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3 Stocks Worth Watching on the Meatless Meat Revolution

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Meatless meat or plant-based meat products have been gaining much popularity over the past few years – a trend aggravated by the pandemic. Consumers’ growing inclination toward trying new products as well as their rising health consciousness, especially due to COVID-19, has been driving demand for substitutes for traditional meat products. Apart from this, the closure of several meat-processing plants amid the pandemic led to a rise in animal meat prices, prompting consumers to go for plant-based options.

No wonder, a number of food companies have been investing in the meatless meat space, which appears to have strong prospects going ahead.

Meatless Meat – a Growing Trend

Plant-based protein items have been getting a lot of attention as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits of plant-based food and meat products, compared to animal-sourced food. Most plant-based food alternatives are touted to contain less artificial ingredients and preservatives, thus making them quite healthy. These food options are also considered a useful source of protein by people who practice vegan-dining. In addition, growing awareness of factors like animal rights and environmental concerns have urged many meat eaters to switch to plant-based meat.

Clearly, the plant-based meat space appears to have ample scope for growth. A number of companies, including Beyond Meat Inc. (BYND - Free Report) and Impossible Foods Inc. have been taking strong strides to expand in this arena. Companies have been focusing on coming up with technologies and formulations to enhance the taste, health benefits as well as environmental impacts of these products. In fact, industry experts believe that plant-based protein may emerge as a major disruptor in the conventional meat market.

Stepping into 2022, the prospects for plant-based protein food alternatives look quite bright. Therefore, investors may consider keeping a close watch on some of the stocks that offer such products and are poised to grow on their brand strength and robust offerings.

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3 Stocks in Focus 

Ingredion Incorporated (INGR - Free Report) is worth taking note of. The company specializes in producing starch and sweeteners for various industries. It also offers plant-based protein, which is used in processing food items such as bakery, cereals, snacks and meat substitutes. Ingredion Incorporated’s endeavors toward plant-based protein include the acquisition of Verdient Foods; investment in a Process Innovation Center in Bridgewater, NJ; investment in Clara Foods and investment in a dedicated innovation lab in Englewood, CO, to name a few. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Ingredion Incorporated’s next financial-year earnings per share (EPS) suggests growth of 4.6% from the year-ago period’s figure. Shares of INGR have rallied 26% in the year-to-date period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Investors can keep a close eye on Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN - Free Report) , which currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The company specializes in producing and distributing chicken, beef, pork, and prepared food products. It offers a range of plant-based food and blended products under the Raised and Rooted brand. The brand’s plant-based nuggets are quite popular. The company has been coming up with new offerings under the plant-based banner to cater to retail and foodservice segments.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for TSN’s next financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 1.1% and 3.5%, respectively, from the year-ago period. Shares of Tyson Foods have moved up 37.4% in the year so far.

Hormel Foods Corporation (HRL - Free Report) is also worth watching. This Zacks Rank #3 company develops, processes, and distributes various meat, nuts, and food products to retail, foodservice, deli, and commercial customers. The company started undertaking efforts in the plant-based and blended protein space in 2014 with the launch of Hormel Fuse burger in its foodservice business. It has been taking various strides in the plant-based direction since then. Some of these include adding plant-based pizza topping items, launching the Happy Little Plants brand and teaming up with The Better Meat Co. to introduce new mycoprotein and plant-based protein products.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for HRL’s next financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 2.4% and 6.9%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s figures. Shares of Hormel Foods have increased 6.4% in the year so far.