2021 was a record year for plant-based protein investment, TSX stocks HULK, BU, VERY; and US INGR, BYND are a few of the top options for retail investors to review in 2022.
Plant-based food investors are devouring shares of stocks in the industry like so many soybeans. Last year, fundraising records were broken and along with them animal protein’s previous stranglehold on big food. In fact, thirteen individual funding rounds saw $100 million or more in investment.
Impossible Foods is probably the most well-known, and was also the largest closing it’s second $500 million funding round in two years. Eat Just collected $267 million for its cell-based Good Meat subsidiary in two rounds which was a record until Future Meat Technologies announced it had raised $347 million.
This kind of investment interest isn’t expected to slow anytime soon. The plant-based food sector is forecasted by Meticulous Research to hit $23.4 Billion by 2028. With so much growth private investors aren’t the only ones who will benefit.
Retail investors have plenty of public equity investment opportunities in both the US and Canada. The public plant-based protein-producing companies available to investors vary in scale and substance; but share a common theme, sustainability.
Since Canada is above the US on the map we will start with the listed leaders of the great northern new meat movement.
Pontus Protein Ltd. (TSXV:HULK // OTC: HLKKF) is extremely interesting because, as many of the private venture-funded record-breakers above, the company is still in its early stages. However, judging by its investment deck, things could pick up rather quickly for the water lentil producer in 2022, making Q1 an opportune time for early-stage entry.
Pontus Protein Ltd. (TSXV:HULK // OTC: HLKKF) grows its water lentils in a vertical aquaponics farm which utilizes 5% of the water its traditional agricultural cousins require. Its crops are available within 24 hours, and the company then grinds them to a fine protein powder.
Pontus’ powder has several benefits that differentiate it and make its market potential quite interesting. Pontus (TSXV:HULK // OTC: HLKKF) water lentil protein is 42.1% pure plant protein. Amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, are more plentiful in lentils than peas or soy. They also contain contains a plentiful amount of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, these are what nutritionists call ‘good fats.’
Many plant-based and other alternative proteins leave users with some digestive issues, these lentils are easily digestible with a high fibre/ fiber content ratio.
Finally, Pontus checks several important boxes for consumers in the plant-based food market; it is non-GMO, allergen-free, and 100% organic. Organic growth in the share price could come sooner than later.
Burcon Nutrascience (TSX:BU) is a more established option in the Canadian plant-based protein market. The company boasts a diverse patent portfolio covering novel plant-based proteins derived from peas, canola, soy, hemp, sunflower seeds, and other plant sources. The company is now adding patents in the US market.
Dually listed, The Very Good Food Company (TSXV:VERY // NASDAQ:VGFC) develops, produces and distributes plant-based meats and other alt-food products. This year, the company is testing its plant-based proteins in China. The company is also growing through acquisition. One year ago, it announced the acquisition of artisan vegan cheese producer the Cultured Nut, which it wisely rebranded to fit the overall company theme as ‘ Very Good Cheese Company.’
The Very Good Food Company (TSXV:VERY // NASDAQ:VGFC) also acquired a company that specializes in placing plant-based products in retail locations. This was a win for the company helping it grow to 2000 locations from 275.
Not to be outdone, the United States, well known for its obesity rates and Texas-sized steaks is turning over a new leaf and turning that leaf into protein.
Ingredion (NYSE:INGR) recently opened the first facility in North America to produce pea protein isolate and pea starch. Ingredion’s pea starch can be used in a number of ways, including in the production of plant-based cheeses.
Finally it wouldn’t be a plant-based protein report without mentioning the sector’s darling, Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND).
Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) is a model most of the aforementioned companies like Pontus and Very Good for instance, are striving to follow and improve upon. The company’s meat substitutes can be found and purchased worldwide at markets and dining establishments. Its beef and pork emulations are said to be ‘uncanny’ even McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) is selling Beyond Meat products at select locations.
Plant-based protein is here to stay, and the above companies are in the position to benefit investors in the green food scene.
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