Reviving the stagnant market for plant-based meat

After a record run of growth, why have sales of plant-based meat declined in the U.S.? And what would it take to turn things around?

On the Catalyst with Shayle Kann podcast this week:

In 2020, plant-based meats were hot. Sales were up 45% that year, and expectations were high. The industry set its sights on performing as well as plant-based beverages, which had reached about a 15% dollar share of the U.S. beverage market at the time. In the context of a U.S. meat market worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually, even a 15% share would be a massive multibillion-dollar prize.

But then, starting in 2021, plant-based meats hit a wall. U.S. sales slid into a multiyear decline. Headlines described plant-based meats as bleeding” and just another fad.”

So what happened?

In this episode, Shayle talks to John Baumgartner, managing director of equity research for food and healthy living at Mizuho Securities. He explains the major factors that led to the decline — and why he’s still bullish on the long-term growth of the industry. They cover topics including:

  • Why the plant-based beverage category is so different from plant-based meats.

  • Major factors in sales trends, including the Covid bounce, flatlining household penetration and inflation.

  • The under-no-circumstances crowd that will never consider plant-based meats.

  • Positive indicators for growth potential from other markets, such as Taiwan and Western Europe.

  • Improvements in taste, mouthfeel, healthfulness and price that could reinvigorate the industry.

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Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

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