Is it over for plant based meat?
Plant based dollar sales were flat last year
Last year I predicted that plant proteins were going to jump the shark .
Stats are coming out that this is happening in plant-based meat.
Plant based meat dollar sales were flat last year after growing 45% the year before.
Plant based org Good Food Institute says supply chain disruptions are to blame. Maybe. Maybe not.
I’m a skeptic of the supply chain argument for two reasons:
2. User adoption
Velocity measures how fast a product turns on the shelf. Plant-based meat’s units SPM (sales per million), a standard velocity metric, decreased 14% in 2021.
Pandemic buying should jolt velocities until products run out. That velocities declined tells me heavy users either didn’t hoard or hoarders didn’t move the needle because they are not a big enough group (plant-based meat is still only 1.4% market share of total retail meat)
Which brings me to my second point, user adoption. The GFI report says,
only 30% of consumers believe that plant-based meat tastes as good as or better than conventional meat. Of consumers who plan to buy plant-based meat less often, 64% say it’s because they prefer the taste of conventional meat.
Tasting inferior to conventional meat is no good for capturing an audience.
The success of plant-based products does not lie in converting consumers to veganism. The broader alternative protein consumer group are flexitarians (eat both plant-based and animal-based) whom I dub the conscious consumer. Conscious consumers are a large group that generally will try new products that align with their values. They try new products in all kinds of categories, even those where they are not a heavy user.
I have previously explained that growth of new products occurs when they appeal to broader groups. In the case of plant-based meat, the conscious consumer will try it, but if it disappoints on taste they will go back to animal products that make sustainable claims (like regeneratively grown).
Meati promises a superior taste experience. I tried to purchase Meati on its first day of online sales to the public but I was late to the game (products sold out in 2.5 hours according to a source). If chef David Chang, Meati’s Ambassador is any indication, it promises to taste pretty good:
While new entrants like Meati tackle taste, I’ll be anxious to see if it changes the slowing growth trend of plant-based meat.
All my best,
The USDA recently announced a US$1 billion investment in pilot projects that support farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners implementing climate-smart conservation practices. Applicants can submit proposals online.