by Marion Nestle
Apr 14 2022

Keeping up with plant-based: a challenge

As far as I can tell, the plan-based trend is all about marketing.  Whether it has anything to do with health and the environment remains to be seen.

When I hear about doom and gloom for this sector, I know that it has to do with investment issues.  To wit:

  • RIP Plant-based Meat Mania:  “Plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies received $2.1 billion in investments in 2020 — the most capital raised in any single year in the industry’s history and more than three times the $667 million raised in 2019. Plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies have raised $4.4 billion in investments in the past decade (2010–2020). Almost half, or $2.1 billion, was raised in 2020 alone. This included Impossible Foods’ record $700 million funding haul.”  Like with any emerging trend, what matters is not the absolute size of the plant-based category relative to plant-fed meat….what matters is the growth rate.  But if the growth rate is slowing, and more emerging brands are popping up then suddenly the category is crowded and competing on price and suddenly the whole category is much less interesting to investors.
  • McPlant not setting the world on fire at McDonald’s, claims analyst: ‘A wide-scale launch seems a ways off at this point…’  Despite promising test results in small-scale trials last year, the pea-protein-fueled McPlant burger – developed with Beyond Meat – is not setting the world on fire in tests at a broader selection of McDonald’s locations, according to analyst Peter Saleh at BTIG…. Read more
  • Plant-based foods sales: Plant-based meat sales stall while eggs, yogurt, and cheese gain ground, GFI, SPINS, PBFA :  The overall plant-based foods sector reported a significant slowdown (but still positive) growth for 2021 vs. 2020 with plant-based meat sales seeing flat growth while other categories grew by single-digits for the year, according to new data released by The Plant Based Foods Association, The Good Food Institute, and SPINS…. Read more

Not everyone agrees:

And none of this is stopping start-up innovations.

As for the public: