- A group of investors wrote a letter last week urging several major food manufacturers to source plant-based rather than animal proteins, Reuters reported.
- The push focuses on making the shift for both public health and environmental reasons, according to the group, Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return Initiative (FAIRR).
- Most companies Reuters contacted for the article—including Kraft Heinz, Nestle, Unilever, General Mills and Mondelez—did not know of the campaign, had not received the letter, or declined to comment.
Many of these and other food and beverage manufacturers have already embraced the plant-based movement. More consumers are reducing their meat consumption but still demanding adequate protein sources. Manufacturers have responded by utilizing more plant-based proteins in everything from snacks to dairy.
But now manufacturers are under pressure from another interested party: investors. Consumers usually tend to drive industry trends. But investors are a powerful crowd that can influence the industry and manufacturers with similar urgency when they want. While the group has focused on public health and environmental benefits, using more plant-based proteins could also be more beneficial for the bottom line if a company can source plant-based proteins for lower costs than traditional animal proteins.
Nestle, one of the few companies that responded to Reuters with further detail, confirmed the company didn't use much meat. A Nestle spokesperson said the company preferred to embrace opportunities to use alternative proteins rather than try to reduce the meat it uses in its products. This is another option for manufacturers: Don't necessarily change current animal-based products, but going forward, consider innovations that use plant-based proteins instead.