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The plant-based food trend is taking over tables across North America, creating a new market of opportunity. What are the top plant-based food stocks for investors to consider?

The plant-based food industry has attracted a lot of interest in the past few years. Consumers are hungry for more plant-based diets, and their enthusiasm is creating a juicy growth market that investors can really sink their teeth into.

In 2021, several companies garnered more than US$100 million in 13 separate funding rounds. One of the biggest winners was privately held Impossible Foods, which completed a US$500 million raise for lifetime funding of over US$2 billion.

One of 2022's most notable financings was the US$400 million Series C round for cultured meat company Upside Foods. It included money from Tyson (NYSE:TSN), Cargill and Givaudan (SWX:GIVN) to help build a commercial-scale manufacturing facility and a solid supply chain for cell growth media. The funding will also provide for more research and development on cell-based meat.


All this funding frenzy might just be the appetizer before the main course.

In its Foresight 2022 report, Lux Research includes alternative proteins among its picks for top technology innovations destined to have the greatest impact on worldwide markets in the next decade. With a nearly 12 percent compound annual growth rate forecast over seven years, the plant-based food sector represents a high-growth opportunity for investors. In fact, Meticulous Research projects that the global plant-based food market will be worth as much as US$23.4 billion by 2028.

Here the Investing News Network takes a look at the top plant-based food stocks by market capitalization in the US and Canadian markets. Read on to learn more about them.

Top US-listed plant-based food stocks

The American plant-based food stocks below were compiled using TradingView’s stock screener on September 14, 2022. Companies listed on the NASDAQ and NYSE were considered and are listed from largest to smallest.

1. Ingredion (NYSE:INGR)

Market cap: US$5.53 billion

Global food manufacturer Ingredion provides plant-based ingredients to companies manufacturing vegan products; it earned a spot on Ethisphere’s list of the world’s most ethical companies for the eighth year in row in 2021. The company recently opened the first facility in North America to produce pea protein isolate and pea starch.

The company's pea protein isolate is 85 percent protein and can be used to boost the protein content of a range of plant-based food and beverage products. Ingredion’s pea starch can be used in a number of ways, including in the production of plant-based cheeses.

2. Oatly Group (NASDAQ:OTLY)

Market cap: US$1.81 billion

Oatly Group bills itself as “the world’s original and largest oat drink company.” It has a range of plant-based alternatives to dairy products, including milks, ice cream, yogurt, cooking creams and spreads.

Headquartered in Sweden, Oatly is actively expanding its global footprint in the plant-based food market. In 2021, the company opened production facilities in Singapore and China. More recently, in January 2022, Oatly launched a plant-based milk alternative on trains in Germany. In June 2022, the company added electric trucks to its transportation network in North America.

3. Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND)

Market cap: US$1.27 billion

The most mature pure-play plant-based food stock on the market, Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat first launched its brand nearly a decade ago. Today, the company’s plant-based meat alternatives can be purchased in grocery stores and restaurants across the globe. Designed to emulate beef and pork, its offerings include patties, sausages, hot dogs and meatballs.

In November 2021, fast food giant McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) began selling McPlant burgers made with Beyond Meat products at select locations. The test run initially had a positive impact on the share price for this US-listed plant-based food stock. However, Beyond Meat's stock took a hit in July 2022 when the pilot program ended with no plans for a nationwide launch due to low demand for the plant-based burger at McDonald's stores.

4. Benson Hill (NYSE:BHIL)

Market cap: US$594.36 million

Food technology company Benson Hill is combining data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning with biology through its proprietary platform CropOS. The company’s products include plant-based proteins such as ultra-high-protein soy and yellow peas. The company believes plants with higher protein content will displace the need for expensive energy and water-intensive processing when producing the protein ingredients used in plant-based meat alternatives.

In January 2022, Benson Hill announced the acquisition of soy flour manufacturer ZFS Creston. "This acquisition advances our integrated business model as a more efficient route to market with a smaller footprint that better aligns with consumer preferences, enabling us to harness the genetic potential of plants and help scale the growth of plant-based markets," said CEO Matt Crisp.

5. Tattooed Chef (NASDAQ:TTCF)

Market cap: US$544.23 billion

With manufacturing facilities in the US and Italy, Tattooed Chef has a growing portfolio of frozen plant-based foods that are sold by retailers across the US. The company recently launched eight new plant-based food products for sale in Walmart (NYSE:WMT) stores, and has products at Publix Super Markets and Target (NYSE:TGT).

