The plant-based market continues to heat up.
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Minnesota-based food giant Cargill is the latest to roll out imitation meat products, entering the $4.5 billion market.
The privately held food company will launch a private-label brand of meatless patties in grocery stores and on restaurant menus this April.
Cargill said in a press release it has invested $7 billion into developing products made from animal proteins in recent years. It plans to deliver alternative-meat items to grocery stores and restaurants across the country.
Cargill is the latest food company to compete in the plant-based market against makers like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which are dominating the category. Impossible Foods rolled out nationally in Burger King restaurants last year and announced a partnership with Disney World resorts and its cruise line on Tuesday, while Beyond Meat, which went public last year, has its products at chains like Dunkin and Carl’s Jr.
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Retail sales of plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy have grown 11 percent in the past year, according to the Plant-Based Foods Association. And a number of meat producers have begun offering more meatless items. Tyson Foods joined the alternative-meat bandwagon last year when it released two products made from pea protein under its Raised & Rooted label. Nestle, meanwhile, released its Sweet Earth brand Awesome Burger in the U.S. in the fall, and Perdue Farms announced it would also start selling nuggets, tenders and patties made from a blend of chicken and vegetables.