The flowering of plant-based meat in the US is slowing down – what are the manufacturers doing about it?

To deal with the crisis, vegan companies are expanding their range and trying to attract meat eaters and be flexible. About this and the reasons why it is more profitable to supply their products to other brands – in the Bloomberg retelling.

Alternative meat from the Beyond Meat brand. Source: livekindly

Products from Beyond Meat and other companies that specialize in artificial substitutes have attracted attention from both the media and consumers, the newspaper notes. However, the demand for this type of food proved to be unsustainable.

Vegetable meat sales in the US increased by 53% to $ 473 million in 2020, according to IRI Worldwide, and by 2021, the increase was only 1%. The reasons for this decline may be different, writes Bloomberg: maybe people tried vegan products and lost interest in them or started going to restaurants again.

IRI expert Jonna Parker believes that the 2020 boom is the result of a convergence of trends. The companies were already planning to increase their production, so the shortages caused by the pandemic did not hurt them much. In addition, it even encouraged consumers to try plant-based substitutes.

The drop in demand in 2021, Parker is associated with a large number of people who showed interest in new products, but did not want to buy them again. Only half of them bought artificial meat again, in part because there were so many choices, but not all of them were equally good.

Therefore, vegan companies are looking for new ways to use their developments and expand their range:

  • Impossible Foods partnered with Italian food maker Buitoni to produce beef substitute ravioli.
  • Beyond Meat products are used by the frozen pizza company Banza.
  • Field Roast and Eat Just have joined forces to release vegan ready-to-eat breakfast sandwiches. The first provides vegetable sausage and cheese and the second provides eggs.
  • Nestle produces Sweet Earth artificial meat – and uses it not only in its own semi-finished product brand, but also in the products of its DiGiorno and Pizza Kitchen sub-brands.

There is a wide variety of frozen foods that are easy to make in the US, according to analyst JP Frossar, which is why this category won the pandemic. And for this reason they have targeted all the “plant” organizations.

Impossible Foods president Dennis Woodside says he sees many opportunities to work with Buitoni: in addition to vegan meats, the company plans to produce sauces, ready meals and other “frozen” types for it.

He also added that Impossible is experimenting with his designs and trying to imitate whole chicken breast. But alternatively minced meat is easy to make – this is what Woodside intends to focus on.

According to David Jung, co-founder of environmental startup Green Monday, semi-finished products produced in collaboration with well-known partners sell best in Asia. OmniPork’s vegan brand has partnered with frozen food brand Amoy to sell fake pork pasta in China and Hong Kong.

So for OmniPork, they hope to attract a new audience, including people who have not even considered tasting meat of vegetable origin.

Organic food retailer Thrive Market is pleased with the results of using Beyond Meat in its frozen dishes.

“Suitable for flexible – people who minimize meat consumption, as well as meat eaters who want to eat more plant-based foods,” says Jeremy McElvey, director of merchandising at Thrive.

While Americans spend more time at home during the pandemic, not everyone is ready to experiment with cooking. New ingredients instead of known ones, such as pea protein, may seem too complicated to use. As a result, vegan companies supply their products to other brands that are already known to customers.

Michelle Simon, consultant and founder of the Plant Food Association, believes that alternative diets have become fashionable. But in her opinion, this does not guarantee success for all these start-ups.

Some of the big meat companies now have plant-based parts and Bloomberg suggests dumping them.

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