You know things are going well when Bill Gates is talking up the potential of plant-based meat with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes. Gates even told Forbes that beyond Meat and Impossible Foods’ success has given him hope for solving meat’s climate impact.Other investors are equally excited. In just the first seven months of 2020, they invested about $1.5B in alternative protein startups (see chart below). The Good Food Institute now tracks 510 companies working on plant-based, cultivated, or fermented alternatives to animal proteins. Many of these companies are racing to make alternatives as cheap and tasty as animal products. The implicit assumption is that, if they succeed, consumers will view the alternatives as perfect substitutes and switch in droves. Will they?
Bollard, L., (2021). If we build it, will they come? Farm Animal Welfare Newsletter, 9 March. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/farm-animal-welfare-newsletter-archive. Open Philanthropy, San Francisco, USA.