UK meatpacker Hilton Food Group has reported that its sales of meatless products increased by 26% between 2019 and 2021. This compares to a growth rate of 14% for the company’s meat and seafood products.
In 2019, Hilton became a 50% shareholder in Dutch plant-based producer Dalco in an attempt to diversify its protein offerings. Then, last September, the company fully acquired Dalco. The rise in plant-based sales helped Hilton’s total revenue rise to £3.3 billion last year, compared to £2.7 billion in 2020.
“This has been a year of delivery and diversification,” said Hilton chief executive Philip Heffer. “Put simply, we want to offer all the proteins people want to put on their plates, in-home and out of home, not just in Europe and Asia, but in North America too.”
Meat processors turn plant-based
As demand for plant-based products increases and meat sales begin to stagnate, a growing number of meat producers are expanding into the alt-protein sector. Meat processing giant Tyson now has an extensive plant-based range, and has invested in several alt-protein companies. Cargill also now has its own plant-based meat line, and has said that alt-protein products are set to reduce the share of conventional meat sales.
“Our analysis is that in … three to four years plant-based will be perhaps 10% of the market. We’re a large beef producer and that is a big part of our portfolio. So there’s some cannibalization that will occur,” said CEO David MacLennan, as reported by Reuters.