What's the Deal With Plant-Based Companies?

Written by Jennifer Clark
Posted November 24, 2021

It was only a few years ago that plant-based food was making its way onto the market. A lot of companies were focusing on creating alternatives to meat products. This was the first step to getting the world to try something new — something that had the ability to taste similar to some of people's favorite food items, like burgers, chicken nuggets, and sausage. 

Getting people to want to try these meat alternatives brings awareness to these companies and the other types of products they might have to offer. I remember when Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND) and Impossible Foods introduced their plant-based burgers to fast-food restaurants across America. That was a smart step in the right direction. 

Americans love their fast-food restaurants, and rarely do those restaurants alter their menus, so when companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat started creating partnerships with restaurants like Burger King, KFC, and McDonald's you knew that their products were going to reach a variety of consumers. Some are interested in trying a healthier alternative and others are just interested to find out what the hype is all about. 

Also, these plant-based options were at affordable prices. Putting these options on a fast-food menu introduced these alternatives to people who otherwise would have never tried them. You usually would only find plant-based products in grocery stores aimed toward a vegetarian or vegan consumer. 

A Growing Demand for Alternatives?

There has been an increased interest in plant-based products for food consumption in the past five years. The plant-based meats market is forecast to surpass $68 billion by 2027. That equates to an expected CAGR of 19% from 2020–2027. 

The plant-based dairy alternative market is growing as well. It’s expected to reach close to $45 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 11% from 2020–2027. These types of markets — those that focus on plant-based foods and beverages — are becoming more and more popular. Some people see it as a healthy alternative or a way to produce less production waste. 

I’m not sure about all of that. While, yes, eating less meat could be beneficial to your overall health, there are some vegan and plant-based meat alternatives that are made with ultra-processed ingredients, salt, sugar, and more. After all, it is all about marketing the product and making it sellable to consumers. And as of lately, consumers are interested in their health and reducing the waste impact on the environment. 

What I do believe from those market forecasts I mentioned earlier is that consumers do want alternatives and are ready to try new food products. People are health-conscious, especially after spending much of their lives consuming products with many preservatives. At least, that’s how I feel.

I spent most of my childhood eating food that could be cooked in less than 15 minutes. Those products sometimes come as powdery mix, and you just add in water or milk and you have part of your meal ready to eat. It was nice because it wasn’t time-consuming, but you have to know that it probably isn’t the best thing for your body and health.

Lab-Grown Meat?!

People want new food choices. And choices that are affordable and easy. Prices for meat products have been soaring as of late, which has some people considering another alternative… lab-grown meat — or cell-cultured meat. 

Cell-cultured meat can be biologically the same as meat that you would get from an animal, but instead, it's made in a stainless steel bioreactor using a small cluster of stem cells that scientists grow into muscle and fat.

Currently, this alternative is available in Singapore, and other places in Europe and America are working through the regulatory processes so that consumers can begin to see these alternatives in restaurants and eventually grocery stores. 

One Netherlands cell-cultured meat startup called Mosa Meat has been able to grow a few edible hamburger patties in a lab, which had investors enthusiastic — investors that included Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin. In 2013, the company debuted those hamburgers and has earned the company more investors. 

In 2020, investors have poured billions into startups throughout the world that are working on cell-cultured meat and cell-cultured meat alternatives. Investors see these startups as a potential opportunity to solve some of the global food security challenges, which could have a massive impact on the world.

However, this is a concept that could take consumers a while to fully back. It could be hard for people to get over the fact that these meat products have been grown in a lab.

The idea behind it all is very promising. I mean, take a look back a decade ago. If anyone was talking about meat alternatives that involved plants, consumers were likely to be turned off by the idea. But now the number of people who eat these plant-based products has grown — which leads us to believe that consumers could actually be more open and accepting to new, healthier, and possibly cheaper meat alternatives. 

Until next time,

Jennifer Clark
Pro Trader Today
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