Exclusive: Paty will sell her "4.0" hamburger in Argentina, made with pure artificial intelligence and no meat
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg revolutionized the world a month ago by traveling on a solar-powered raft to the United States instead of by plane, due to the pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels.He also urged society to reduce its intake of beef. "If the cows formed a country, it would be the third in greenhouse gas emissions," only behind the US. and China, says the UN, attributing almost 20% of the total to livestock.
The flag raised by Thunberg is also agitated by many teenagers, a band that was characterized by being among the main customers of hamburger chains.
In part, it led to the restructuring of the industry and the food revolution 4.0, which avoid the use of ingredients of animal origin and recreate them - technology through-, with plant components, imitating almost perfectly flavors, textures, aromas and colors. And reducing not only the emission of gases, but also the intensive use of water and land.The trend has already been 10 years, but only in 2019 the segment showed its true potential. In May, the Beyond Meat company waved the start bell on Wall Street and its shares soared 650% in just one week. Now, he ends his landing in Argentina. He has the support of no less than Bill Gates, the second richest man on the planet ($ 96.5 billion), who does not hesitate to confess that his favorite food is hamburger, the only "allowed" in his vegetarian diet.
Gates is confident that the future of food will be vegan. Surely for this reason he also invested in Impossible Foods, whose medallions of vegetable meat are offered in the United States through Burger King; and Just, which offers vegetable replicas of poultry products, such as egg, mayonnaise and chicken nuggets.
He is not the only billionaire who sees it this way: Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and a fortune of $ 113,000 million, disbursed $ 30 million at the beginning of the year at NotCo, a Chilean startup that began selling its vegan mayonnaise in Argentina and paves the way to market other products, such as milk, ice cream and even its NotBurger.
Now, Argentina will be the scene of one of the most anticipated contests of food 4.0, as the main international and regional players are looking to the "meat country" to launch hamburgers. And who has just signed up for this race is the Brazilian refrigerator Marfrig, a licensee of well-established brands in the public, such as Paty or GoodMark. The company confirms to iProUP that it is already developing its own vegetable medallion, based on artificial intelligence.Paty 4.0 I love youMarfrig's commitment to the plant-based hamburger business shows the reconversion of a giant that seeks to meet the demands of the new generations: it is not only the fourth largest producer worldwide, but also the world "champion" in making medallions of meat.
"We are preparing to sell our vegetable burgers in Argentina. Also in Uruguay and Brazil. We have plans to export them to other markets that have shown interest," sources from the parent company told iProUP.
According to the company, the expansion plan includes starting in the land of the barbecue and making a strong presence in the food services channel (restaurants) and in the supermarket gondolas.
For now, production has already begun at the plant that it owns in Várzea Grande, Mato Grosso State, near the border with Bolivia. It is dedicated only to the preparation of plant foods, avoiding contact with meats, so that they can be consumed by those who follow a strict vegetarian diet.
In addition, it is located almost in the heart of South America, which will mean lower logistics costs to export burgers throughout the Southern Cone in a first phase. It also plans the sale to the United States and Asia.
"We have the competitive advantage of being able to produce it in our facilities in Argentina," they say to iProUP from Marfrig. The company has a plant in the city of San Jorge, Santa Fe, which produces 3,400 tons of hamburgers per month for fast food chains and supermarkets under the Paty, Good Mark and Barfy brands.
To achieve the ideal "recipe", the Brazilian firm took advantage of the strategic alliance it has with the American agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), which has technology to design plant based foods as meat and dairy substitutes."After much research, ADM managed to develop a vegetable-based raw material. In the case of our hamburger, soybeans - when processed properly - ensures flavor, texture and appearance very similar to meat of animal origin" , stand out from Marfrig.
As they reveal, they have long fantasized about offering this alternative to their consumers, "but it must necessarily provide an experience as good as that experienced by those who choose our cuts of beef."
The truth is that the arrival in Argentina is a fact and now its managers are discussing which of the brands in their portfolio they will use for hamburgers. Paty is the one with the greatest possibilities, given its strong presence in the Southern Cone and considering that since this year it has been sold in Brazil.
In addition, Marfrig confirms that it will target both supermarkets, where it accounts for 50% of the share, as well as fast-food chains. With regard to prices, "they were already defined": it is expected that they will be similar to that of meat medallions.
All in all, the hamburger is just the tip of the iceberg of Marfrig's strategy in the country. They also plan to launch other products, such as versions 4.0 of sausages, milanesas and chicken nuggets. "There are many opportunities to develop plant products. We have already approved some that will arrive soon, and others remain," the company emphasizes.Like the other 4.0 food companies that are arriving in Argentina, the Brazilian firm does not target vegans, a market that - in the absence of official statistics - represents less than 5% of Argentines according to nutritionists calculations.
