Brief

Can plant and algae-based proteins really dethrone meat?

Dive Brief:

  • The world’s population is expected to reach 9.9 billion by 2050, pushing many food industry players to search for sustainable food sources to feed the masses, according to a release in SCIAD Newswire.
  • Minh Tsai, founder of Hodo Soy Beanery, said in the release that alternative protein development has increased substantially in the last two years. By focusing on education, transparency and taste, these foods can overtake animal-based proteins.
  • Vishal Vasishth, co-founder of Obvious Ventures, noted in the release that his company has continued to invest in startups working to increase the appeal of plant-based proteins. Vasishth also feels that consumer demand will increase with the introduction of better tasting products.

Dive Insight:

Plant-based proteins are trendy, with manufacturers adding the macronutrient to products of all types, but that doesn’t mean that they are ready to overtake meat.

Some food analysts are doubtful that these alt-protein choices are going to make people forget about meat and other favorite proteins. However, if plant and algae-protein products find similar flavor profiles, it could help the category capture more market share, especially with millennial consumers who enjoy eating meat but are looking for protein alternatives they think are healthier or more sustainable.

A survey from Today’s Dietitian revealed that 41% of registered dietitians believe that plant-based proteins are on the rise, and consumers are decreasing their intake of beef, bacon and other processed and red meats.

Savvy companies are trying to capitalize on this trend — like Impossible Foods’ Impossible Burger, a vegetarian burger patty that tastes, sizzles and bleeds like real meat — but it’s still going to be a hard sell to many. Most people just can't associate the word "plant" with the meat product space, and it's unclear how long or what it will take to change consumer perspectives on meat substitutes. 

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Ingredients Meat / Protein Marketing Sustainability
Top image credit: Beyond Meat