Global Food Crisis Wreaking Havoc, While Also Rewarding Innovation in Food Stocks

FN Media Group Presents USA News Group News Commentary


Vancouver, BC – March 8, 2023 – USA News Group  –  The current global food crisis continues to build momentum, as reports of food shortages are coming out of more than 13 locations around the world. Given the seriousness of the situation, the market is looking towards food producers who are countering these challenges with innovations of their own. Among the challenges being addressed are ESG concerns, food allergies, fertilizer shortages, and appealing to flexitarian diets who desire healthier options. Food innovators have responded, with impressive work being done by Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA) (OTC:NPRFF), B&G Foods, Inc. (NYSE:BGS), SunOpta Inc. (NASDAQ:STKL) (TSX:SOY), United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE:UNFI), and The Simply Good Foods Company (NASDAQ:SMPL).


Addressing the rising, global epidemic of food allergies is nutritious, plant-based and allergen-free food innovators Nepra Foods (CSE:NPRA) (OTC:NPRFF) which saw their revenues grow 51% year-over-year in Q1 2022. Most recently, the company the successful launch of its ProPastaTM line at this year’s Natural Foods Expo. The ProPasta™ brand is a uniquely positioned frozen entrée line utilizing the functionality of Nepra’s proprietary ingredients in pastas, soft cheeses, and meat analogues.


“My involvement in the natural products industry for fifteen years means I have personally experienced & witnessed many exciting product launches; ProPasta’s national debut on eCommerce platforms is the most exciting one to date,” said Nepra’s VP of CPG Sales, Kate Cash. “The Nepra Foods team has created the most innovative, nutritious, and delicious meals with three ‘first to market’ plant-based and allergen-free elements: a ricotta ravioli, a proprietary hemp meatball & a delicious hemp pasta that microwaves. From the branding to what is inside of the package, currently, there’s nothing like ProPasta on the market.”


At the core of Nepra’s offerings is its proprietary Textured Hemp Protein (THPTM), which has been dubbed a “Game Changer” for the plant-based food industry. Nepra has gone one to include it as an ingredient in ProPastaTM, as well as announcing beef, chicken, and pork flavored plant-based meats made from THPTM.


“Customers will be amazed by the authentic tastes and textures of our new lineup of allergen-free plant-based meat analogs,” said Chadwick White, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Nepra Foods. “We are convinced that the nutritional and environmental advantages of hemp protein will revolutionize the food industry and proud that Nepra is taking a leading role in bringing healthy and sustainable options to restaurants.”


Globally recognized as a product developer with an extensive understanding of ingredient functionality Chadwick White (who is a certified master baker) was heavily involved with the founding of Udi’s Gluten Free Foods, prior to co-founding Nepra Foods. Udi’s was eventually sold in 2012 for US$125 million to what later became Boulder Brands, which was then acquired by Pinnacle Foods for US$975 million, which was later bought in 2018 by ConAgra in a whopping US$10.9 billion deal.


Back in May, B&G Foods, Inc. (NYSE:BGS) also focused on the freezer aisle, by acquiring the frozen vegetable manufacturing operations of Growers Express, LLC, which manufactures, produces, packages and sells popular frozen vegetable products, primarily Green Giant Riced Veggies and Green Giant Veggie Spirals. The acquisition was expected to reduce supply chain risk, while also reducing costs for certain Green Giant products.


“By increasing the variety and volume of Green Giant frozen vegetable products produced at internal manufacturing facilities, we expect to reduce inefficiencies, reduce costs and reduce supply chain risk for certain Green Giant frozen products,” said Casey Keller, President and CEO of B&G Foods. “We also believe that this acquisition will enhance our innovation efforts for the Green Giant brand and improve our speed to market for new innovation. Growers Express has been an important partner of B&G Foods for a number of years and we thank them for their partnership.”


As part of the acquisition, B&G Foods also repurchased the master license agreement for certain Green GiantTM Fresh vegetable products and will assume responsibility for the administration of related sublicense agreements.


Sustainable, plant-based and fruit-based food and beverages pioneers SunOpta Inc. (NASDAQ:STKL) (TSX:SOY) are expecting continued growth with their revenues, projecting an increase to $1.3 billion in 2025. Also by 2023, SunOpta is projecting its adjusted EBITDA to reach $100 million, and onward to $150 million in 2025. The company is well known, producing its own brands, including SOWN, Dream, WestSoy and Sunrise Growers.


“Our strategic transformation over the past several years has put SunOpta in an enviable leadership position within the fastest growing plant-based categories,” said Joe Ennen, CEO of SunOpta. “Industry trends remain strong and we will continue to leverage our competitive advantages to drive significant gains in revenues and profitability, maximizing value for shareholders.”


This year has been kind to United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE:UNFI), which saw its net income and earnings per diluted share (EPS) increase by 39.6% and 37.5% respectively. The company attributes much of the success to its unveiling last year of its Fuel the Future plan.


“Our third quarter performance further demonstrates UNFI’s agility and its focus on servicing customers despite a challenging operating environment,” said UNFI CEO, Sandy Douglas. “It’s apparent that our Fuel the Future strategy is working and beginning to benefit our customers. As we look towards a successful end to our fiscal year, we continue to make progress in simplifying our business and focusing resources on the most important areas that create value for our customers, suppliers, and shareholders.”


Branded nutritional foods and snacking products manufacturer The Simply Good Foods Company (NASDAQ:SMPL) also saw huge gains with its last reported financial results, seeing net sales increased by 11.5%, and its earnings per share increase more than five-fold from $0.06 to $0.38.


“We are pleased with our third quarter financial results and the solid marketplace performance of our business that continues to be driven by our focus on growth and ability to execute effectively in a challenging operating environment,” said Joseph E. Scalzo, President and CEO of Simply Good Foods. “The net sales increase in the quarter was greater than our expectation due to better than anticipated retail takeaway growth and higher customer inventory that was not drawn down during the quarter.”


At the core of its portfolio, Simply Good Foods develops, markets and sells primarily protein bars, ready-to-drink shakes, sweet and salty snacks and confectionery products marketed under the Atkins, Atkins Endulge , and Quest brand names.


Simply Good Foods expects that it will generate solid net sales and Adjusted EBITDA growth in fiscal 2022. Due to the year-to-date higher than usual customer inventory levels, the company expects fourth quarter fiscal 2022 net sales performance to be below the anticipated retail takeaway increase of high-single digits on a percentage basis versus last year.


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