Chicago, ILADM’s Board of Directors announced their fourth quarter earnings in a press release. Highlights: Net earnings of $504 million, EPS of $0.90—up from $0.55 in 2018—and higher year-over-year results for Ag Services & Oilseeds and Nutrition segments.

ADM’s Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.36 per share on the company’s common stock, marking the 353rdconsecutive quarterly payment.

“Our team delivered a solid fourth quarter, consistent with our expectations three months ago,” said Chairman and CEO of ADM Juan Luciano in the release. “At the end of 2019, we can look back on a full year in which the team did a great job managing through some difficult external conditions while continuing to deliver innovative solutions for our customers.
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“Looking ahead, we’re excited about the opportunities we see in 2020 and beyond,” continued Luciano. “Our industry-leading array of products and solutions from nature is helping us give our customers an edge in meeting global demand in fast-growing consumer trend areas — from alternative proteins, to foods and beverages that enhance health, to unique products for pets.”

Plant-based proteins dominated the food landscape in 2019, according to a second press release. Furthermore, a study done by ADM revealed that 44% of U.S. consumers now identify as flexitarian.

ADM released a list of seven plant-based protein trends to watch out for in 2020:

Protein is not enough. According to ADM, consumers will be looking for more than just protein in plant-based products; consumers want additional health features, like added fiber, antioxidants, probiotics and vitamins.

Tasty nutrition. Although nutrition is what draws consumers to plant-based protein products, if the product lacks delicious taste and texture, consumers won’t incorporate it into their routine, says ADM.

Meat matters. The key to success with plant-based protein is that its flavor profile and texture mimics meat, hence why plant-based burgers are the craze, according to ADM.

Clean ingredients. 66% of consumers are looking for products with the shortest ingredient list, and in 2020, these numbers are likely to rise, according to ADM. Consumers are more likely to purchase products recognizable, natural ingredients like beans, lentils, whole legumes, and quinoa.

Don’t forget dairy. “Retail sales of plant-based cheese have already grown 19%; plant-based ice cream and novelties have grown 27%; and plant-based yogurt has grown an impressive 39%,” according to the press release.

Private Brands. 85% of consumers say they trust private brands when buying plant-based protein products.

Comfort Food. there is a strong demand from consumers for plant-based versions of family-friendly comfort foods, like macaroni and cheese, pizza, and chicken nuggets.

“The plant-based food and beverage movement has been gaining momentum over the past 12-months, and this is going to be another breakout year for the category,” said Kurt Long, director of Flexitarian Solutions, ADM. “We expect to see even more new and enhanced protein options hit the shelves in the coming months, and to get an edge in this growing space, manufacturers have to respond quickly with on-trend products. This is an area where ADM is ready and eager to help. We look forward to helping our customers drive advancements in the space through new and innovative products.”