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Kellogg could rival Beyond Meat with new offerings, Piper says

Kellogg’s plant-based foods division could unlock value for shareholders, analyst says.

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods dominate the headlines for plant-based meat, but Kellogg Company could emerge as a larger threat with new offerings, according to Piper Jaffray.

Analyst Michael Lavery wrote in a note that MorningStar Farms, Kellogg’s division for plant-based foods, could unlock value for shareholders, with innovation that is “fresh, refrigerated, better tasting, or branded in an updated way.” It already claims to be America’s #1 veggie burger brand.

The analyst said Kellogg could potentially consider an IPO of part of the business, “though we are not aware of any current plans to do so.”

Lavery estimates the unit could be worth $3 billion, which could increase Kellogg’s enterprise value to $33 billion, or $75 a share. That’s higher than Piper’s current price target of $69 and its current share price of $63. While shares have gained 11% this year, they remain about a quarter below their peak in mid-2016 as consumer demand for packaged foods and cereals has slumped.

The analyst is not the first one to suggest that Kellogg may spin off its plant-based unit. Last month, Barron’s reported that the company is “sitting on a ‘fake meat’ gold mine bigger than Beyond Meat,” estimating MorningStar could be valued at $5 billion to $10 billion in a spin-off.

By comparison, Beyond Meat commands a $9.4 billion market capitalization, with shares increasing six-fold since the company’s trading debut in May.

Kellogg already has an advantage with products such as veggie dogs and chicken nuggets, which currently have little competition on the market, Lavery said. He estimates MorningStar Farms has sales of over $210 million last year and anticipates new products could boost growth by double digits in the next few years.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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