- Smithfield Foods Inc. is launching a plant-based protein line under the Pure Farmland brand that contains eight products that are gluten-free, dairy-free and made with soy protein.
- The company developed options intended for all meals, including Maple Plant-Based Breakfast Patties and Simply Seasoned Plant-Based Protein Starters. It noted in its release that it aims to reach flexitarians with its offerings.
- The new line will also be packaged in trays using 50% recycled materials and are expected to be available in grocery stores by mid-September, according to the press release.
Unlike some recently released plant-based products, Smithfield's new line angles to cater to consumers looking for easy protein options at all points in the day with items including breakfast patties and meatball appetizers. These categories have not yet received as much focus from other manufacturers investing in the plant-based protein space.
Smithfield’s burger patties and protein starters, on the other hand, will face fierce competition for lunch and dinner. Other options flooding supermarket shelves include some familiar household names. Hormel's Applegate launched blended burgers made with meat and mushrooms, Tyson Foods debuted meatless protein products, Perdue Foods launched chicken nuggets, tenders and patties blended with vegetables in its Chicken Plus line and Nestlé rolled out a cook-from-raw plant-based burger.
To try to differentiate itself, Smithfield highlighted several features, including plant-based burgers that are pre-seasoned and have dairy-free cheese, as well as its use of soy protein. Many other meat-alternative products like Tyson’s Raised & Rooted and Beyond Burger favor pea protein in their recipes.
While taking a slightly different approach to the plant-based segment might help Smithfield’s Pure Farmland line stand out, it is still going to be tough with the surge of new products that have come out just in the last six months and the many more that are likely to come to market.
One area that Smithfield could consider is pricing, which may become one of the key differentiators to attract both curious customers as well as generate repeat business. According to Barron's, Beyond Burger was sold at Whole Foods for $12 a pound in June versus the private label vegetable pattie at $6.40 a pound. The price difference is steep and if Smithfield gets the pricing right, the company could bring in new shoppers.
The company could also prominently note that its packaging is made from more than 50% recycled material and that it is partnering with the American Farmland Trust to donate the cost of protecting one square foot of farmland for every package sold. Doing so could turn more consumers' heads as 35% said they would pay up to 10% more for products that are in sustainable packages.