COVID-19 Impact on Pharmaceutical Packaging in Chemicals and Materials Industry

COVID-19 Impact on Alternative Protein in Food and Beverage Industry

  • Food & Beverage
  • Sep 29, 2020

COVID-19 Impact on Alternative Protein in Food and Beverage Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic is re-shaping everything around the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every industry around globe in positive or negative ways. The food & beverages industry is also facing the surge in the consumption globally. It has also spotlighted the meat supply and food security globally.

The supply chain disruptions, panic buying and stockpiling are observed in both developed and emerging markets. The companies are taking exciting initiatives such as ‘alternative proteins’ which makes the upgraded version of meat, dairy, plant and crop ingredients, eggs or directly from the animal cells.

The consumers are increasingly adapting to plant-based alternatives in the Spain. The mainstream supermarkets have increasing demand for the vegan meat alternatives.

For instance,

  • The intake of fruits is increasing by more than 66%, vegetables increased by more than 59% and three out of 10 people are consuming more plant-based alternatives than usual.

The United States is the world leader in the alterative protein market. They have produced the high demand and innovative foods with the lower carbon emissions than the animal protein sources by avoiding risk of zoonotic diseases.

In the U.S., in first week of March, the plant-based products sales grew up by 280%. The plant-based meat alternatives are rising with the impossible burgers and beyond the meat findings in the menus of major fast food chains such as Carl’s Jr., Del taco and Burger king. The sale of fresh meat alternatives is growing by 158.3% year-on-year.


covid-19 impact on alternative protein in food and beverage industry

Source: Article- How is coronavirus impacting plant-based meat? Impossible Foods, Lightlife, Tofurky, Meatless Farm Co, Dr. Praeger's, weigh in (Food navigator-USA)

The total sale of fresh meat alternatives in the U.S. has increased from 158.30% in February to 225.30% in the March, 2020.


covid-19 impact on alternative protein in food and beverage industryMany companies are planning for the expansion in the protein alternatives business.

For instance,

  • In April 2020, Starbucks announced the rollout of plant-based food & beverage menu across China by launching products from Oatly, Beyond Meat, and Omnipork.
  • In April 2020, the trials of plant-based chicken nuggets have been announced by the KFC which is the international fast-food giant in the selected cities of China.

Starfield which is a local Chinese next generation food tech company is producing ground meat which is made from seaweed protein. The company is partnering with six major restaurant chains in the China for launching their products across the restaurants.

Most of the companies are growing in the Asia region due to the consumer awareness about the fragility of the food system increases and more and more people have started to make connection between heavy reliance on animal-based foods and the pandemic situation.


COVID-19 outbreak has affected every sector in the market which also includes protein alternatives industry. The industry has affected as the supply and demand are badly disrupted. Many companies are losing their key revenue sources as food services outlets are closed or decreased sales. Some companies have closed their production facilities to mitigate potential risks from COVID-19.

Due to the social distancing, start-ups and the producers of the protein alternatives are facing controlled access to the laboratories which are required to bring their products into the market. Shortages of research equipment’s have also increased the project timelines. Some companies are facing lack of capital so for that they need to sell their equipment to raise funds.

For instance,

  • Congress could create an interagency R&D initiative which is similar to the National Nanotechnology Initiative which helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs. The new initiative would coordinate activities across the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other agencies.
  • Ethan Brown, beyond meat has recently announced that they will begin to sell value packs and discount prices for their products which typically sell for a significant premium to traditional proteins.
  • In February 2020, Cargill has launched the plant-based patty and ground products for expanding protein options for foodservices and retail customers which includes private label solutions.
  • In July 2020, ADM partnered with Imagine Meats for the launch of plant-based partnership in India, as India is poised for major meat alternatives shift.
  • In June 2019, Tyson foods have introduced the first plant-based and blended products along with its Raised & Rooted® brand. This initiative will make Tyson Foods the largest producer of meat in the U.S. for entering the growing segment of alternative protein with its own products.
  • Beyond Meat, the leader in refrigerated plant-based meat, has increased the sales twice the size of nearest competitor and grew at 248% as compared to 2019 during COVID-19 outbreak.

