12 August 2020
EFKO will get into production of chops from soybean meat substitute. The Group sees a sustained interest among investors and consumers towards alternative meat
EFKO Group invests 100 mln rubles in production of chops for burgers from textured soybean protein, pilot line capacity will be 500 kg per month. The product is developed on the base of «Biruch-NT» center, a part of EFKO Group, in Belgorod region. Mass sales of plant-based meat for b2b and b2c markets will be in the beginning of 2021, retail sale will be under a new brand, now it is being registered. Apart from plant-based meat there will be special sauces – with them plant-based burgers will taste better, told representative of the Group to Agroinvestor.
«Analyzing prospects of the world market of functional food products, we noted a sustained interest among investors and consumers towards alternative meat», - tells CEO of «EFKO Innovations» Andrey Zyuzin. At the same time, the Group is one of the largest oilseeds processors that gives the project a major advantage in economic terms, he adds. Besides, the company plans to develop textured vegetable protein on the base of sunflower.
American Beyond Meat is one of the most famous in the segment of alternative types of meat. Its products are available in «Azbuka vkusa» and «Perekrestok» for about 1 thous rubles per package containing two chops. Representative of an exclusive distributer Beyond Meat in Russia – Alianta Group – told «Kommersant» that EFKO plant-based chops must not be compared with Beyond Meat that does not contain soybean: these are products for different audience. EFKO product will be 5-7 times cheaper than Beyond Meat instead, notes the company.
The head of the National meat association Segey Yushin tells that, obviously, EFKO Group saw prospects in this segment: for example, to press somebody, to make the product better than other companies. Anyway, this project won’t compete with traditional meat, he is sure. «These products have been lived together for many years and will continue to live together. Each of them has its share on the market. Of course, the share of traditional meat will be incomparably more», - told Mr. Yushin to Agroinvestor.
100 mln rubles of investments show that the project is ordinary and such sum can’t have a significant impact on the market. «This EFKO project is small. It will be just added to those few products without animal proteins that exist one or more», - explains Mr. Yushin. According to him, any product that exists on the market may be competitive, if its consumer properties, package, marketing, distribution etc. are better than in competitors.
The success of EFKO project will depend, firstly, on quality and price of the product: it can be made, for example, both of soybean isolate or concentrate. Secondly – on product positioning and marketing – for whom this product is: for young people who watch their figure or do not eat traditional meat on ideological ground – this is one thing, if it is for poor people – this is another thing, commented CEO of Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR) Dmitry Rylko. According to him, plant-based meat is becoming more and more popular among post-millennials around the world including our country. «That’s why if they position everything correctly and find correct market outlets, it will go well», - he adds.
Foodtech projects do have a future but it is necessary to look at their economy, previously told executive director of the investment company «Aton» Ivan Nikolaev. Such products are unlikely to replace traditional ones: they will probably complete them, he supposes. Mr. Nikolaev drew an analogy with drugs: there are original drugs and their analogues – generics, the first ones are more expensive than the second ones. «Analogues rarely replace original drugs. They rather expand the market for people, countries and entire continents that can’t allow to purchase original drugs», - he told. Besides, alternative food products are contrary to the Russian consumption pattern and this is a big question how popular meat from soybean may be in our country. Mr. Nikolaev supposes that incomes of Russians won’t fall so that they will switch to soybean meat.
According to the venture fund Fuel for Growth, last year it was invested 1,1 mln euros in alternative sources of protein. 1,8 bln euros – for seven months of 2020. Increase in investments in alternative sources of protein for the incomplete 2020 year shows that now this market is the most attractive one for investors. «I think in the future we will see increased inflows to this sector», - Mr. Zyuzin tells.