By Paul Reed – Oct 26, 2020, 6:00 PM CDT
Blackrock, considered by many to be the undisputed king of Wall Street with $6.5 trillion in assets under management, hasn’t just gone off dirty fossil fuels …
It also appears to be going off meat, another of the industries that is being spurned by the multi-trillion-dollar ESG movement.
Blackrock recently upped the ante on this megatrend by bumping its iShares Total U.S. Stock Market Index Fund stake in plant-based meat superpower, Beyond Meat (NYSE:BYND) by another 15.76%.
Wall Street was caught napping when BlackRock stole the investing throne earlier this year by being the only huge fund to recognize the ESG investing megatrend.
The question now is whether Wall Street will be caught napping again …
While the next megatrend takes shape.
Picking up steady momentum over the past half a decade, a global pandemic shifted this trend into top gear.
The trend is a plant-based lifestyle, and BlackRock is latching onto it in a big way.
Not only has animal-based food been proven to contribute to climate change, it has also been linked to the spread of pandemics.
And a plant-based diet isn’t the boring, tasteless vegan sacrifice it used to be. Now, it’s deliciously mainstream.
And this trend really does go… “beyond” meat.
The megatrend is an entirely plant-based lifestyle, and as big money such as BlackRock desperately searches for new places to park its billions of ESG-focused money, it could likely alight on this megatrend-focused company:
PlantX Life Inc (CNSX:VEGA), the company that’s hoping to upend the $950-billion meat industry and the $4-trillion global food services industry … with plants.
And the people behind it have disrupted markets before …
Infinitely Farther Than Beyond Meat
In a megatrend, it’s not enough to limit oneself to plant-based meat, or to a single brand that consumers can either like or dislike.
In a megatrend, it’s got to be bigger. It’s got to be a lifestyle. An entire “ecosystem”, which has now become the new ESG buzzword that rings loudly in the ears of big capital.
That’s exactly what PlantX is, and it has started to storm this megatrend with a fast-paced series of deals and acquisitions designed to capture–and create–North American market share that is about much more than … the new meat.
PlantX has its own plant-based food products, house plants, cosmetics, decor, pet food, and even its own celebrity chef.
You can shop online for just about everything you can imagine that is plant-based, shop in a smart store, order plant-based takeout or find the best places to dine vegan.
And if plant-based meals failed to get the taste buds flowing in Vegan 1.0, super chefs latching onto the megatrend have changed all of that …
PlantX’s celebrity chef even makes meals for restaurants that have an urgent need to come up with more options for pandemic-panicked clientele that fear animal-based food.
Nor is the ESG trend about startups that don’t and may never profit (this isn’t Uber).
Instead, it’s about zero waste, ultimate efficiency, and high margins. It’s about “curation”.
For PlantX (CNSX:VEGA), that means profit margins that are beguiling because there aren’t any costs associated with inventory or warehouses, two of the biggest loss-making elements of the eCommerce sector.
And with all the fantastic margins lined up, PlantX is on an acquisition and deal-making tear:
- In early September, it closed a $30-million deal with San Diego-based Liv Marketplace to build and operate PlantX’s first brick-and-mortar retail location in California. That confirms a huge push into the United States, with a 4,515-square-foot store that will sell a line of over 5,000 plant-based products.
- PlantX acquired UK-based Bloombox Clubin late September, and it’s now on target to hit $4 million in gross revenue and is expected to do $20 million in revenue over the next 12 months.
- That same month, PlantX cut a series of deals with specialty producers, grocers, and even LA-based celebrity chef Gregg Drusinsky.
- It launched its own glacial water brand in September.
- On October 8th, PlantX jumped into the$38.4-billion North American pet food industry by launching yet another vertical with Kirtana Inc. products.
- It’s teamed up with Vancouver-based UpMeal, which has a Grade A kitchen. UpMeal prepares the chef-designed meals from PlantX, making PlantX profitable right out of the gate. They use FedEx to ship across Canada, with bulk meals going to a single address and then immediately disbursed by local courier.
With profit margins of 55% for plants, 40% for online food, and 35% for delivery, PlantX is profitable right out of the starting gate.
It only started delivering meals to homes in April, and already it’s hit 10,000 meals.
And by early next year, it expects to be rolling out in the United States, UK, and Europe.
At the same time as it launches its first U.S.-based brick-and-mortar smart store in California.
This is the next-gen tech startup: It’s ESG-focused ecosystems with tons of verticals for making money. And PlantX’s verticals are unlimited …
Even more so when you consider that this is a community, not just a brand. It draws people into a digital plant-based space and keeps them there because–especially during a pandemic–human beings need a sense of belonging in something bigger than themselves.
