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It's been a very good year to be a plant, especially if you're one of those used to concoct one of the variety of plant-based burgers out there, according to a recent IDTechEx report that looks at the status of plant-based and cultured meat from 2020 to 2030.
In 2019, the report found that sales of plant-based meat grew by nearly 40%, compared to two years ago. And as an example, it pointed to plant-based burger-maker, Beyond Meat, which in the three months after going public saw its share price surge 500%, while competitor, Impossible Foods secured an additional $300 million in funding.
The report projects such growth to continue, with the global plant-based meat market reaching $27 billion by 2030.
The success of this category of products both in and outside the restaurant industry is pinned to producers like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, who have targeted the 95% of consumers who eat meat, rather than just strictly the much smaller group of people who refrain from meat.
The research found that when producers really set their sites on reproducing the experience of eating meat while still actually eating plants, is when sales of plant-based products skyrocketed. That is expected to continue well into the new year, with 54% of American consumers reported to want to reduce their meat intake, largely for health and environmental impact reasons, since plant-based meat products are typically seen as more healthful than meat.
But the study states that since plant-based meat products often contain equal amounts of fat and salt as meat itself, the industry could be heading for consumer backlash. So just as texture and taste were the R&D focus in the past for plant-based meat producers, moving into the new year, researchers should likely be turning their attention to making products healthier, the study advised.
Another major factor in the surge of interest in plant-based meat has been the partnership with fast food providers. Products like the Impossible Whopper in Burger King gave consumers the ability to try plant-based meat without having to commit to buying a full pack in a store.
Similarly, consumers have shown they love customization in fast food, with plant-based products often seen as a way to eat healthful meat alternatives that still taste like fast food favorites. As an example, the company said a trial earlier this year at Atlanta KFC stores of Beyond Meat's chicken analogue sold out in six hours, causing study authors to anticipate that in the coming year QSRs would likely only grow their plant-based meat options.
The IDTechEx report includes the aforementioned information in detailed form along with other observations around the subject and forecasts for the next 10 years.