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Despite Growth Of Plant-Based Meat Industry To Reach $20 Billion, Challenges Still Remain For It To Overcome

Despite Growth Of Plant-Based Meat Industry To Reach $20 Billion, Challenges Still Remain For It To Overcome
According to analysts, the industry for meat alternatives still has hurdles to overcome in different parts of the world even though the industry has witnessed an growth in demand for meat alternatives and is projected to continue to grow.
According to Google Trends, in the early months of 2019, the term “plant-based meat” had become very popular globally even before the initial public offering of Beyond Meat.
According to market research company Euromonitor, currently, the total value of the global meat substitutes sector is $20.7 billion and is predicted to reach a total of about $23.2 billion by 2024.
A number of concerns among consumers - ranging from animal welfare to food security and the Covid-19 pandemic, is set to fuel this growth.
“In this era of shocks and instability, building a low-risk value chain means focusing on where the opportunities are, and the shift towards plant-based meat shows no signs of slowing down,” said Elaine Siu, managing director of The Good Food Institute Asia Pacific.
But the industry is also expected to face a number of hurdles.
Siu said that established perception issues could limit the growth of the plant-based meat market in Asia. She said that primarily followers of Buddhism in China were previously the consumers for mock meat or vegetarian meat, for example.
“Replication of the taste and texture of meat was never pushed past a relatively basic level,” she said.  She added that these traditional products serve a specific purpose and “their appeal is viewed as limited” to certain groups.
“In order for plant-based meat to reach its full market potential in Asia, the sector must continue to break free of its association with traditional mock meats, which are expected to be sold at a low price point and carry historical image baggage,” said Siu.
According to Simon Powell, global head of thematic research at American bank Jefferies, another roadblock to the alternative meat industry could be opposition to it by cattle farmers. This can be specifically applicable for the United States,
In its efforts to keep plant-based proteins and alternate meat out of the description, an official definition of the terms “beef” and “meat” was sought in a petition filed in 2018 by the US Cattlemen’s Association.
“Incumbent producers are going to lobby their governments hard to change the labelling, to mess around with consumer advertising to say you can’t call it meat,” Powell told the media in an interview.  “I think that’s potentially one of the biggest barriers,” Powel added.
 Proposals to prevent restaurants and shops from using words such as sausage or burger when referring to meat alternatives were rejected by the European Union in October.
Customer could get afraid of eating these alternatives in the case of one of the plant-based meat companies meeting with “some kind of accident” or if there was a problem with their recipe resulting in a “massive recall,” Powell added.
“This is a big ‘if’ … but if they were to have a big recall of product, then that might dent consumer confidence,” he said. “At some point, you’re going to get these events. That’s going to set the industry back a bit.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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