PepsiCo and Beyond Meat launch ‘planet partnership’ for plant-based proteins

Last month

PepsiCo and Beyond Meat announced that they will form the PLANeT Partnership (TPP), which will work to produce new snack and beverage products that use plant-based protein. One of the benefits of this joint venture will be the reduced environmental footprint from using plants compared to livestock.

“Plant-based proteins represent an exciting growth opportunity for us, a new frontier in our efforts to build a more sustainable food system and be a positive force for people and the planet, while meeting consumer demand for an expanded portfolio of more nutritious products,” PepsiCo’s global chief commercial officer Ram Krishnan said.

“Beyond Meat is a cutting-edge innovator in this rapidly growing category, and we look forward to combining their unparalleled expertise with our world-class capabilities in brand-building, consumer insights and distribution to deliver exciting new options.”

The move is in alignment with its new sustainability ambitions. Last month, PepsiCo committed to reducing emissions across its value chain by 40% by 2030 before reaching net-zero by 2040. PepsiCo is planning to reduce absolute emissions from direct operations by 75%, against a 2015 baseline.

The bulk of PepsiCo’s emissions lie within Scope 3 (indirect) sources related to the supply chain and to products and PepsiCo’s ambition is to reduce emissions here by 40% by 2030.

Agriculture is a major source of Scope 3 emissions for PepsiCo. As such, the plans include measures to help farmers switch to renewable energy and low-emission fertiliser made using waste from its own Walkers factories. Farmers will also be taught how to adopt regenerative agricultural practices and financially supported to do so. Such practices boost the carbon sequestration capability of farms while encouraging biodiversity and restoring soil health.

It has already reached 100% renewable electricity at managed facilities across 13 countries, and is aiming for all countries to meet that milestone by 2030 through work with the RE100. Aside from clean electricity, investments will be made in energy efficiency technologies and those which help minimise waste.

Meat-free momentum

PepsiCo joins the likes of KFC, Starbucks, Yum Brands in turning to Beyond Meat to capture a slice of a growing market. The market is expected to capture 10% of the global meat market and reach $100bn in value within 15 years.

Large consumer goods firms are prioritising vegan products and recyclable packaging over low-carbon innovation, research by CDP has concluded. CDP found that five of the seven food and drinks firms which originally offered meat or dairy products, including Nestle and PepsiCo, are now “actively innovating” to launch more vegan alternatives as consumer demands shift.

Vegan and vegetarian diets have been growing in popularity for several years now, with concerns about health and animal welfare being compounded by a growing recognition of the environmental impact of industrial meat, fish and dairy production. Sales of plant-based meat alternatives were up 200% for some months in the US, and shares of Beyond Meat rose over 80% in 2020.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie