JBS, the world’s largest meat processor has announced its withdrawal from plant-based meat replacement manufacture in the US this week. They are closing Planterra, the manufacturing site in Colorado which had been in operation for just two years. JBS has other investments in plant-based meat substitute products in Brazil and Europe.

JBS acquired Vivera, the Dutch based manufacturer of plant-based products for €341m. Viviera is the third largest company in Europe in this business, and the acquisition gave JBS access to markets in 25 countries across Europe for plant-based products that replicate meat. This includes the lucrative UK market where Vivera had listings with Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Waitrose.

This announcement by JBS is the latest blow to the meat substitute industry in the US. Share prices in the high profile Beyond Meat company have collapsed this year as sales have plummeted, and the McPlant burger offering has been withdrawn in McDonald’s in the US.

The announcement by JBS also reverses the trend in major meat processors over recent years as they have all been investing in meat substitute products. ABP in 2019 announced the launch of Equals, a plant-based meat free brand for distribution in the UK.

ABP first entered the meat-free products category in 2011 and were employing over 100 people at its Eatwell meat-free processing facility in Liverpool. In October last year, Rustlers, Kepak’s ready meals brand announced a pea protein meat replacement burger would be launched in Tesco, One Stop and the Booker Group in the UK.