French Plant-Based Protein Maker Roquette Sees Short-Term COVID-19 Impact

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The plant-based protein market has seen a slowdown in new product launches and lower sales in restaurants and cafeterias due to COVID-19 but benefited from more people cooking at home and trying new products, French manufacturer Roquette said.

The market for plant-based protein such as meat-free burgers has surged in the past few years, attracting major investment from global agrifood groups, including Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill and Nestle, hoping to capitalize on a trend towards healthy eating generally, including less red meat.

But lockdowns around the world to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has shaken the market, Jean-Philippe Azoulay, Head of Pea and New Proteins Business at French ingredient maker Roquette, told Reuters in an interview.

“Long term were are not worried, this is a trend which is not going to reverse but short term there is some uncertainty,” he said.

Azoulay said there had been a sharp slowdown in new products due to the fact that many companies had to shut down laboratories, including Roquette.

The family-run company, which signed a three-year supply agreement with U.S. plant-based burger maker Beyond Meat to end-2022, is due to open the world’s largest pea protein factory in Manitoba, Canada, later this year.

Azoulay said sales to foodservice outlets, including restaurants and cafeterias, were also severely impacted by the crisis.

But it also led to increased demand for plant-based protein food in supermarkets, with people doing more cooking and trying new recipes, which could prove positive for the sector long-term.

Source: Reuter

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