Big Changes are Happening in the Meat Industry

Written by Jennifer Clark
Posted May 1, 2019

The good old-fashioned hamburger has been a staple in American diets for decades. So it serves that our massive meat industry feeds 326 million Americans. In 2017, U.S. meat production totaled 52 billion pounds — that’s a lot of meat!

Unfortunately, the meat industry is taking a toll on the environment due to poor agricultural practices including pollution through fossil fuel usage, animal methane, effluent waste, and water and land consumption. Despite this damage, the industry still makes a lot of money. According to Statista, its market value is set to rise to over $1.5 trillion by 2022!

Thankfully, there are some significant changes happening in the industry that could direct part of that market value to companies that sell plant-based "meat" products. In the past few years, plant-based foods have been more widely marketed, with companies realizing the potential to expand sales by getting meat-eating Americans, in addition to vegetarians and vegans, to buy their meat substitutes.

Major food chains are adding these new meatless items to their menus. Unlike those of the past, these new products appeal more to meat eaters thanks to a taste, look, and feel that simulates the experience of real meat.

Recently, Burger King introduced its Impossible Whopper to the U.S. market. On April 1, the fast food chain started testing the vegetarian burger, which features a plant-based patty from Impossible Foods. A spokesperson for Restaurant Brands International, Burger King’s parent company, said the test “went exceedingly well.”

A plant-based product that resembles a traditional burger appeals to consumers who may enjoy the taste of meat but seek a healthier option. The president of Burger King North America, Chris Finazzo, said that the new product is designed to “give somebody who wants to eat a burger every day, but doesn’t necessarily want to eat beef everyday, permission to come into the restaurants more frequently.” This could allow Burger King to increase its customer base. 

Impossible Foods isn’t the only company selling meatless "meat." Beyond Meat also manufactures plant-based foods that resemble the animal-derived products Americans love and crave.

With the environmental impact of the meat industry becoming more apparent and Americans becoming more aware of the impact of meat consumption on their health, the public is growing more interested in plant-based protein. They want to know the food that they consumer is safe and healthy. The global market for meat substitutes is forecast to grow from an estimated $4.6 billion in 2018 to $6.4 billion by 2023 according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. Though it sounds strange, the future of the meat industry could be plant-based. After all, if your average consumer can get a plant-based protein that actually tastes like traditional meat, but is healthier and benefits the environment, then what do they have to lose?

Beyond Meat is preparing for its Thursday, May 2 IPO. It’ll be using the symbol “BYND” when it starts trading on the Nasdaq with an expected offer price between $19 and $21 per share. The company has the opportunity to gain a significant amount of market share from the meat industry, which makes its IPO appealing to investors worldwide. Beyond Meat has identified the future of food, transforming what we know about meat substitutes — and it’s a change we’ve been craving.

Until next time,

Jennifer Clark

Pro Trader Today

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