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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Future Of Vegetable-Based Meat Alternatives


Chick-NewsNegative comments from Maple Leaf Foods regarding slow growth in sales, evidence that the McPlant™ Burger is failing to gain traction in test markets and data from IRI all suggest a pause in the upward sales trajectory of alternatives to meat. Following the release of various ground beef substitutes for both consumer and institutional markets, CHICK-NEWS suggested that initial growth was associated with a “curiosity factor” and that future sales would depend on equivalence in organoleptic qualities and cost in comparison with real products. 



A recent survey conducted by Ingredion, Inc. showed that consumers of alternatives to meat concurrently purchase beef, pork and chicken. Given that 65 percent of the respondents to the survey rated taste as their top requirement followed by 48 percent motivated by label additives it may be assumed that plant-based meat alternatives are failing on both counts.  In surveys, “taste” may also include texture and odor in addition to appearance when cooked.  Clearly, there are differences disfavoring substitutes.  To attempt to reproduce the organoleptic qualities of real meat, manufacturers of plant substitutes include a number of additives that obviously concern many consumers.


Among those surveyed by Ingredion, three quarters noted that they would be prepared to pay more for plant-based substitutes, provided they were equivalent or superior to real products as served in restaurants.  At this time, all of the red meat substitutes are priced higher than quality ground beef displayed in supermarket coolers without offering equivalence in properties as perceived by the consumer.


CEOs of companies producing alternatives to meat should follow the lead of Maple Leaf Foods and re-evaluate product quality, pricing and volumes or just simply heed the advice of Fagin in the musical Oliver, “I think I better think it out again!”

Copyright © 2022 Simon M. Shane