Even if you are not into the trend or have no interest in changing your diet, you cannot deny how quickly the plant-based food sector has grown over the past few years. As a matter of fact, this trend has been touted as the fastest growing lifestyle movement. Whatever you call it, it is moving so fast that it is disrupting the traditional food industry.
And that, of course, has forced legacy companies in the food industry to make some changes. Food giant Nestle, for one, has seen the shift in consumer consciousness and made a similar shift to meet them where they are going. To do this, Nestle has just bought the Sweet Earth Natural Foods company. This is a California-based (of course) food company known for vegan meals and snacks made with plant-based proteins.
Nestle comments that nearly half of their current customer base are already looking for more snack options like this, with at least 40 percent open to “reducing their traditional meat consumption.”
Now, meat consumption in the US is already on the decline, and it has been for several decades. Those who have downshifted their meat consumption argue health factors, animal welfare concerns, and environmental factors as their reasons for doing so. Still, the latest studies suggest that at least a third of Americans (that is approximately 100 million people) are making the conscious decision to eat less meat.
With that, Nestle is looking to capitalize.
“One of Nestle’s strategic priorities is to build out our portfolio of vegetarian and flexitarian choices in line with modern health trends. With unique and nutritious food for all times of the day, Sweet Earth gives Nestle a leading position in this emerging space,” explains Nestle USA Chairman and CEO Paul Grimwood, adding that they are acutely aware of the consumer shift towards plant-based proteins.
Even with the acquisition, Sweet Earth founders Kelly and Brian Swette will remain at the helm of the company, acting as an independent firm with corporate support from Nestle USA’s Food Division.
In a statement, Kelly Swette comments on the partnership: “Nestle’s acquisition validates what forward-thinking consumers and retailers have been demanding for a while — more wholesome and sustainable choices.”