Plant-Based 'Meat' Could Be Set For Post-Covid-19 Surge

Friday, April 24th, 2020 | 1907 Views

Early indications suggest demand for plant-based meat alternatives is likely to increase when the Covid-19 outbreak is over, argues GlobalData Food Correspondent Andy Coyne:

Reports from China, where the virus originated and where a return to normal living conditions is starting to happen, suggest plant-based protein foods are proving increasingly popular. The food industry will be looking to China for future trends because it was first into the Covid-19 crisis and is one of the first to emerge from it.

US ‘alt-meat’ company Beyond Meat has just launched in China, through the Starbucks chain, and fast-food giant KFC is offering meat-free ‘chicken’ products there made by US agri-food giant Cargill. This seems to be indicative of a wider trend in the country of looking for protein alternatives to meat – and of companies looking to tap into that interest.

Suspicion over possible links between wild animal meat and the virus will force some people to re-think their diets but the bigger catalyst is probably a wider focus on health and wellness the Covid-19 outbreak has helped to engender.

Globally, the market for alternative-protein was becoming increasingly crowded before Covid-19 struck, mainly catering for so-called ‘flexitarians’ looking to cut their meat intake for a variety of reasons but with health one of the principal factors.

UK meat-alternatives firm The Meatless Farm is one business that has reported a rise in sales in recent weeks, both in its domestic market and in the US – and the company has said it has an eye on building its presence in Asia, too. There is no reason to think Covid-19 will slow what was an already growing consumer interest in alternatives to meat. I suspect the reverse will be true and we will see an even larger percentage of the population turning their back on meat, even if it’s only for a day or two a week.


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