New Trade Group Gives Veggie Meat-Makers an Advocate
The Plant Based Foods Association, which launched this week, hopes to boost advocacy for a fast-growing sector that often finds itself in direct competition with one of the largest parts in the grocery aisle—the part represented by the meat industry.
Meat-focused trade groups are pretty common in DC and elsewhere, but if Tofurky and almond milk are more your speed, this newly launched association should be right up your alley.
The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), a new industry group that went live Sunday evening, hopes to give makers of meat analogues the kind of support that their animal-based competitors take for granted.
Among the founding members of the group are companies whose products have become more prominent in grocery aisles as the product category has gained in popularity. Those companies, among others, include:
- Califia Farm, a producer of almond milk, which recently raised $50 million in private-equity funding
- Coconut Bliss, which makes an ice cream alternative with coconut milk
- Daiya Foods, known for its vegan cheese alternatives
- Tofurky, which is famous among vegetarians for solving many Thanksgiving-entree debates with its vegan turkey loaf.
(And that’s not even counting the analogue producers that aren’t currently listed as PBFA members, including mayo-maker Hampton Creek, and cereal giant Kellogg’s, which owns the MorningStar Farms brand.)
Meat and dairy alternatives may not get the buzz of their animal-based competitors, but the association’s executive director, Michele Simon, says that the $3.5 billion industry doesn’t deserve to be ignored by Washington.
“Every other sector of the food industry—from sugar to organics—is represented in the policy arena,” Simon said in a news release. “The time has come for the plant-based food industry to also have a collective voice.”
To help with the industry’s growth, the association plans to emphasize an advocacy-heavy strategy, with help from Elizabeth Kucinich, a well-known advocate of vegetarianism and organic food.
Kucinich, whose husband is former presidential candidate and congressman Dennis Kucinich, told The New York Times that her goal with advocacy is to “level the playing field” for meat-analogue makers, who often work without the wide marketing support that drives many meat industry groups. She emphasized that the trade group’s support won’t be limited to producers of meat analogues.
“It’s really to make sure we have a seat at the table,” she told the newspaper.