The oversubscribed round announced today, led by Post Holdings and Singaporean investment group TRIREC, along with other plant-forward investors, will help Hungry Planet meet “pent up demand” for its plant-based meat and seafood by expanding distribution domestically and abroad “to any venue that a consumer wants to purchase them,” co-founder and CEO Todd Boyman told FoodNavigator-USA.
“While working to perfect our full range of plant-based meats over the last several years with select partners in foodservice across the globe, we ended up developing a loyal cult following with consumers. Word spread amongst those in the know about the unparalleled quality, nutritionals and variety,” Boyman said. “Most diners who try our meals in a restaurant immediately want to know how to order them for consumption at home, so the multi-channel approach is important both to us and our consumers.”
He added: “This created significant pent up demand and the need to find partnerships to drive rapid expansion of availability.”
Already available in foodservice, where Hungry Planet saw volume double from the start of the year through the end of the first quarter, and online at Costco.com and Amazon, Boyman said the brand is poised to “launch big in retail” with distribution in select national grocery chains late in the second quarter and start of the third.
This rapid expansion is possible in large part thanks to Hungry Planet’s partnership with Post Holdings, which “can offer expertise in everything from sourcing raw materials to scaling production faster to making strategic introductions,” said co-founder Jody Boyman.
“Post can help us gain access to resources and remove barriers to scale that ultimately allows us to stay laser focused on continuing to set the standard for the best quality plant-based meats,” she added.
As Hungry Planet works with Post to scale efficiently, its partnership with TRIREC “offers a really valuable perspective on global markets, especially the dynamic Southeast Asia region, which is booming,” said Todd Boyman.
“The demand for plant-based meats is a global trend, and our intention from day one was to create a complete range of meat proteins that would meet the culinary requirements of cuisines throughout the world. With meats such as pork, chicken, lamb and crab included in our range, we are ideally positioned to work in markets like Asia where these are the leading meat proteins,” he explained.
“Having an investment partner who is based in Asia, and shares our values for creating more sustainable and healthier food system, is a huge benefit as we work to deliver solutions globally,” he added.
Diversity, improved nutrition are key to ‘bending the curve on personal and planetary health’
Hungry Planet’s portfolio of plant-based proteins stands out in the rapidly developing category because of its nutritional profile compared to other competitors and diversity – two factors that Todd Boyman said are key to the company’s mission of “bending the curve on personal and planetary health.”
He explained: “When a person eats a 4 oz portion of our meat instead of a 4 oz portion of conventional meat, they reduce their fat intake by 19 grams, reduce calories by 137, and eliminate all of the saturated fat; all while getting 22 grams of protein and 6 grams of dietary fiber. Doing that once a week contributes to the personal health part of our mission.
“Similarly, because our meats generate 89% fewer greenhouse gases, use 91% less water, and use 79% less land, every bite also helps planetary health. For us being a mission driven business requires that mission and strategy are one set of goals.”
Jody Boyman added that a key value proposition of Hungry Planet is its line-up of nine proteins on the market, including chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, crab, Italian sausage, chorizo and breakfast sausage. In addition to offering naturally flavored proteins that are not pre-seasoned for specific applications, the company also offers several value-added products, including precooked meatballs, sliced grilled chicken, crispy fried chicken breast and pork gyoza.
“This is in stark contrast to other plant-based meat companies which are really just focused on burgers and some sausage. We allow people to eat what they love – and most people love a wide variety of meats in a wide variety of cuisines,” Jody Boyman said. “There is no reason eating plant-based should limit people’s options, and with Hungry Planet we unleashed culinary freedom to enjoy craveable, plant-based meats in any cuisine.”
Notable inclusions in Hungry Planet’s line-up include whole cuts of plant-based chicken and seafood – two areas that have come into the spotlight recently, fueling calls for more innovation and options in these areas.
“Chicken is the second most consumed animal protein on the planet (pork is the first), and it’s the fastest growing protein in foodservice, and a key growth area of plant-based meats,” Jody Boyman said. “We think chicken in particular is the next big growth area for plant-based meats.”
She explained: “People have tried a plant-based burger and like the experience, so naturally they want the same plant-based benefits in a broader assortment, specifically a chicken sandwich. This is one of the biggest growth opportunities for plant-based meat in 2021.”
While not in as high demand yet, Jody Boyman added that Hungry Planet sees increasing demand for its crab cake and crab meat in foodservice for products like sushi. And she predicts this will continues – especially with the recent documentary Seaspiracy elevating the discussion about sustainable seafood.
Consumer demand for plant-based proteins is growing, evolving
Looking forward, the Boymans believe Hungry Planet is well poised to lead growth in the plant-based meat segment, which they project will represent 10% of the total meat category in the next two to three years.
As that demand increases, consumers will want more premium quality, superior nutrition and a wider variety of options – all of which they say Hungry Planet delivers.