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Plant-Based Meat Boomed. Here Comes the Bust

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the recent trends in the plant-based meat industry, including a slowdown in sales growth and challenges faced by the industry.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Overview of the Plant-Based Meat Industry

1. What are the key trends in the plant-based meat industry over the past few years?

  • The plant-based meat industry experienced a sales boom in the early months of the pandemic, with total sales in the US growing from $4.8 billion in 2018 to $7.4 billion in 2021.
  • However, a recent report suggests that enthusiasm for plant-based products might be slowing down, with dollar sales of plant-based meat and seafood in the US falling by 13% over the past two years.
  • Unit sales of plant-based meat and seafood have fallen by 26% between 2021 and 2023.

2. What are some of the challenges facing the plant-based meat industry in the US?

  • The high price of plant-based alternatives compared to animal-based meat, with plant-based meats being on average 77% more expensive than their animal equivalents.
  • Consumers still finding plant-based products lacking in taste, texture, and affordability compared to animal-based alternatives.

3. How do plant-based meat and seafood sales compare to plant-based dairy alternatives?

  • Plant-based milk alternatives like soy, oat, and almond make up nearly 15% of total milk sales in the US, while the share of plant-based meat and seafood in their market is around 1%.
  • Plant-based milks alone make up nearly a third of the entire plant-based food category in the US.
  • Total sales of plant-based dairy alternatives (including milk, butter, ice cream, yogurt, and cheese) accounted for nearly $5 billion in 2023.

[02] Efforts to Revive the Plant-Based Meat Industry

1. What are some of the strategies being employed by prominent plant-based meat brands to boost sales?

  • Impossible Foods has relaunched its range of alternatives with a new, meatier style aimed at attracting "meat lovers" to the plant-based fold.
  • Beyond Meat has launched the fourth-generation version of its burger and ground beef, claiming they are "our meatiest, juiciest products yet."

2. How are plant-based meat companies responding to concerns about ultraprocessed food?

  • Beyond Meat's new burgers have less salt and saturated fat than the previous generation, as well as a "simplified ingredient list."
  • Many other plant-based companies are emphasizing their "clean-label" credentials in response to rising concerns about ultraprocessed food.

3. What is the potential impact of the plant-based meat industry on the climate?

  • Swapping beef burgers for plant-based patties could significantly reduce the carbon footprints of our diets, as animal proteins are a major source of emissions from food.
  • However, with plant-based meat sales stalling, it's unclear whether the industry is having the impact on carbon emissions that many hope for.
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