The fake meat fad is fading… By Gregory Bloom


I called it back in 2019 and predicted the plant-based and cell-based meat craze was just a passing fad, and like many other food fads of the past, it would fade away also.

Along the ride since then, I’d bought a ticket and hopped onboard the hyped-up plant-based bullet train and began selling plant-based products. Last year I blogged about my experience so far, showing plant-based options to HRI and retailers. I started selling plant-based options to the same customers I sell meat to, and it’s been interesting to see how many cases of plant-based products restaurant operators actually use a week – not many compared to real meat items.

Since 2019, my prediction has been proven mostly accurate. The number of plant-based brands found in the meat case next to real meats has declined. Those with apparent ‘staying power’ are only still there because they’re being subsidized by investors. They are part of massive marketing campaigns built on the unproven premise that their plant-based brands are causing less global warming than real meat.

Here are three reasons I listed in 2019 as to why the fake meat fad will ultimately fade:

  1. Most proponents of cell-grown proteins promote the premise that meat is bad for the environment. They only have ‘junk science’ to support their suppositions. They ignore the reality of cattle’s upcycling superpower. Who’s going to eat all of that non-irrigated field grass (which is useless to humans) and convert it to protein if cows don’t? Maybe the Veggie-heads should try swallowing that stuff in their salads! These same people bathe in the comfy hypocrisy of their petroleum-powered lifestyles and turn a willfully blind eye to the EPA’s proven data that human transportation is far more harmful to the environment than cows could ever be.
  2. Our hypersensitized culture refuses to recognize the proven scientific evidence that genetically modified fruits and vegetables are not measurably harmful to our health or the environment. Current consumer surveys show that people don’t trust GMOs. Are we to believe that once lab-grown fake meats permeate the market our culture is going to suddenly embrace food that’s grown so unnaturally? That’s not likely.
  3. Vegetable-based meat substitutes (like bean-based patties) have already been in the market for decades. Simply put, they do not taste as good or provide the nutritional benefits that meat does. They also cost the food service operator significantly more than healthier natural meats. The newest veggie versions are nothing more than novelties that get a lot of PR fluff based on funding from the big companies that choose to gamble on theirperceived profit potential.

What I’d now add to this list of why the fake meat fad will likely ultimately fade:

  1. The plant-based bullet train was funded by venture capitalists, wealthy climate-alarmist investors, and crowd funders. Unproven consumer demand was over-hyped and was never the fuel powering the train. Idealists turn into realists pretty quickly when it’s their own money on the line.
  2. The list of ingredients on plant-based labels has now been vetted by many savvy consumers who’ve done their homework and determined these highly processed items are not better for your body than real meat. Also soy and pea protein isolates, methylcellulose, bamboo cellulose are not familiar items typically found in your kitchen cupboard.
  3. Any retail sales-dependent food manufacturer that hopes to grow and remain profitable requires a minimal percentage of the market share in order for retailers to dedicate them valuable real estate on their shelf space. The real-time market analysis for repeat customers of fake meats is showing an inadequate percentage of the market share for long term viability. There are much higher priority items already waiting in line for shelf space. The only reason many of these plant-based items got into the case is because they paid slotting fees.
  4. The only way fake meats continue is if they remain subsidized by a combination of current interests and government subsidy policies, all of which are as fickle as the next election cycle or the next manufactured, higher-priority crisis.

Plant-based options will likely not fade off completely into the sunset. Some products are getting more competitive and tastier. I believe that there will always be a small market share for these types of products, but they will never totally replace meat unless meat is regulated out of business by politicians.

What percentage of the meat case do you think plant-based products will take up in five years in your local grocery store?

Source: Meatingplace