Future Farm, the first Brazilian company to produce plant meat, recently launched into the European market through Netherlands based Future Food Group with plans to become a global player in the plant-based industry. The company has just been selected as one of the most changing ideas of 2020 by Fast Company.
The startup is known as Fazenda Futuro in its home country of Brazil where its “true meat replicas based on plants” have already proven to be hugely popular. Founder Marcos Leta says that his “goal is to be one of the largest players in plant-based products and bring joy to everyone’s belly and the planet.”
We spoke with Marcos about his upcoming plant meat brand and its entrance into the global market.
What is your current portfolio?
Today we have 4 products: Future Burger, Future Ground Beef, Future MeatBalls and our novelty from April: Future Sausage.
Can you give us a little background on how your products were initially received in Brazil (and other Latin American countries?) and how the sales are going now?
We launched Future Burger 1.0 in May 2019, and with our focus on execution we generated experimentation at many points of sale in Brazil. The brand was very well accepted, and we became the leader in plant-based in Brazil, giving a complete experience to our customers.
In your opinion, is it true to say that South America is becoming an important market for plantbased industry, and why?
I believe that we still have a lot of work to build the category in South America. Many products still with old technology which slows down to the category.
Are you aiming for the vegan or the omnivore? Is this even still a relevant question in these times; should we be looking at protein as something more all-encompassing for which we should find a global solution?
Our product is for everyone. But our goal is to make meatpackers obsolete. My competitors are the meatpackers and not the vegan industry.
You have said that Fazenda Futuro / Future Farm creates “true meat replicas based on plants” – please tell us exactly what that means and what sets your products apart from the rest.
We use and we are developing new extrusion technologies and new extracts and natural flavours that will increase our distance from global competitors.
Brazil is the largest vegetable producer in the world, and the industry did not understand that great knowledge is here.
After your success in Brazil you have stated that it is “time to conquer the rest of the world,” and also that you have an “obligation to be a global player in the plant-based industry” – please expand on this and tell us about your expansion plans and ideas for the future.
We have a focus: to become a global plant-based player with a cool brand, quality products and competitive price.
The American brands can sell their products at high prices in the United States. This will not happen in the rest of the world. In addition, there is a clear opportunity for brand creation.
What we also perceive as positive is that VCs started to look at companies that have execution and cool brands and less storytelling. But there is still a lot of work to be done in this category, in terms of branding. It is almost the same as Coca-Cola and Pepsi when they appeared more than 100 years ago.
Where next after Europe, and when?
We have some news, but we will move forward when we release our version 3.0 (later this year)
Another quote – (you are very quoteworthy!) – “Our goal is to be one of the largest players in plant-based products and bring joy to everyone’s belly and the planet.” – can you explain this a little and tell us which players you plan to be on a par with?
Every market has some players, we want to create a unique brand and bring a more real and joyful experience to this category.
Tell us about the “sausage of the future” and why you have used algae to make the skin.
Future Sausage is a sausage with a blend of 3 vegetables and we use a seaweed skin to give the same crispness and pig skin experience. It is our best product today that already uses our new process technologies.
In your opinion, what is the future of the meat industry and what part will plant-based have to play in it?
Looking at all the events that are happening globally, like covid-19 and the other viruses that came from animals like ebola, HIV, malaria, zika; at the right time, the media will have to address this discussion about our consumption of animals meat. And my suggestion here is to exclude activism or veganism from this discussion, so as not to “blind” people; this is not about veganism, but about a change in consumption that will need to be made, so that new pandemics will not happen. We are already very late.
Plant-based will be a healthy option in this market.
Where do you see Future Farms in 5 years?
If we continue to innovate and increase the difference of our competitors, we will have a large space in this category.
Finally, one last quote from you! “We have come to the market with an obvious objective, to lead the transformation in a category that has never brought innovation to the consumer, and to work with technology and purpose without causing any negative impact on the environment. We are here to change the refrigerated shelves once and for all.” As part of this vision, how do you see the category after such a transformation – how will the refrigerated shelf look?
I believe that the category is still in the beginning. We still have a lot of work ahead as a category. In the future, plant-based will be seen as a “new breed” of meat, and much more the space of meat will be reduced as well as frozen products that use animal meat.
Anything else which you would like to tell our readers about at this time?
I usually say that we are a TECH company, but also a FOOD company. We must never forget the execution to create this market.