And this is definitely bigger …
Remember the $26B Pet Food Megatrend?
Chewy Inc (NYSE:CHWY) was essentially created in a basement …
By savvy teenagers who are now billionaires.
These two teenagers created a dotcom delivery business in their basement. That business went on to become one of the biggest eCommerce businesses in Canada.
And then it became Chewy.com.
The pet food delivery company exploded on the scene, managing to steal half of Amazon’s market share in those segments.
Sold by its creators for $3 billion to giant PetSmart and is now worth a stunning $26.4 billion and has cornered some 50% of the U.S. market, compared to Amazon’s 45%.
Now Dollinger is looking to copy this idea, with PlantX–an idea vastly bigger than pet food. Dollinger also has pedigree having taken Namaste to north of a $1 billion valuation.
And his potential market is also vastly bigger because it doesn’t just include pets–it includes every living being.
And while Chewy.com has a limited number of verticals it can pursue, PlantX has zero limitations.
The Seeds of A Lucrative Lifestyle Rethink
Meat is now associated with poor health, shorter life-spans, the spread of disease … and pandemic.
For many who weren’t considering a plant-based diet, the pandemic has changed that.
Massive disruptions to the food supply chain gave us time to think as farmers were dumping produce and milk and culling animals when slaughterhouses shut down as COVID-19 breached their walls.
Fears of pandemic spread by the animal-based food industry, from swine flu and bird flu to salmonella and E. coli have hastened our flirtation with a completely new, plant-based lifestyle.
Just look at the pandemic-period retail sales for alternative meat alone:
And in Canada, too:
But out of crisis and chaos, as always, comes new opportunities.
And the new opportunities arising out of the pandemic are far more wholesome. They consider the people and the planet, but they also consider profit.
This is where the free market actually starts to work to the benefit of the world.
That’s the idea that underpins the ESG megatrend, and it’s why big money is shifting to this playing field. They see lower risk and higher profits.
PlantX (CNSX:VEGA) ticks all those ESG megatrend boxes.
It’s offering an entire plant-based “ecosystem”, which is one of the biggest de-risking factors for investors.
It’s backed by an eCommerce prodigy who’s been minting millionaires since he was a teenager and is ready to do it again.
It’s backed by Mother Nature, who’s come back with a vengeance to mint millionaires herself and change the way we live, and for how long.
Other companies looking to win big in the new “green lifestyle” trend:
Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) has exploded since its IPO in April, soaring by 111% in just a few short months. And it is just getting started. Today, the plant-based meat alternative giant is already worth nearly $12 billion, and new research suggests the market could climb to a whopping $74 billion in just the next few years. From “meatballs” to sausages and ‘hamburger, Beyond Meat is going above and beyond to expand its product line to appeal to every type of customer, and as this trend of plant-based foods catches fire, it’s likely to continue growing.
Beyond Meat’s mission statement speaks volumes, “By shifting from animal to plant-based meat, we can positively impact four growing global issues: human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare.” It’s a clear-cut example of everything the new generation of investors is looking for in a company. It is combatting social challenges, climate change, and looking to tackle the hurdles facing our growing population.
While not exclusively engaged in plant-based meat alternatives, Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), is another company with an ESG twist. And even better, it has a wider selection of products available for both meat-eaters and plant-based diets. This is important considering almost 98% of consumers who buy plant-based products also buy animal meat.
Tyson is already a giant in the food industry, and it’s looking to win big as a growing number of Americans begin to identify themselves as “flexitarian.” While the “vegan wave” grabs more headlines, the reality is that most consumers are not 100% vegan. And that’s great for Tyson because it has a wide array of products to suit every customer’s tastes.
In a release, the company noted, “Tyson Foods is committed to sustainably offering the protein and food products that consumers want. Through the introduction of its Raised & Rooted™ brand of plant protein and blended protein options including burgers and nuggets, Tyson Foods has become the largest U.S. meat producer to enter the growing alternative protein segment.”
Kellogg (NYSE:K) is another giant in the food industry looking to expand its plant-based portfolio in a bid to compete with the success of Beyond Meat and unlisted competitor Impossible Foods. In 2019, Kellogg joined forces with Morningstar Foods to launch a line of plant-based products named “Ingogmeato.”
The company’s array of plant-based meat substitutes will be made from non-GMO soy, which is different than its peers. Beyond Meat, for instance, uses a pea protein substitute. Kellogg’s move is a bold one because, while the taste and texture are more similar to real meat, soy is a major allergen that could take away from some of its sales potential.
