- Plant-based foods producers now have a louder voice in Washington, DC thanks to a new trade group, the Plant Based Foods Association.
- Producers of proteins derived from peas, soybeans, and other nonmeat sources comprise part of 23 companies in the lobbying group. But Elizabeth Kucinich, who will represent the group in Washington, says the association will also stand for companies whose product lines are not entirely built on plant proteins.
- Kucinich told The New York Times that her goal is to "level the playing field" and ensure that plant-based food companies also have a voice in debates over school lunches, dietary recommendations, and environmental issues, just as these companies' competitors in the meat industry do.
Sales for plant protein-based products saw an 8.7% increase over the past two years (excluding Whole Foods), as compared to the overall food industry's 3.7% uptick in sales, according to Spins. Venture capitalists have recognized and facilitated that growth.
Larger manufacturers are also recognizing this potential, including Campbell, which will include mentions of plant-based proteins on the labels of new juices from its Bolthouse Farms and 1915 brands. As more consumers purchase plant-based and protein-rich foods, it's likely more large manufacturers will join in on a trend that smaller companies originally ushered in over the past several years.
However, plant-based protein producers risk backlash and disapproval from consumers by establishing this stronger presence among industry competitors. Consumers often distrust lobbying efforts in the food and beverage industry, particularly by major companies and industry organizations. But if the association and its companies maintain a dedication to transparency, they'll be more likely to receive public backing.