But it does address the "Flexitarians," a new category that grows strongly and already represents 44% of the global population. These are those who follow a vegetable-based diet after significantly reducing their consumption of meat, which they eat in smaller portions and less frequently.
In addition, according to Kantar WorldPanel, about 30% of Argentines bet on "healthy food." That is, about 13 million consumers who place nutrition above the amount of a product. And the revolution is not confined to the home: fast food chains are also joining.
At the regional level, Marfrig announced that it will provide the Burger King vegetable burger for its Rebel Burger combo, to mimic the strategy carried out by the fast-food franchise in the US: thanks to a partnership with Impossible Foods, it sells the Impossible sandwich Burger in 5,200 stores. From the local subsidiary they told iProUP that they still have no definitions for the Argentine market.
Its competitor, McDonald's, is conducting a pilot test with its PLT combo (acronym for Plants, Lettuce and Tomato) in Ontario, Canada, for which they joined Beyond Meat. "We will wait for the results to decide how to move forward with this option," they say from Arcos Dorados.The fight that comesNext year, Argentina will live a real 4.0 burger competition. The first to go out to the ring - to anticipate the global brands - was Frizata, who launched her Friburger in Rosario - her homeland - and during November she will arrive in the Federal and Conurbano Capital.
Created by Adolfo Rouillon and José Robledo, Frizata calls itself the first digital native food in Latin America: it does not "exist" in the offline world, everything is sold from the website and received at home (for $ 150) or withdrawn by a picking point, although they project their national and regional expansion.
They already offer includes 35 frozen products (such as pizzas, meat medallions, chicken nuggets, empanadas, tortillas, etc.), many of which arise from what users recommend, although they hope to increase the list to 50 before the end of year.
"With Frizata we not only innovate in products, we also innovate in how we reach the consumer, in a direct deal where we cut all supply links," says Rouillon.
Thus, they get up to 50% cheaper compared to their competitors in the supermarket. "Revolutionizing food is an objective, but it is worthless if it is not accessible to the public," says Robledo.
The research and development team began experimenting with Friburger two months ago, based on a simple but effective idea: to create a textured medallion of soybeans that offers the same experience as a commercial hamburger. The product has as main characteristics:
- Taste similar to its counterparts in supermarkets, when global competitors seek to imitate the experience of "gourmet" hamburgers. In addition, it weighs 113 grams (a quarter of a pound) against 83 of the massive brand
- It is economical: 39 pesos for the medallion, about half of its meat version in frozen gondolas and about 10 times less than Beyond Meat (it is estimated that it will be between 350 and 400 pesos in Argentina)- It is not 100% vegetable: 80% of the protein comes from soybeans, while the rest is obtained from eggs and milk
"It's another concept," notes Rouillon, although the nutritional table maintains the same principle: more protein and less fat than a traditional hamburger. It also pursues ecological purposes: suppliers are located 200 km around and the sale "door to door" generates less emissions derived from logistics.
As iProUP anticipated, several global players have already set their sights on the Argetina. One of them is Beyond Meat, which expects to land in Argentina before the end of the year through Protteina Foods, a Chilean firm that has the license to market the brand's products in the trans-Andean country, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay.
To do this, it is finalizing the details of an agreement with a local partner and could sell not only the hamburger; but also the Beyond Sausage, a sausage to the "American" taste that even has artificial skin."We started in Chile 2 years ago. In a couple of months we will have our products in Peru. And before the end of the year they will see each other in Argentina, despite the exchange rate escalation," says iProUP Sandra Porcile, CEO and founder of Protteina Foods .
Porcile says they will also bring Daiya dairy substitutes (cheeses and yogurts) and will target the food services market, that is, fast food chains.
Another player who bets heavily on Argentina is Chile's NotCo, which has Bezos's endorsement not only to expand in the region, but to reach the United States through Whole Foods, the chain of health stores owned by Amazon .
As iProUP reported, the company conducted a tasting of the NotBurger in Buenos Aires two months ago, even before doing so in Chile. The hamburger will reach albiceleste lands in the first months of 2020, but by November it will introduce the NotMilk, a milk replicated from cabbage and pineapple; and the NotIceCream, an ice cream that has peas as a base ingredient.
As iProUP could confirm, there is another Argentine company that is negotiating an alliance with Fazenda Futuro, a Brazilian startup that also produces meat substitutes from plants and sells its Future Burger in supermarkets.
"In the last five years, the number of vegetarian or vegan businesses has doubled. This movement opened up opportunities for the emergence of new brands and establishments, especially preparations that provide options compatible with the vegetarian diet," notes iProUP Mariela Mociulsky, director of the consultancy Trendsity.
The expert analyzes that "conscious food is a trend that is growing from a greater awareness of health and the environment, thanks to the greater information provided by new technologies."
In this way, several players will compete to keep the hamburger market, whose meat version represents 92,000 million tons per year. And from which several players already want to take a bite.