In June 2022, Tattooed Chef was added to the Russell Microcap Index, which is used by investment managers and institutional investors for index funds and as a benchmark for active investment strategies. “Tattooed Chef’s addition to the Russell Microcap Index offers an exciting opportunity to elevate our Company’s profile among investors and enhance our visibility,” said Sam Galletti, president and CEO of Tattooed Chef.

Top Canada-listed plant-based food stocks

The Canadian plant-based food stocks below were compiled using TradingView’s stock screener on September 14, 2022. Companies listed on the TSX and TSXV were considered and are listed from largest to smallest.

1. Else Nutrition (TSX:BABY)

Market cap: C$81.74 million

Else Nutrition develops and makes plant-based, clean ingredient alternatives to dairy-based formulas for infants and toddlers. In 2021, the Israel-based company listed its plant-based toddler nutrition products with United Natural Foods for grocery distribution across the US. United Natural Foods has 58 distribution centers nationwide.

More recently, Else Nutrition products began selling on Walmart.com and Kroger.com, and the company has added more products to its offerings at Sprouts Farmers Markets.

2. Burcon Nutrascience (TSX:BU)

Market cap: C$58.71 million

Burcon Nutrascience develops plant-based proteins for food and beverages. The food technology company has built an extensive patent portfolio covering novel plant-based proteins derived from peas, canola, soy, hemp, sunflower seeds and other plant sources. Through its joint venture Merit Functional Foods, Burcon has a protein production facility in Manitoba, Canada, that makes pea and canola proteins for the food and beverage industry.

In January 2022, Burcon expanded its intellectual property portfolio via the filing of five more US patent applications that cover technologies for the production of sunflower seed protein and pulse proteins.

3. The Planting Hope Company (TSXV:MYLK)

Market cap: C$54.03 million

The Planting Hope Company develops, produces and sells a range of plant-based food and beverage brands products under a growing suite of brands. Currently, the company’s brand family includes Hope and Sesame Sesamilk and Sesamilk creamers, RightRice Veggie Rice, Mozaics Real Veggie Chips and Veggicopia Veggie Snacks.

In September 2022, Planting Hope announced an increase in distribution across its plant-based product line, adding 135 new slots for Hope and Sesame and Mozaics across more than 15 United Natural Foods distribution centers. In that same month, the company’s Hope and Sesame Barista Blend Sesamemilk won best plant-based beverage at the 2022 Plant Based World event.

4. ODD Burger (TSXV:ODD)

Market cap: C$31.51 million

Launched in 2014 as a produce delivery service, ODD Burger has grown into a vegan fast food business. The plant-based food technology company manufactures and distributes plant-based protein and dairy alternatives using locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. ODD Burger’s product line includes over 30 plant-based protein products and sauces specifically designed for fast food.

These plant-based food products are distributed to six company-owned and franchised fast food restaurant locations across Ontario, Canada. In January, Odd Burger announced plans to double its footprint nationwide, with a further four locations planned in Ontario, as well as one in Calgary, Alberta, and one in Victoria, BC.

5. The Very Good Food Company (TSXV:VERY)

Market cap: C$22.52 million

The Very Good Food Company is a plant-based food technology company that develops, produces and distributes plant-based meats and other food alternatives. The vegan stock sells its products through its wholesale and ecommerce stores, as well as butcher shops.

As a part of its strategy to grow its portfolio, the Very Good Food Company has made a few strategic deals over the last two years. In 2021, it announced the C$3 million acquisition of artisan vegan cheese producer the Cultured Nut and rebranded the cheesemaker under the name the Very Good Cheese Company. Later in the year, it acquired Lloyd-James Marketing Group, a wholesale and food service broker that specializes in plant-based retail placements. The purchase has allowed the Very Good Food Company to boost its retail network from 275 locations to over 2,000.

In 2022, the Very Good Food Company began testing its plant-based protein product line in China.

What is plant-based meat?

Plant-based meats are meat alternatives made from plants. They are made to appear, feel and taste like conventional meat. Like animal meat, plant-based meat products are a source of protein, and are also comprised of fat, vitamins, minerals and water.

How is plant-based meat made?

Plant-based meat is produced from a variety of plant-based sources, such as lentils, chickpeas, soy, peas, chia seeds, beans, mushrooms and wheat gluten. The plant-based meat manufacturing process involves slicing, spiralizing and extruding machines; it may also use wet texturization technology, which involves adding moisture during the extrusion process.

Is Impossible Burger publicly traded?

Impossible Foods, which makes the Impossible Burger, is a privately held company. It is not traded on any public exchange.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2021.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_LifeScience for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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