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Animal Protein businesses diversify

When the writing is on the wall write some more yourself. That’s the strategy now being adopted by many global producers of animal-based proteins.

Starting in April, new brand OZO will debut a variety of plant-based meat products at retailers across the United States. The brand is owned by Planterra Foods—a US-based subsidiary of Brazil’s JBS SA, the world’s largest meat company—and will launch with burgers, grounds (in plain and Mexican-seasoned flavours), and Italian-style meatballs, all made with a blend of pea and rice protein that is fermented with the help of shiitake mushrooms.

The product line will be priced between $5.99 to $7.99 and packaged in recyclable containers. “We recognise there are other protein offerings out there, which is why we’re adamant on having strong points of difference in our products,” Planterra Foods CEO Darcey Macken said. “This category needs better tasting food from real ingredients that appeals to the whole family, and we’re confident that OZO products deliver.” To promote the launch, OZO will embark on a nationwide tour starting this spring and through December, with the aim of giving 750,000 customers a taste of the new vegan meat line.

In Brazil, JBS launched the plant-based Incrível (Incredible) Burger under its Seara Alimentos brand last year and opened the Incredible Lab, its plant-based innovation hub, in January.

JBS is not the only meat company in Brazil tapping into the global plant-based movement. Last year, Burger King began testing the Rebel Whopper at 58 outlets across Brazil’s capital, São Paulo, made with a plant-based patty supplied by Marfrig Global Foods SA—the world’s largest producer of animal-based hamburgers.

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