USA: Why Cargill is doubling down on plant based protein

ESS-FEED Jun 19, 2023

Cargill Plant Based Protein

Discover how Cargill, the leading privately held US company, is revolutionizing the plant-based protein market. Explore their strategic investments, partnerships, and long-term approach, positioning them as a formidable player in shaping the future of sustainable food.

Cargill, the largest privately held company in the U.S., is actively investing in the plant-based food sector, anticipating a significant increase in protein demand in the coming decades. With its extensive experience in the agribusiness industry and a diverse portfolio that includes lab-grown meat alternatives, Cargill is positioning itself for long-term success.


The Shift in the Plant-Based Protein Market

While the plant-based protein market experienced a slight decline in sales in 2022 after years of rapid growth, Cargill remains optimistic about the future. Recognizing the need for 70% more protein consumption over the next 25 to 30 years, Cargill’s Chief Technology Officer, Florian Schattenmann, emphasizes the necessity of meeting this demand with alternative protein sources.

Cargill’s Approach and Competitive Advantage: Unlike early disruptors like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, Cargill entered the plant-based meat industry later but is strategically positioning itself to thrive. With its extensive resources and capabilities, Cargill can invest significantly more capital in plant-based products compared to its competitors. While other traditional meat companies hesitate to invest in the plant-based sector, Cargill sees an opportunity to gain a competitive edge.


Expansion in the Plant-Based Protein Market

Cargill has been steadily expanding its plant-based/alternative-protein food business by collaborating with food-tech startups and investing in key players in the industry. These partnerships enable Cargill to enhance its in-house research and development efforts, leveraging external expertise to drive innovation. Investments in companies like Cubiq Foods, Puris, Enough, and Bflike demonstrate Cargill’s commitment to diversifying its protein offerings.


Challenges and Future Outlook

Despite the plant-based meat market facing challenges, including lackluster consumer demand and price competitiveness, Cargill remains focused on overcoming these obstacles. The company aims to deliver plant-based products that offer a comparable taste and texture to traditional meat, at competitive prices. While it may take time to convince consumers who were initially dissatisfied with early plant-based options, Cargill’s long-term strategy and financial capabilities position it as a formidable player in the industry.


Cargill’s calculated approach to the plant-based protein market reflects the industry’s trajectory, where taste, affordability, and consumer preferences play vital roles. As the demand for sustainable and plant-based options grows, Cargill aims to leverage its expertise and scale to meet the evolving needs of consumers. With a focus on innovation, strategic partnerships, and long-term investments, Cargill is poised to shape the future of the plant-based protein industry.

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Alarming Drop in Dutch Meat Sales

ESS FEED Jun 16, 2023 

Discover the concerning trend of declining meat sales in Dutch supermarkets. Higher prices, changing consumer habits, and a rise in plant-based alternatives contribute to this shift. Explore the implications and potential impact on the industry.



In recent years, Dutch consumers have been shifting their purchasing preferences and eating habits, leading to a significant decline in supermarket sales, particularly in the meat category. According to a new research study conducted by ABN AMRO, retailers in the Netherlands have experienced a continuous decrease in meat sales for nine consecutive quarters. This article delves into the factors contributing to the decline in meat sales and explores the changing landscape of consumer behavior in Dutch supermarkets.


The Decline in Meat Sales

Over the past few years, meat consumption in the Netherlands has been steadily decreasing. The ABN AMRO study revealed that meat sales have dropped by 13% compared to the first quarter of 2019. This decline is attributed to several factors, including higher prices and lower purchasing power. Rising costs have made consumers more price-conscious and compelled them to explore alternative options.

Read: Costco Customers Opt for Affordable Meat Alternatives

Shifting Consumer Preferences

Dutch consumers have started adopting new eating habits to cope with the rising prices of meat products. The ABN AMRO study found that consumers are increasingly opting for cheaper alternatives like pasta and potatoes while reducing their meat consumption. In addition, consumers are cutting back on snacking and minimizing food waste. Many are also turning to discounters and private-label products to stretch their budgets further.


Environmental and Animal Welfare Concerns

The decline in meat sales aligns with the changing attitudes of Dutch consumers towards sustainability and animal welfare. In a 2019 survey, 40% of respondents indicated that they were consuming less meat. Environmental and animal welfare concerns were cited as the primary motivations for reducing meat consumption. The study also highlighted a growing trend of vegetarianism and veganism, with 10% of respondents identifying as vegetarians and 7% as vegans.

The Rise of Plant-Based Alternatives

Last year, plant-based meat options became more affordable than conventional meat in the Netherlands. The study indicated that while animal meat prices rose by a significant 21% between February and June 2022, the cost of plant-based alternatives increased by only 2%. This affordability factor, coupled with the sustainable and ethical aspects of plant-based products, has contributed to their rising popularity among Dutch consumers.

Impact of Raw Material Scarcity

The study also highlighted the environmental impact of meat production. It revealed that producing one kilogram of meat requires up to ten kilograms of grain, making it highly dependent on raw materials. In times of scarcity, disruptions in the world market can significantly impact meat prices. On the other hand, plant-based meat alternatives prove to be more efficient and resilient in the face of such disruptions.



The Netherlands is witnessing a noteworthy decline in supermarket sales, particularly in the meat category. Higher prices, reduced purchasing power, and changing consumer attitudes towards sustainability and animal welfare have contributed to this shift. Dutch consumers are opting for more affordable alternatives, reducing meat consumption, and exploring plant-based options. As the landscape continues to evolve, supermarkets and meat producers will need to adapt their strategies to meet the changing demands and preferences of consumers in the Netherlands.