Plant-based meat’s resilience has been a rare silver lining during COVID-19. Worldwide, the conventional meat industry continues to lobby for government bailouts, fail to protect its workers, and carry out grisly on-farm “depopulations.” Meanwhile plant-based meat business is thriving.
• In China, Beyond Meat signed five major new partnerships, Cargill started producing meat alternatives for the Chinese market, including plant-based scallops, and Nestle announced plans to sell plant-based meat there by year’s end. Chinese plant-based startups Zhenmeat and Starfield disclosed new investments and product launches.
• In the rest of Asia, Thailand’s largest meat company, CP Foods, launched a plant-based line, as did Malaysian, Singaporean, and Indian startups. Two Japanese meat giants began selling plant-based meat and a Japanese government fund invested in the space. A South Korean investor led Impossible Foods’ latest $500M funding round.
• In Latin America, Brazilian agribusiness giant Marfrig publicized plans to roll out plant-based burgers by year’s end after the two other meat giants, Seara and JBS, rolled out plant-based burgers last year. Chile’s NotCo became possibly the highest valued non-US plant-based startup when it closed a new $85M funding round.
• In Europe, the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco, launched more than 30 new own-brand plant-based products and its CEO wrote that the UK should eat “less meat and dairy.” Dairy giant Danone declared its ambition to more than double its plant-based sales worldwide to around €5B by 2025, while Unilever shared that a third of its products are now plant-based. Nestle reported that plant-based sales were up 40% in the first half of the year and its CEO called plant-based “a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
• In the US, retail plant-based meat sales continued to average about 40-50% above last year, putting them on track to surpass $1B in retail sales this year.
Plant-based meat is becoming ever-more widespread and convenient. But it is still not competing with traditional meat on one key attribute: price.
Bollard, L., (2020). How to Lower the Price of Plant-based Meat. Farm Animal Welfare Newsletter,12 Aug. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/farm-animal-welfare-newsletter-archive.Open Philanthropy, San Francisco, USA.