The plant-based foods trend is taking over tables across North America, creating a new market of opportunity. What are the top plant-based food stocks for investors to consider?
Consumers are hungry for a more plant-based diet, and their enthusiasm is creating a juicy growth market that investors can really sink their teeth into.
The plant-based foods industry has attracted a lot of investor interest in the past year, with US$3.1 billion in investment capital directed toward alternative proteins globally in 2020. That figure represents a three-fold increase over 2019 — and this might just be the appetizer before the main course.
With a nearly 12 percent compound annual growth rate forecasted over seven years, the plant-based foods sector represents a high-growth opportunity for investors. In fact, Meticulous Research projects that the global plant-based food market will be worth as much as US$74 billion by 2027.
Here the Investing News Network takes a look at the top plant-based food stocks by market capitalization in the US and Canadian markets.
Top US-listed plant-based food stocks
The American plant-based food stocks presented below were compiled using TradingView’s stock screener on March 29, 2021. All companies had market caps of at least US$250 million at that time.
1. Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND)
Market cap: US$7.97 billion
The most mature pure-play plant-based stock on the market, Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat first launched its brand nearly a decade ago. Today, the company’s plant-based meat alternatives can be purchased in grocery stores and restaurants across the globe. Designed to emulate beef and pork, its offerings include patties, sausages, hot dogs and meatballs.
2. Ingredion (NYSE:INGR)
Market cap: US$6.16 billion
Ingredion provides plant-based ingredients to companies manufacturing vegan products, and earned a spot on Ethisphere’s list of the world’s most ethical companies for the seventh year in row in 2020. It also recently opened the first facility in North America to produce pea protein isolate and pea starch.
The global food manufacturer’s pea protein isolate is 85 percent protein and can be used to boost the protein content of a range of plant-based food and beverage products. Ingredion’s pea starch can be used in a number of ways, including in the production of plant-based cheeses.
3. Tattooed Chef (NASDAQ:TTCF)
Market cap: US$1.54 billion
With manufacturing facilities in the US and Italy, Tattooed Chef produces a growing portfolio of frozen plant-based foods that are sold by retailers across the US. The company recently launched six new plant-based food products for sale in Target (NYSE:TGT) stores nationwide.
“The Tattooed Chef brand was created to meet the growing demand for great tasting plant-based foods. We offer convenience without sacrificing quality, nutritional value or freshness,” said Sarah Galletti, the company’s creative director and inspiration for its name.
4. SunOpta (NASDAQ:STKL)
Market cap: US$1.44 billion
SunOpta sources, develops and manufactures certified organic fruit-based and plant-based food products. In business since 1973, the company is currently expanding its plant-based food production capacity through four projects aimed at keeping up with the recent growth in the plant-based foods market. Three of these expansion projects were completed in 2020, with a fourth expansion project expected to come online in the fourth quarter of 2021.
“We remain pleased with our sales pipeline efforts to deliver $100 million of revenue growth by the end of 2022 from the three 2020 projects. This additional capacity will ensure that we are well positioned to support our customers’ growth in 2022 and beyond,” said Joe Ennen, SunOpta CEO.
5. Laird Superfood (NYSE:LSF)
Market cap: US$314.81 million
Laird Superfood develops and manufactures plant-based and functional foods, including vegan coffee creamers and plant-based protein snacks. It has experienced strong online sales in the past year via its ecommerce platform. Laird’s net sales for the 2020 fiscal year increased nearly 100 percent year-over-year to US$26 million. In Q4 2020, its net sales increased 75 percent year-over-year to US$7.3 million.
Commenting on the company’s success, Laird CFO Valerie Ells said, “Market share and customer growth are our major priorities and this quarter demonstrated that our authentic brand, and meeting consumers where they are across our omnichannel platform, resonates with today’s consumer seeking healthy, plant-based and sustainable products.”
Top Canada-listed plant-based food stocks
The Canadian plant-based food stocks presented below were compiled using TradingView’s stock screener on March 29, 2021. All companies had market caps below C$500 million at that time.
1. The Very Good Food Company (TSXV:VERY,OTC:VRYYF)
Market cap: C$462.26 million
The Very Good Food Company is a plant-based food technology company that develops, produces and distributes a growing portfolio of plant-based meats and other food alternatives. It sells its products through its wholesale and ecommerce stores, as well as butcher shops.
As a part of its growth strategy, the Very Good Food Company made a few strategic deals in early 2021. In February, it announced the C$3 million acquisition of artisan vegan cheese producer the Cultured Nut. The company plans to rebrand under the name the Very Good Cheese Company, set to launch in Q2 2021. In March, it announced the acquisition of Lloyd-James Marketing Group, a wholesale and food service broker that specializes in plant-based retail placements.
The purchase will allow the Very Good Food Company, formerly called the Very Good Butchers, to upscale its retail network from 275 locations to more than 2,000 planned by end of 2021.
2. Else Nutrition (TSXV:BABY)
Market cap: C$283.43 million
Else Nutrition develops and manufacturers plant-based, clean ingredient alternatives to dairy-based formulas for infants and toddlers. The Israel-based company recently announced that it has listed its plant-based toddler nutrition products with United Natural Foods (UNFI) for grocery distribution across the US. UNFI has 58 distribution centers nationwide.
“As a strategic partner for growth, UNFI is fundamental. Their deep roots in the natural food ecosystem, coupled with exceptional relationships with retail accounts of all sizes and types, positions us for exponential reach and accessibility,” said Else Nutrition CEO and Co-founder Hamutal Yitzhak. “This is another pivotal moment for the brand, as many retailers have been awaiting this UNFI listing. We’re more than ready for this next stage, and the major growth it is expected to generate.”
3. Modern Plant Based Foods (CSE:MEAT)
Market cap: C$76.05 million
Modern Plant Based Foods (formerly Modern Meats) develops organic plant-based meat alternative products. Based in Vancouver, the company recently inked a deal with the world’s largest foodservice distributor; through the agreement, Modern Plant Based Foods’ products will be listed on the distribution giant’s Canadian network.
“We are excited about this distributor and their track record of success in helping brands increase their coverage and market penetration. This is a tremendous opportunity for great expansion, not only across Canada, but eventually into their massive US distribution network,” stated Chris Parkinson, brand and relationship manager at Modern Plant Based Foods.
4. Plant & Co. (CSE:VEGN)
Market cap: C$32.38 million
Plant & Co. is a vertically integrated health and wellness company that recently acquired two plant-based food brands, Holy Crap and YamChops. The company plans to franchise YamChops vegan butcher stores, which specialize in preparation, distribution and retail sales for a large portfolio of proprietary plant-based meat alternatives and other vegan food products.
Holy Crap offers four organic cereal products and has a large distribution network across Canada, including retailers such as Whole Foods, Safeway, Save-On-Foods and London Drugs.
5. Pontus Protein (TSXV:HULK)
Market cap: C$16.08 million
Newly listed Pontus Protein is a plant-based food technology company focused on developing environmentally sustainable sources of plant proteins.
The company produces a pure plant-based protein powder sourced from nutritious water lentils that are an excellent source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and essential amino acids. The lentils are farm-grown in BC without pesticides or chemicals and using indoor vertical farming methods that require 95 percent less water than traditional agriculture.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.