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The vegan food market is set to face challenges after a drought in Canada severely affected pea crop yields. Many herbal companies, including Beyond Meat and Meatless Farm, rely on pea protein to create their products.
Over the summer, Canada, the world’s largest pea-producing region, saw its worst drought in over a century. The drought covered more than 90 percent of farmland in Western Canada and affected 45.9 million acres of cropland.
This resulted in a 45% drop in pea production, according to the producer of herbal ingredients Rocket. Subsequently, pea prices increased by 120% compared to last year.
Roquette – which has invested more than half a billion euros in pea protein over a five-year period – said the rising costs would “inevitably” be passed on to customers.
“The plant protein sector is facing an unprecedented situation which is strongly impacting the market: a restricted raw material supply capacity while global demand for plant protein is increasing significantly, driven by strong consumer demand for a healthier and more sustainable food, ”commented Roquette.
The rise of pea protein
Peas are appearing more and more on ingredient lists for vegan meat and dairy products – and have been for years.
In 2018, more than 750 new pea-based foods hit store shelves, according to Mintel.
Now companies are using peas to do everything from burgers (Lightlife Foods) to mac and cheese (Annie’s Homegrown) to vegan milk (NotCo) to dairy-free ice cream (Ripple Foods).
Jeremy Burks is Senior Vice President of Plant Proteins at Roquette. Burks said in a statement: “We know that our customers are closely monitoring the prices and availability of raw materials and they can count on our huge investments to shorten supply chains and help them mitigate some of this significant increase. costs.”
He later added: “The short term is a serious challenge, but we make sure that customers can look to the future with confidence. “