Week in Review
My week was great, thanks for asking. In fact, I went on my first date since COVID-19 turned the world upside down. We made reservations for Burro, a local taco joint with some great food and drink options. Aside from my horribly degraded social skills, not that I had any to begin with, the date went really well. Paired with a nice IPA, I ended up ordering two entrées, a sweet potato taco and a Brussels sprout taco. Without a second thought, I consciously made the decision to order two entirely vegetarians tacos. Keep in mind, Burro’s meat-based menu items are nothing to scoff at, offering delicious options like pork belly nachos, adobo beef tacos, and achiote chicken tacos. However, having been to Burro a few times, I can confidently say that I prefer their vegetarian options.
Times are changing, folks. In my opinion, vegetarian and meat-based meals are now competing on the same playing field. However, vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian diets have become increasingly popular following an influx of plant-based alternatives and their respective companies. Some of these companies include Plant & Co. Brands Ltd., Else Nutrition Holdings Inc., Naturally Splendid Enterprises Ltd., and The Very Good Food Company Inc. Although I covered Naturally Splendid and Very Good in my last plant-based sector review, Else Nutrition and Plant & Co. are two new faces suggested to us by our astute readers. Let’s get into it.
Else Nutrition Holdings Inc.
- $270.571M Market Capitalization
Growing up, I was conditioned to believe that milk was filled with hormones that would turn me into a freak of nature. To clarify, my parents weren’t filling my head with propaganda, it was the news stations I’d see on TV or the headlines I would read online, but that’s just how modern media is. Jokes on them though because I grew up with only 12 toes instead of 16. However, even the most nonsensical lies have a hint of truth to them. According to a study published by the Iranian Journal of Public Health, the most important hormones found in milk and other dairy products consist of prolactin and steroids including estrogens, progesterone, corticoids, and androgens. Furthermore, the naturally occurring hormones in dairy foods have been found to have biological effects in both humans and animals. The study also outlines that special concern should be paid to the biological effects, which may occur during certain and sensitive time points including perinatal and pubertal periods. In others words, we probably shouldn’t be juicing our kids up with store-bought milk.
That’s where our good buddy Else Nutrition (BABY.V) comes in. Aside from having a logo that could easily be mistaken for eBay, Else Nutrition is a food and nutrition company focused on developing clean, plant-based food and nutrition products for infants, toddlers, children, and adults. The Company is credited for its plant-based, non-soy, formula, intended to be a clean-ingredient alternative to dairy based formulas. In terms of recognition, Else Nutrition won the “2017 Best Health and Diet Solutions” award at the Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan. Additionally, the Company’s Plant-Based Complete Nutrition for Toddlers was recently ranked as the #1 top seller in the baby and toddler formula category on Amazon.
So, what has Else Nutrition been up to lately? On August 12, 2021, Else Nutrition announced that it had signed an online distribution agreement with Walmart.com and would be expanding into Walmart’s eCommerce marketplace by Q4 2021 with its Plant-Based Complete Nutrition Products for Toddlers. Given Walmart’s impressive eCommerce success, this is great news for Else Nutrition. According to eMarketer, Walmart’s U.S. eCommerce sales prior to the pandemic were $30 billion and this number is projected to reach more than $64 million by the end of this year.
“Entering Walmart.com is a highly significant milestone for the Company…The sheer size of Walmart.com will allow us to reach thousands of new families and enable us to scale significantly over the next 3 years,” commented Hamutal Yitzhak, CEO and Co-Founder of Else Nutrition.
Furthermore, Walmart.com saw increased traffic in the past year compared to pre-pandemic levels. In particular, online shopping related to the grocery and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) segments underwent a surge in popularity due to the pandemic. Keep in mind, Walmart was also ranked the largest United States grocery retailer in 2019 with 65% of Walmart’s $510.329 billion sales coming from U.S. operations. Whether you eat baby formula in your spare time or have a kid, Else Nutrition may be worth keeping an eye on if you’re an investor looking to dip your toes in the infant formula market, which is expected to reach USD$110.26 billion by 2026.
Plant & Co. Brands Ltd.
- $26.04M Market Capitalization
Holy Crap, Plant & Co. (VEGN.C) has me licking my YamChops! Give me a break, I’m not good at puns. Plant & Co. is a modern health and wellness company curating plant-based foods. The Company offers a growing number of plant-based food products through its two leading plant-based brands, Holy Crap Foods Inc. and YamChops, the vegan butcher. Plant & Co. believes the plant-based sector is poised for tremendous growth and, considering 27% of Canadians plan on switching to a plant-based lifestyle, this assumption isn’t wrong. Holy Crap Brand’s line of high-fiber, plant-based, gluten-free cereal first made its appearance ten years ago on Dragon’s Den. More recently, on February 12, 2021, Plant & Co. announced that it had completed the acquisition of Holy Crap.