Despite this, however, Kellogg is clearly eying its share of this new market, and taking the younger generation’s push to go green – literally and figuratively – to the next level. In a statement, the company noted, “Our brand is really leaning in and making sure that we’re taking our responsibility as America’s number one veggie burger brand seriously.”
Salesforce (NASDAQ:CRM) isn’t a plant-based distributor, but it is a company to watch as the broader ESG push catches fire. Though its primary function is as a SaaS company focusing on creating a platform to improve customer service, it’s diving in headfirst in its commitments to sustainability, charity, and overall positive action within the community.
ESG is a big part of Salesforce’s core values. In fact, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff wrote in an op-ed for New York Times arguing for a new form of capitalism that, “In the United States, income inequality has reached its highest level in at least 50 years, with the top 0.1 percent — people like me — owning roughly 20 percent of the wealth while many Americans cannot afford to pay for a $400 emergency. It’s no wonder that support for capitalism has dropped, especially among young people.”
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is going all-in on the ESG boom. The tech giant has gone from selling books to selling practically every other imaginable item from one easy-to-use website. And it’s done so with an ESG twist. Not only has Amazon taken the lead in reducing its own emissions, but it’s also pushed its suppliers, manufacturers, and delivery infrastructure to do the same.
And it’s just getting started. Given the fact that it is on the cutting-edge of consumer data, with over 600 million items for sale, Amazon has been able to predict consumer trends and bring in new offerings that will suit consumer needs. And that includes entire departments dedicated to plant-based diets and other plant-based lifestyle options. It’s truly got its fingers in every pie.
Burcon NutraScience Corporation (TSX:BU) is a Canadian tech firm transforming what people think about a plant-based diet. It is known for its high-purity, sustainable, flavorful, and affordable products. The company has checked every box in the modern customer’s book. Founded over 20 years ago, Burcon has been at the forefront of the since 1998, and it’s only become more refined since.
In its mission statement, Burcon explains that it “seeks to improve the health and wellness of global consumers through the discovery and development of sustainable, functional, and renewable plant-based products for the global food and beverage industries.”
Else Nutrition Holdings Inc. (CSE:BABY) is a unique plant-based lifestyle company from Canada. Else Nutrition has taken a different approach than many of its competitors, specializing in baby food. The company was a first-mover in this interesting space, offering a well-rounded, clean, sustainable plant-based approach to baby food.
Else Nutrition’s products deliver all of the same benefits as typical baby food, but with a plant-based twist. In fact, 92% of their products are made from three core healthy ingredients, almonds, tapioca, and buckwheat. And the best part is that they keep the good parts of the food intact. They never alter the plants’ chemistry or remove any of the micronutrients, they just change the texture.
Maple Leaf Foods (TSX:MFI) is a major player in the Canadian food industry. For 30 years, Maple Leaf has been making key acquisitions, producing top-quality food, and leading in new innovations to make sure to deliver the absolute highest quality products for all of its consumers around Canada. And in 2019, it announced its plans to jump into the plant-based foods world with a $310 million facility in Indiana.
Maple Leaf Foods is also committed to cutting its own carbon footprint. In fact, in November last year, the company announced that it was the first major carbon-neutral food company – a major accomplishment in a world that is transitioning to green energy.
The Very Good Food Company Inc. (CSE:VERY) is an innovative Canadian company that making major waves in the “green lifestyle” movement. With the slogan, “we believe in butchering beans, not animals,” they’re looking to tap into the plant-based niche in a hurry. And it’s resonated very well with investors.
Since IPOing earlier this year, the Very Good Food Company has seen its share price grow by over 70%, and it is just getting started. The company is aggressively opening new facilities, signing high profile deals, and is quickly becoming a favorite in Canada’s fast-growing plant-based lifestyle scene.
Modern Meat Inc (CSE:MEAT) is a Canadian alternative to its American cousin, Beyond Meat. It has nailed its marketing angle with a series of appealing Instagram-worthy products that could easily sway even the biggest meat eater. The company is looking to make the plant-based lifestyle trendy. And consumers are loving it.
Modern Meat announced in early October that its stock had sold out for over 15 weeks in a row. “We are pleased to announce that our sellout streak is continuing and there is an obvious demand for our products. Despite the interest in our products we are currently constrained by our production capacity and continuing the set-up of our new facility,” stated Tara Haddad, Chief Executive Officer of the Company.
By. Paul Reed
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