Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, is expanding its plant-based portfolio with the launch of a range of shelf-stable plant-based meat products for the Chilean market. These new items, launched under the brand name Maggi Veg, are certified vegan and include the company’s first shelf-stable plant-based mince meat made from soy.
The launch is part of Nestlé’s efforts to expand its plant-based offerings and give consumers more options for affordable alternatives to meat. The new product line bulks out the company’s plant-based portfolio, which features plant-based eggs, chocolate, and plant-based toddler milk.
“We continue launching plant-based products in many regions of the world to offer people tasty, nutritious alternatives to meat that they can enjoy with family and friends,” said Torsten Pohl, Global Head of R&D for Nestlé’s food category. “Our new shelf-stable range also makes plant-based alternatives more accessible to a wider range of consumers in Chile.”
One of the primary benefits of these products is that they have a much longer shelf life than fresh products and don’t require refrigeration. This makes them well-suited for customers in various geographical locations, especially those with a limited cold supply chain.
“The development of shelf-stable plant-based products is important because they help to provide many people with access to more affordable and sustainable alternatives to animal products,” said Pohl.
Corporate patent applications in the vegan realm
According to Just Food and GlobalData, between August 2021 and August 2023, there was a surge in applications for plant-based meat patents made by food giants. Nestlé took the lead with a whopping 333 patent applications, followed closely by Cargill with 119, and Unilever joining the ranks of patent filers. Plant-based pioneers like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat registered relatively fewer patent applications in the same period. This contrast highlights the uphill battle that smaller players are currently facing against corporate behemoths.
In contrast to the struggles faced by startups, corporate entities like Nestlé have demonstrated adaptability by reevaluating their strategies in response to changing market dynamics. This highlights the resources at the disposal of these giants, resources that emerging startups often lack.
However, the interest of investors and industry players in the plant-based sector is evident. If startups can leverage strategic partnerships, innovation, and a deep understanding of consumer preferences to carve a niche, they may very well be able to tap into these investments, despite the presence of corporate competition.
But for now, we can likely expect much more plant-based offerings from companies like Nestle. Pohl comments, “We are committed to developing foods and beverages that incorporate nutritious plant proteins to help people achieve adequate and balanced diets.”plant-based beyond meat impossible foods meat eggs milk beverages soy investors industry startups