Barvecue seizes ‘tremendous opportunities’ in plant-based barbeque, ramps up production at new smokehouse

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: Barvecue
Photo Credit: Barvecue

Related tags plant-based meat plant-based pork BBQ Barbecue

North Carolina-based Barvecue is significantly scaling up production of its plant-based pulled pork line, tapping into an underserved opportunity in the plant-based meat alternative space, says brand founder and CEO Lee Cooper.

The plant-based meat market is rapidly expanding with a plethora of beef and chicken options entering the market from small startups to large CPG firms all vying for their share of the market. However, the smaller market of plant-based pork is also on a rapid trajectory and presents an untapped opportunity for plant-based protein producers such as Barvecue, claims the company.

According to FMI Insights, the global plant-based pork market is projected to rise at a CAGR of 24.0% between 2020 and 2030. By comparison, plant-based chicken and beef are projected to grow at 19.1%​ and 22.7%​ CAGR during the same period, respectively.

As the second most consumed animal protein in the world behind poultry (according to KIT International​), the pork market is primed for plant-based innovation, says Cooper, who sees stealing market share from the traditional animal pork market as the biggest opportunity for Barvecue. 

“Barvecue intends to lead the plant-based barbecue space. More specifically, with our authentic wood-smoked Pulled BVQ, we are out in front with a unique plant-based protein that delivers on great taste, texture and a clean label for this underserved category,”​ Cooper told FoodNavigator-USA.

“For Barvecue that means initially capturing the pulled pork category.”

As a new company in the plant-based meat space, Cooper shared that Barvecue is in the pre-revenue stage with an accelerated path to market in play which includes a new 10,000-square-foot production facility with initial capacity to produce 800,000 lbs per year of Barvecue’s Pulled BVQ (with original sauce), Chopped BVQ (same as pulled, but gluten-free) and Naked versions of both (lightly seasoned, no sauce).

“As we open the new Carolina Smokehouse, we expect to increase revenue and fill capacity quickly,” ​said Cooper.


Delivering on authentic BBQ taste and experience

As a prominent feature of American and global cuisines, Barvecue is intent on delivering on authentic barbecue taste and texture.

“BBQ means a lot of things to people all over the world. It's a huge market that is really about comfort food and connecting with others over that food. The pressure is making sure we execute and seize the opportunity. With our new plant-based smokehouse, we intend to do just that,”​ said Cooper.

The company’s Carolina Smokehouse facility located in North Carolina smokes its plant-based pork (made from a blend of soy, wheat, and sweet potato protein) to mimic the taste, texture, and consumer experience of traditional pulled pork barbecue.

“Our focus is on scaling batch-made authentic wood-smoked plant proteins. We use some old-school processes and apply modern food tech to help with efficiencies and ultimately drive down costs without sacrificing taste, texture, and quality,”​ said Cooper.

Barvecue products are an attractive option to consumers looking to eat more plant-based foods as a serving of Barvecue Pulled BVQ contains 90 calories, 0g of saturated fat, 150 mg of sodium, and 7g of protein per serving.

 Barvecue products come frozen and packaged in 12-ounce bags with six servings per bag.

The company currently sells its products online in bulk quantities (six 12-ounce bags for $69.95) through its direct-to-consumer site. Cooper said while the company is actively continuing to sell online, its expanded production capacity will help Barvecue target retail and foodservice channels where demand for plant-based pulled pork is strong and growing.

“The BBQ space is huge and there is tremendous opportunity for plant-based options. We are here to give everyone the barbecue taste they love in a healthy, environmentally friendly product,”​ said Cooper.

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