dairy), plant-based baby food (Above Baby, which will produce toddler cereals and purees), and plant-based bakery (Above Bakery making plant-based protein buns and pizzas).

In terms of its first products to come to market, Above Food said it will introduce a line of refrigerated plant protein burger patties – named Above Smokehouse Burgers, refrigerated ground plant protein meat called Above Grounds, and refrigerated plant protein sausages – Above Brats.

"What we've built is truly disruptive. The ability to have custody of these new proteins, including lentils, chickpeas, fava, peas and oats, from seed all the way through to the end consumers dinner plates, allows us to create nutrient density and superior functional performance across our B2B, Advanced Ingredient, and B2C lines of our business,"​ said Lionel Kambeitz, executive chairman and CEO, Above Food.


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