Plant-based meat, touted as one of the foods of the future, continues to suffer flagging sales, as well as the perception that it is “too woke”, according to Bloomberg.
As the new outlet reported yesterday,
Just a few years ago, with a blockbuster initial public offering from Beyond Meat Inc. and the unveiling of an Impossible Whopper at Burger King locations nationwide, plant-based meats were ascendant.
Now, after once enjoying double-digit growth, sales in the plant-based meat category are not just flat but declining, according to data from Information Resources Inc., or IRI. That’s due to possible saturation of the US market as new brands hit the shelves, according to Deloitte Consulting LLP.
Plant-based meat: flagging sales and negative perceptions
A new report, by Deloitte Consulting, highlights the difficulties plant-based-meat manufacturers like Beyond are now facing.
Most notably, sales of refrigerated meat alternatives were down 10.5% for the 52 weeks ended September 4 2022.
According to a market-research expert, this is partly because of the growing cost-of-living crisis, which means consumers are favoring the real thing, which still generally remains cheaper.
Deloitte also believes that perception remains a problem for plant-based meat. In July, it conducted a survey of 2,000 people and found a decline in the belief that plant-based meat is healthier and more ethical than real meat.
There also appears to be a backlash against the product’s “woke” status, as Bloomberg notes:
Deloitte also suspects that the addressable market may be more limited than previously thought with a growing cultural resistance to its “woke” status — even among those seeking to reduce red meat consumption. Case in point: When Cracker Barrel announced plans to add Impossible Foods’ sausage to its menu over the summer, it faced an onslaught of criticism on social media.
Some brands are suffering more than others. Impossible claims to have bucked this trend, with a growth of 70% in retail sales in 2022, according to its chief executive officer Peter McGuinness.
McGuinness believes plant-based meats still have a long way to go, though, and could do more to break into the restaurant sector and secure new retailers. Consumer awareness and understanding of these products also need to be increased, he claimed.
Bloomberg’s report doesn’t mention the recent arrest of Beyond’s COO Doug Ramsey, for allegedly biting the nose of a man in a parking lot after a football game, an incident that is hardly likely to improve the image of the company or its morale.
A police report says 53-year-old Ramsay, a resident of Fayetteville, attacked another man who tried to pull out in front of him in a parking garage traffic lane.
The fight eventually escalated, KNWA reports, until Ramsey pulled the other driver ‘in close and started punching his body,’ before biting his nose and ripping some of the flesh off.
Ramsey has been charged with felony battery and making a terroristic threat. He was booked in Washington County jail and is scheduled to appear in Fayetteville District Court on October 19.
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