In 2014, Pinnacle Foods acquired Gardein, a beloved line of meat alternatives such as “Crispy Chick’n Patties.” This year, Canadian packaged meat company Maple Leaf bought Lightlife, a leading U.S. plant protein brand. And dairy magnate Dean Foods recently invested in the flax milk company Good Karma, makers of vegan yogurts and plant-based milk alternatives.

Such interest in plant-based companies from corporations that traditionally sell animal protein indicates a systemic swing in American eating patterns. Whether it’s for reasons related to health, animal welfare or the environment, people are increasingly swapping out meat, dairy and eggs for plant-based alternatives—and businesses are taking notice.

“This is definitely something where the meat industry is looking to redefine itself as a protein industry. That’s why we’re seeing such substantial growth in plant-based protein,” says Emily Byrd, senior communications specialist for The Good Food Institute, an organization that works through education and technology to dismantle the practice of eating animals. “There’s an entire coalition of investors working with more than $1.2 trillion in assets that have been calling on major food companies like Tyson [Foods] to divest from factory farming and look at more sustainable alternatives.”