The plant-based food sector has started to explode in recent years, and there are no signs that consumer demand or interest will slow down anytime soon. According to market research, the plant-based meat market is set to reach $5.2 billion by 2020 and could make up one-third of the market by 2050. This move away from meat is largely due to consumers’ rising concerns about animal welfare, personal health, and importantly, sustainability.

Campbell Soup Company seems to understand this shift in food because the company recently joined the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), a trade group that advocates on behalf of its members and works to expand plant-based markets in the retail and foodservice sectors.

Campbell hopes the partnership with PBFA will help it expand access to its plant-based offerings and it seems like the company is on the right track. Campbell has also increased the amount of vegetables and whole grains in their portfolio and is working towards bringing packaged fresh and refrigerated products with their brands Bolthouse Farms, 1915 Organic and Garden Fresh Gourmet. Just recently, Bolthouse Farms, the largest producer of baby carrots in North America developed a pea protein milk, Bolthouse Farms® Plant Protein Milk. Their beverage contains 10 grams of pea protein per 8-ounce serving, compared to almond milk’s one gram of protein.

“We are thrilled that Campbell Soup has taken the lead in becoming the first large food company to join PBFA. We look forward to more companies of all sizes joining us to help grow the industry,” Michele Simon, Executive Director of the PBFA shared with One Green Planet.

Some may be hesitant to embrace huge companies getting involved in the plant-based sector, but in truth, when big companies such as Campbell’s make such a bold statement, it triggers others to do the same. Canadian meat processor, Maple Leaf Foods, recently acquired Lightlife Foods, a producer of plant-based products such as tempeh, vegan sausages, and burgers. Tyson Foods, Inc., the world’s largest meat producer, has a five percent ownership stake in plant-based protein producer Beyond Meat. Vegan cheese company Daiya Foods was also recently acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, for a whopping $325 million. Not to mention, Nestlé recently bought plant-based company Sweet Earth Foods, a company known for vegan meals, using plant-based proteins.

Recent studies estimate that nearly one-third of Americans (roughly 100 million people) are consciously choosing to keep meat off their plates more often, and millennials are transforming the American consumer marketplace by demanding fresh, healthy and plant-based options. This is great news considering the toll our current food system is having on the environment, animals, and people’s health – and thanks to companies like Campbell, we are seeing the future of food is being formed here and now!

To learn more about the PBFA and how they’re working to transform the food system, check out Michele Simon’s recent interview on the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast.

Image Source: Yamashita Yohei/Flickr