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How far will plant-based foods go?
Veganism has been an increasing trend within the past few years. Plant based food alternatives had over 3 billion in sales in 2018, with even higher sales projected in 2019. Plant-based met alternatives, like Beyond Meat, is one of the fastest growing food companies in the United States. With its first trade at $46, the company is now trading at nearly $200 per share. However, is plant-based really just a trend, or is it here to stay?
Healthy is the dominating trend. Eating healthier has been trendy for the past couple of years. Many studies have been conducted that show plant-based diets reduce the risk of many diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Healthy fast-food places and grocery stores have been popping up everywhere. As the public becomes more educated on the benefits of eating plant-based foods, the demand has gone up dramatically. Although Beyond Meat is dominating in this thriving sector, this opens the doors for other established companies to add plant-based lines, or for emerging companies to take a stand.
Positive impact. In addition to health reasons, many people have transitioned fully to plant-based foods or have been incorporating them into their diet, to have a positive impact on Earth. There have been many studies conducted that show a relationship between animal based foods and greenhouse gas emissions. Numerous documentaries and videos have been made about animal welfare on farms. The most recent one that made headlines was about how cows are treated at Fairlife farms. With these negative headlines in the public eye, many have switched to plant-based and away from brands they previously loved in order to feel better about the food they consume.
New job creation. The plant-based food industry is a fairly new and growing industry. With new companies emerging, as well as established companies keeping up with the trend, new jobs have been created for all positions. Positions are needed for manufacturing operations, as well as marketing and management. Plant-based foods grew about 24 percent from June 2017 to 2018, with meat sales at about 2 percent. With the industry continuing to grow, more jobs can be added as demand increases.
Beat out by Beyond. Beyond Meat’s growth and management is a large part of their continuing success. Although there are many competitors now in this market, Beyond Meat is still coming out on top. This may discourage other emerging plant-based companies from entering the market. Additionally, many traditional animal protein companies may take longer to enter this market, or be discouraged altogether.
This market isn’t for everyone. Companies like Beyond Meat are doing well, in part, because plant-based alternatives are their only focus. Other major companies like Tyson have entered the market, but their plant alternative food sales aren’t beating out their traditional meat sales, or that of Beyond. Beyond Meat has the advantage in revenue and focus, as more money can be allocated to product development, and since plant-based is their only focus, they are constantly following the trend.
Potentially a real threat for the meat industry. Just as the dairy industry took a punch when milk alternatives grew to become extremely popular and appealing to nearly all consumers, the same could happen to the meat industry. If plant-based alternatives, such as Beyond Meat, continue to grow at the rate it is, it may be a real threat. Sales of plant-based alternatives are growing at a higher percent than that of the meat industry for the past couple of years.
Industry to keep an eye on. The plant-based meat industry isn’t just a market for vegans, it’s targeted at everyone. Eating healthier has become increasingly trendy and fairly easy to do since health food stores and fast food establishments are popping up on every corner, pushing consumers to give it a try. However, companies like Beyond Meat may be discouraging emerging plant-based meat companies from entering the market because of how dominant they have become. Either way, the plant-based meat industry is trending and producing revenue at growing rates. Many experts feel that the plant-based alternative industry isn’t just a trend, but it’s here to stay.