Over the past few years, plant-based meat substitutes have come closer and closer to mimicking the real thing and have subsequently grown in popularity. Brands like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have reached billion-dollar valuations as most major fast food chains added plant-based meat alternatives to their menus.
While the hype surrounding plant-based burger patties, sausages and meat substitutes appears to have died down a bit in recent months, there’s no doubt that alternatives to fresh meat will become more and more important in the future, especially as awareness of the massive carbon footprint of meat consumption grows.
As the following chart nicely illustrates, we are still in the very early stages of the transition towards more sustainable meat alternatives. According to data from Statista’s Consumer Market Outlook, plant-based meat substitutes accounted for a tiny sliver of the U.S. meat market last year. Not counting insect-based meat alternatives or cultured, i.e. lab-grown meat, meat substitute sales amounted to $1.3 billion in 2021, while sales of fresh and processed meat added up to almost $160 billion.