This week, Brazilian meat giant JBS entered into an agreement to purchase Dutch plant-based meat brand Vivera for €341 million ($410 million). Known for its vegan steaks, Vivera distributes its plant-based products in 25 countries across Europe. “This acquisition is an important step to strengthen our global plant-based protein platform,” JBS Global CEO Gilberto Tomazoni said. “Vivera will give JBS a stronghold in the plant-based sector, with technological knowledge and capacity for innovation.”
In 2019, Vivera’s parent company Vivera Foodgroup sold its meat brand Enkco to Dutch Van Loon Group in order to focus solely on expanding the footprint of its plant-based holdings. Currently, Vivera is the largest independent plant-based company in Europe and once the acquisition is complete, JBS will expand the vegan brand’s reach greatly. “Joining forces with JBS gives us access to significant resources and capabilities to accelerate our current strong growth trajectory and Vivera brand expansion,” Vivera CEO Willem van Weede said. JBS will manage Vivera as a stand-alone business and retain all current leadership.
JBS’ shift to plant-based meat
In 2017, JBS—the largest meat processing company in the world—was embroiled in a meat adulteration scandal that resulted in a nearly 80 percent decrease in its net profits. The company has since transitioned some of its portfolio to focus on plant-based meat. In 2019, JBS launched the plant-based Incrível (Incredible) Burger under its Seara Alimentos brand in Brazil and expanded the product line to include vegan chicken burgers, a breaded chicken snack, beef kibe, and more.
Last year, JBS launched its first plant-based subsidiary Planterra Foods in the United States. Under its OZO brand, Planterra initially launched with vegan burgers, grounds (in plain and Mexican-seasoned flavors), and Italian-style meatballs, all made with a blend of pea and rice protein that is fermented with the help of shiitake mushrooms. Last month, Planterra rolled out a new OZO vegan frozen food line at more than 2,700 Korger stores nationwide, along with other retailers. The new line features vegan Smokehouse Burgers and Original Breakfast Sausages. In the coming months, Planterra plans to expand its OZO frozen line to include Italian Style Plant-Based Meatballs and two breaded items: Plant-Based Nuggets and Plant-Based Patties.