“We have invested a lot of time and capital to bring Holy Crap Cereal brands from its humble beginnings in BC to becoming a national brand known to Canadian’s coast to coast available at over 600 locations. It’s great to see our investment paying such early rewards,” said Donna Reddy, President of Plant&Co.
Shortly after, the Company reported a 53% increase in monthly sales for April 2021 compared to February 2021. Not too shabby. Similarly, on January 19, 2021, Plant & Co. acquired YamChops, which specializes in the preparation, distribution, and retail sales of more than 17 proprietary plant-based meats, chicken, pork, fish, and other vegan style food products. With this in mind, Plant & Co. intends to utilize YamChops’ existing distribution networks and business-to-business (B2B) relationships for large and bulk ordering of plant-based product already in place with nation-wide distributors.
But wait, there’s more! On August 9, 2021, Plant & Co. announced that it had entered into an arrangement agreement dated July 26, 2021, with 1309185 BC Ltd. (Spinco) whereby the Company transferred the assets, being all cannabis relate assets, into Spinco. Put simply, Plant & Co. will be singularly focused on plant-based foods and technical operations, including its Holy Crap Breakfast Cereal brand and its YamChops plant-based deli operations. Through a spinout of the Company’s cannabis related assets, Spinco will function as a separate private company with the intention of going public in the future.
Naturally Splendid Enterprises Ltd.
- $10.897M Market Capitalization
In recent news, on August 26, 2021, Naturally Splendid (NSP.V) announced that Denny’s restaurants across Canada will begin offering select NATERA meat-alternative entrees on their menus. This news comes shortly after the Company’s summer menu test of NATERA products at 5 Denny’s restaurants in BC. Starting later this fall, several NATERA plant-based products, including NATERA Seasoned Chick-Un Tenders and NATERA Chick-Un Nuggets will be available at 71 Denny’s locations across Canada.
“After a two-month menu test at five of our restaurants in B.C., we are pleased to offer our guests NATERA Chick-Un Tenders and Chick-Un Nuggets at most Denny’s locations across Canada in addition to all of our Bar One restaurants. Denny’s is a place founded in community, where everyone can enjoy great tasting food at a great value, and we are proud to offer menu items that benefit the health of our guests and communities,” commented Deborah Gagnon, President & COO, Denny’s Canada.
Additionally, Naturally Splendid also announced that Bar One, a restaurant under the Denny’s Canada brand, will be offering select NATERA plant-based, meat-alternative entrees shortly after the Denny’s launch at all 13 locations in BC and Alberta. To sweeten the pot, Denny’s restaurants will be displaying on-premise advertising featuring some of Naturally Splendid’s NATERA plant-based foods as well promoting the plant-based, meat-alternative entrees through its social media channels.
The Very Good Food Company Inc.
- $311.77M Market Capitalization
The Very Good Food Company Inc. (VERY.V) is a plant-based food technology company dedicated to producing nutritious and delicious plant-based meat and cheese products under its core brands, The Very Good Butchers and the Very Good Cheese Co. On August 24, 2021, The Very Good Butchers announced the launch of its Butcher’s Select sausages, meatballs and burgers. In the Company’s words, Butcher’s Select sausages feature a prime cut of plant-based goodness. Yes, you read that right. A prime cut of plant-based goodness. This line of gluten-free and soy-free foods is made using real, minimally processed ingredients to create a meaty taste and texture. With this in mind, Very Good’s Bratwurst Sausages and Breakfast Sausages are now available for purchase through a limited release via the Company’s eCommerce site, with a full produce line launch planned for this fall.
“We strive to make nutritious and delicious products that make plant-based eating easy and approachable. Tired of the overly processed meat alternatives available, we’re raising the plant-based bar by using only simple ingredients that make you feel good. Our goal is to get millions of people to rethink their foods choices, while helping them make an impact on the world,” said Mitchell Scott, co-founder and CEO of The Very Good Food Company.
Who would want to eat plant-based sausages? Well, more than half of US households are now purchasing plant-based foods and I would imagine they aren’t drawing the line at sausages. In addition to appealing to households interested in a plant-based diet, the Butcher’s Select line is expected to extend the Company’s consumer base to the estimated 30% of Americans who avoid gluten. Whichever way you swing, whether its vegetarian or not, I think we can all enjoy a nice meaty sausage, right?
If you’re looking for more details related to Naturally Splendid Enterprises Ltd. and The Very Good Food Company Inc., feel free to check out last week’s plant-based sector review here. Our two newcomers, Plant & Co. Brands Ltd. and Else Nutrition Holdings Inc., are definitely worth keeping an eye on as the billion-dollar plant-based food market continues to grow. If our readers have any other recommendations, feel free to leave a comment on the site or any of our social media platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.