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WH Group-owned pork giant Smithfield to launch plant-based meat range

Packaged meat producer Smithfield Foods Inc., owned by Hong Kong-based pork giant WH Group Ltd., is entering the plant-based meat segment with the launch of a new plant-based protein portfolio under the company's Pure Farmland brand.

According to an Aug. 12 announcement, Smithfield Foods will produce soy-based breakfast patties, meatballs, burger patties, and pre-seasoned protein starters.

All items will be made with natural flavors and will be gluten- and dairy-free, the company said. They will also be packed in sustainable trays that are made from more than 50% recycled material.

Smithfield said Pure Farmland is pledging to donate to the American Farmland Trust to protect one square foot of farmland for every package sold.

The plant-based protein products from Pure Farmland will be available in fresh, refrigerated sections of grocery retailers in the U.S. starting mid-September.

The move comes as dedicated plant-based meat producers such as Beyond Meat Inc. and Impossible Foods Inc. continue to build partnerships with food establishments in the U.S. to introduce meat-free alternatives.

Beyond Meat recently partnered with Subway Restaurants to launch a plant-based meatball marinara, and with Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. to offer a vegan breakfast sandwich.

Meanwhile, Impossible Foods teamed up with Restaurant Brands International Inc.-owned Burger King to introduce a vegan version of its Whopper burger, called the Impossible Whopper.