By Ghanim al-Sulaiti
A Los Angeles-based company investing in plant-based foods has confirmed its latest funding was led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). QIA’s growing portfolio of long-term strategic investments has historically focused on banks, hotels, airlines, airports, and corporate firms — but now, for the first time in our country’s history, Qatar has invested in a vegan food product, demonstrating Qatar’s desire to be a part of, and enrich the continued, fast growth of plant based food products as the number of vegan food consumers worldwide grow.
The company that has received funds from Qatar is looking to replicate the success of ‘Beyond Meat’ — the world’s first plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like beef, without any genetic modification, soy or gluten. Beyond Meat has been a market success, and Qatar was reportedly very impressed with its fast growth, leading to the decision to invest in an American company focused on finding the next plant based hit.
Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, had originally created the product in order to help reduce beef consumption. His concerns were not only about the health effects of eating red meat, but also sustainability and energy concerns. In a study the company commissioned with the University of Michigan, they found that producing one Beyond Meat burger produced 90% less greenhouse-gas emissions, and used 93% less land than a burger made of beef.
Qatar’s investment in a new company set to introduce another plant-based products on to the market endorses four major issues facing the world today: climate change, constraints on natural resources, health problems associated with eating meat and dairy, and animal welfare.
It is anticipated that the global vegan market size will reach $24 billion by 2025, an annual growth rate of 9.6%. In fact, the investor rush into plant-based milk comes as cow milk consumption is falling, due to both health and environmental reasons. Two of the largest dairy producers in the United States, ‘Dean Foods’ and ‘Borden Dairy Company’ – both filed for bankruptcy protection over the past two months — as people ditch dairy, for plant-based alternatives.
Almond milk sales have risen nearly 6% to $1.35 billion and oat milk sales have taken a riseto a huge 662% to $59.8 million over the last twelve months.
In a letter to employees this week, Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, outlined several environmental sustainability goals for the next decade where he highlighted that the company is ‘focused on expanding plant-based options, migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu.’
As plant-based substitutes become better and cheaper (and therefore more accessible) it’s projected that more consumers will move toward plant-based substitutes for health reasons as well as environmental ones.
Elsewhere this week, veganism has again take centre stage, the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is taking place at its host city, Davos, Switzerland. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump are among the 53 heads of state gathering at the forum that aims to engage in worldwide politics, business, environmental challenges, and more. With climate change a major theme at Davos, organisers have taken meat and fish off the menu for the first time — and a Canadian vegan chef has been invited to cook for the elite guests. “Cooking here gives me the chance to show on a global scale how amazing vegan food can be” the chef local media earlier this week.
It’s promising to witness various parts of the world reaffirm the commitment to ensuring the growth of the plant-based, vegan industry — both on an individual human-to-human level, and at a corporate level too.
The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92
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