By The Financial District
Americans Abandoning Expensive Plant-Based Meat Products
Plant-based meat looked poised to change the world — but then Americans stopped buying it, Jacob Zinkula reported recently for Business Insider.
Photo Insert: The slowdown is among the reasons Beyond Meat — whose stock price has fallen nearly 75% in the last year — laid off 20% of its workforce in 2022.
In 2020, retail sales of plant-based meat grew 45%, surpassing the $1 billion mark for the first time. Awareness of firms like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, in addition to climate change and animal welfare concerns, nudged many Americans to give fake meat a shot.
The pandemic also helped sales as well. But things have changed over the past year.
As of December, supermarket sales of refrigerated plant-based meat had fallen 14% vs the prior year, retail data firm IRI said. Orders of plant-based burgers at food service outlets were down 9% in November compared to 2019 levels.
The slowdown is among the reasons Beyond Meat — whose stock price has fallen nearly 75% in the last year — laid off 20% of its workforce in 2022.
Impossible Foods, despite seeing 50% retail sales growth last year, let go of 6% of its employees last October and is reportedly planning to shrink its headcount by an additional 20%.
In 2018, a Gallup poll found that 5% of Americans were vegetarians, in line with the 5% and 6% reported in 2012 and 2001.
The same poll found the share of vegans increased from 2% in 2012 to 3% in 2018. Last year, the Vegetarian Resource Group found that 6% of the US population were vegan or vegetarian, though some surveys suggest the share could be higher.
So there, the target market is not really big, and fake meat companies have been criticized for selling products that are not healthy but expensive and liberally supplied with sugar and salt.
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