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INVESTING IN
ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS

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As people get richer, they add protein to their diet. They also tend to become more environmentally conscious, which fuels demand for alternative proteins. But finding funds that offer true exposure to the future of food is not straightforward.

RICH DIETS

Rising incomes in developing countries are fueling growth in demand for proteins: As people get richer, they add protein to their diet. But meat production causes planet-warming emissions, and deforestation. This is driving interest in alternative proteins, like plant-based substitutes, lab-grown meat and fermented options.

THEMATIC INVESTING

Investors who believe they can profit from alternative proteins can target them as a sustainability theme. One way investors can add thematic exposure to their portfolios is by buying funds whose investments mirror the composition of thematic indexes.

THEME WASHING

Not all indexes are built the same way. Some include firms that have as little as 1% of revenue from the theme they track. Others have no revenue requirement, and include companies based on theme mentions in public filings. This has encouraged “theme washing”, where companies talk up a theme to gain inclusion in a thematic index.

MORNINGSTAR INDEXES

To be included in a Morningstar thematic index that is powered by our equity research, a company must be likely to derive at least 10% of its revenue from its exposure to the theme within five years and a net profit increase from this exposure over the next five years. The Morningstar Global Food Innovation Index currently includes 39 companies with exposure to four subthemes: alternative proteins, agriculture technology, sustainable food production and packaging, and nutritional innovation and safety.

ALTERNATIVE PROTEIN EQUITIES

Morningstar includes nine publicly traded companies in its Global Food Innovation Index that derive at least 10% of their revenue from the alternative proteins subtheme: Danone, Archer-Daniels Midland, International Flavors & Fragrances, Kellogg, GEA Group, Beyond Meat, Ingredion, Hain Celestial Group, and Monde Nissin.

Forecast Meat Consumption (KG/CAPITA/YEAR)

Source: Morningstar Consumer Observer, October 2020



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