Chicken Industry

Plant-based food grows wings

One of South Africa’s largest chicken producers, RCL Foods, has announced that it intends to become a serious contender in the artificial meat market.

Releasing a stellar set of annual results this month, the owner of Rainbow Chicken told the market that it had identified plant-based protein as a strategic investment focus.

It said the global “alternative protein” market is expanding rapidly, driven by increasing consumer consciousness around health, environmental sustainability and animal welfare. Projections are that the South African plant-based protein market could make up R14 billion of a R208 billion total protein market by 2035. 

RCL has strengthened its partnership with Livekindly Collective (LKC) in which it bought a minority shareholding last year. Together they have formed Livekindly Collective Africa, which is governed by a joint board.

Its aim is to develop the plant-based market in South Africa and SubSaharan Africa. The new company will be responsible for selling all of LKC’s brands in the region, including Fry’s, Oumph!, NO MEAT, Like Meat and more.

RCL says it wants to make plant-based protein more accessible and affordable to people in South Africa and beyond. It sees this as part of a collective vision of making plant-based living “the new norm” and shifting the global food system to a more sustainable one.

It is not alone. This “collective vision” is shared by KFC, one of the world’s biggest fast-food brands. KFC’s US president Kevin Hochman, told Fortune Daily that it, too, is expanding in the “faux meat” market and intends replicating KFC’s fried chicken with plant-based product.

Food for thought.