Noted food and organic industry analyst Phillip Howard writes in Civil Eats:
“As consumers are given the appearance of more choices, actual ownership of these brands is held by a decreasing number of firms behind the scenes,” including Cargill, Tyson, and Nestlé…Nearly every week a major media outlet publishes a headline announcing that a giant meat or dairy processor has acquired full or partial ownership of an “alternative protein” firm—such as JBS buying the Dutch firm Vivera, which competes with Beyond Meat in the European market, earlier this year. These new companies are making plant-based meat, dairy, or fish substitutes, working to commercialize lab-grown meat, and incorporating insects into foods like pasta and energy bars.
What is motivating these investments, and what impacts will they have? The emphasis on protein—a single macronutrient, to the exclusion of all others—has been an effective strategy for the largest firms to break through current barriers to growth, even though most people eat more protein than their bodies need.”