Fish-free tuna, soya shawarma kebab and the illustrious impossible burger, a meatless patty that uses protein from a soybean plant to mimic the effects of blood like animal-based products. These are all quirky items contributing to the thriving meatless market, predicted to be worth around $140 billion in the next decade by analysts at Barclays.
With over 4 million veggies across the world, and the number of vegans, flexitarians and meatless-Monday-ers ever expanding, this revolution in eating habits presents an opportunity to capitalise. Last year our old friend the processed meat sector only saw growth of 2%, whilst the $1.4 billion meat alternatives market grew by 22%; this follows a herd of findings suggesting that animal agriculture contributes to 14.5% of all human emissions, with beef production comprising a whopping 41% of this.
The plant-based diet is sprouting everywhere; once scoffed at by the masses, now Amazon’s top cookery books feature a significant cruelty free section, if not completely dedicated to treating our animals as friends not food. More and more businesses are jumping on this bandwagon, with the number of food patents filed across the globe rising by 34% last year.
May this year saw the California based company Beyond Meat become the first veggie food business to list on a leading exchange. The company’s initial public offering raised $240.6 million and the group’s shares almost doubled after the listing, showing us that perhaps investors are ‘beyond meat’ after all. Similarly, the creators of the acclaimed impossible burger, Impossible Foods, raised $500 million in its latest funding round in June, and its value reaching $2 billion in 2018.
So we have seen just how lucrative this industry is, and how the 21st century entrepreneur is chomping at the bit to get a hold on anything sustainably plant-based. But where are the secret ingredients to the most loved meat alternative fungi you ask?
The mycroprotein technology used in Quorn, the 131st most popular food and snack brand, is in fact waiting for you right here on the internet, unpatented by Marlow Foods since the 20-year patent expired in 2005. However, I wouldn’t start licking your lips yet, Marlow Foods haven’t missed a trick; they’ve done quite the opposite.
Although the company have built up a significant collection of patents to protect their further developments, CEO Kevin Brennan wasn’t bothered when the original patent surrounding the mycroprotein technology, which is fundamental to the production of basic Quorn, expired. In a series of interviews he explained that he was ‘confident in the company’s strength of technical know-how’, and ‘how established the brand had become.’ Indeed, the Quorn brand, which earned the patronage of Olympian Mo Farah and footballer Jermain Defoe, serves as a perfect example of why names, logos and other identifiable elements are so vital to the success of even research and science-based companies.
For a brand like Quorn, the combination of trademarks and patents filed when the product was first established in the 1980s, allowed the brand to become so strong that copycat manufacturers failed to threaten the company’s vast market share. Quorn and its parent company Marlow Foods serve as an exemplar of how to manage and utilise your intellectual property to become a big player in any industry.
So, the plant-based industry is thriving fast, and you have the means to acquire one of the market leader’s product technology, what comes next? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need help valuing or managing your IP assets to match the performance of Marlow Foods; or contact me personally for a free, unbiased tasting service of the latest plant-based goodies.
Author: Samantha Main, Marketing Assistant
Tel: +44 (0)141 353 3011