For instance,

“We’ve made physical changes and adopted new practices in the hopes of adding an increasingly high level of workplace safety. All of our practices are consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance’s”

  • Michael H. McCain, President and CEO of Maple leaf

“We’ve implemented increased health and safety measures in all of our facilities, including readily available personal hygiene products, and we’re cleaning thoroughly every day while prioritizing ways to ensure your well-being. We also encourage you to continue being diligent about your own health.”

  • Andre Nogueira, JBS USA CEO

“We are investing BRL 4.0 million in tests for COVID-19 for donations in support of the municipalities where we have operations. We have been discussing with the authorities of 35 cities where we have operations to make a joint effort with local governments and hospitals in the fight against COVID-19 and its effects.”

  • BRF Ingredients

“In July 2020, Marfrig has launched #TMJMarfrig program to support more than 5,000 micro and small food service businesses across Brazil, which include bars, restaurants, cafeterias, bakeries and steakhouses.”

  • Marcelo Proença, Director of Food Service Director at Marfrig

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure we help meet that need and are working with our customers to ensure the continuous flow of food to tables everywhere. We also want to support the communities that we work and live in as they respond to the challenges that have been posed by COVID-19.”

  • Edmond Scanlon, Kerry Group CEO

“We take food safety very seriously. Staff at all MGP production facilities follows the protocols outlined in Good Manufacturing Practice regulations. All of our production facilities annually receive the highest possible rating of AA for food and beverage safety from BRCGS (formerly BRC Global Standards), an internationally recognized independent source. Our food ingredients are manufactured using a “closed loop” system, so that ingredients cannot be contaminated during the production process.”

            - MGP Ingredients

“We want you to know that CHS remains fully operational and committed to providing the essential products and services you need. Our supply chain is prepared and moving into action as spring fieldwork begins. Grain is moving and the spring shipping season has begun. We are grateful for those positive signs.”

  • Jay Debertin, CEO, CHS Inc.

“Our flagship plant in Lestrem, France, is producing thousands of litres of hydro-alcoholic disinfectant solution per week to support healthcare workers. At our sites in other countries such as France, Italy, Spain, China, India and Lithuania, our teams are donating personal protection equipment to local caregivers and hospitals. We’re helping delivery drivers by providing meals and shower facilities as they keep the supply chain moving. And as the pandemic wreaks havoc on the economy throwing many people out of work, we continue to support the local food bank near our Americas offices in the US to provide meals for those who can’t afford them.”

  • Roquette Frères


As the COVID-19 has impacted mostly all businesses, the alternative protein manufacturers also have been significantly impacted by the disruption of supply chain and losing their key revenue sources as food services outlets are closed or decreased sales. As supply chain is disrupted due to COVID-19 outbreak, the demand is also getting affected. The demand is more for the alternative proteins but companies are not able to fulfil those demands due to supply chain disruption.

Also, the regulatory norm of social distancing across the multiple nations has impacted the alternative protein industry in high extent. However, the alternative protein sale is increased during the COVID-19 outbreak, as many people are becoming health conscious and looking for some other alternatives for the meat products.

The U.S. is the world leader country for the alternative proteins. The demand for alternative proteins is increased from February 2020 as the effect of COVID-19 outbreak. The total sale of fresh meat alternatives in the U.S. has increased to 225.30% in March, 2020 during COVID-19. Also, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been an increasing awareness among consumers, on healthy diet, wherein demand for healthy ingredients has been on a rise.

Many companies are expanding their businesses into alternative proteins. Companies such as Cargill, Nestle has expanded their businesses in the alternative proteins during Covid-19 outbreak. Government initiatives in various countries are increasing demand for alternative proteins.

Thus, the impact of COVID-19 is positive for the alternative proteins industry across many nations, compared to other food product segments, and hence the growth is increasing for the industry during coming years, with many opportunities of new product development for manufacturers.