Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies (ASX:ROO) is getting into the plant-based meat craze, applying tech used to grow cannabis to growing high-protein beans and peas.

The news captured investors’ attention, with shares advancing as much as 30 per cent on Monday morning to an intra-day high of 6.5c.

It told its shareholders about the new line this morning, saying that an early trial using its ‘root zone temperature optimisation’ tech had led to a 40 per cent yield increase on beans.

Beans and peas are shaping up as key to the success of plant-based meat, with the legumes containing high levels of leghaemoglobin — which contains Heme.

Heme is used by companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat to give plant-based meat the look, texture, and feel of meat — just without the environmental drawback.

Roots will be testing the effect of its tech in a two-part program out of its development hub in Israel.

It threw some big numbers around about the growth in the plant-based meat market — saying the global demand for plant-based meat is estimated to reach $US27.9 billion ($41.1 billion) by 2025.


Companies who have piled into the plant-based meat craze have certainly been rewarded.

For example, Beyond Meat (which is listed on the NASDAQ) has seen its market cap go up over 500 per cent since its IPO earlier this year — and is now worth $10 billion.

Impossible Foods meanwhile has managed to close out on several rounds of funding, with the latest $300m raise effectively valuing the company at $2 billion — courting celebrities such as Jay-Z and Katy Perry onto its investor base.

The companies are getting extra heat based on the increasing awareness of the environmental impact of eating red meat.

Some estimates say that the amount of water needed to produce 1kg of beef can run upwards of 15,000 litres of water. Producing 1kg of pulses, Roots said, only needs about 4000 litres of water.

“Reports state bean and pea protein is becoming more accepted in communities and is rapidly gaining popularity among plant-based meat manufacturers at a global level thanks to its high protein content and health benefits,” Roots CEO Dr Shavon Devir said.

“Leading manufacturers in the global plant-based protein industry have shifted resources to developing common meat products, using pea protein as a base for future product development.”