Alternative meat demand is surging and supply, distribution and regulation is running to catch up.
The share price of the company Beyond Meat rose by 163% in its initial public offering (IPO) on May 2, the best performance by any US IPO in more than ten years. Moreover, unlike some debutantes, the price has kept rising, reaching a market capitalisation of 9 billion dollars. Alternative meat (alt-meat) includes manufacturing 'meat' from plant based products and engineering it scientifically from animal muscle.
- The meat sector will fight to maintain the strict definition and use of the term ‘meat’ for marketing uses and in retail outlets.
- Alt-meat products are perceived as healthier, but regulatory review and research will be under pressure to back up these claims.
- Reducing animal use by the food sector will require new regulation and a shift in attitude and cultural norms in developing nations.
- Alt-meat taste and texture varies but as this improves, advertising will focus on animal welfare, health and environmental credentials.
- Meat is the largest employer in US agriculture; if less farm-reared meat is demanded globally, this will alter employment and skill needs.