The market for plant-based chicken gains two big name players

Sep 30, 2021  | 3 min  | Ep4707

The plant-based meat industry grew 45 percent from 2019 to 2020 to a value of $1.4 billion. While it only accounts for only 2.7 percent of the packaged meat category in the U.S., the Good Food Institute says about 17 percent of households are picking up a meat product that started in a field and not a feedlot. 

John Torpy reports on two of the bigger players in this arena entering the poultry product business.   

Rival California plant-based food startups Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods hope the same formula used to make their beef products a success will work on a new line of chicken products as well.

On Monday, Beyond Meat said its new chicken tenders will go on sale in U.S. grocery stores in October.

Meanwhile, Impossible Foods began selling its new chicken nuggets in September, with plans to be in 10,000 stores by later this year.

Dennis Woodside, President, Impossible Foods: "So we're launching impossible chicken nuggets. Chicken is one of the most consumed categories of meats in the US, especially among children. We're launching a product that is delicious, more nutritious for you, lower saturated fat, fewer calories, and has far less impact on the environment." 

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods entered the plant- based meat market with different alternatives to ground beef. Beyond Meat burgers were the first to be sold in grocery stores in 2016; Impossible burgers joined them a few years later.

But the new chicken products will have more competition as they join freezer shelves already packed with plant-based chicken options. According to the Good Food Institute, a non-profit organization promoting alternatives to conventional meat products, the plant based meat market grew by more than $430 million between 2019 and 2020.

Tom Rees, plant-based meat analyst, Euromonitor: "If you are one of these companies that are going into this with the hope and the mission of we are going to reduce human consumption of animals, we're going to reduce animal slaughter, then you have to address chicken because, you know, billions of chickens are eaten. You know, chicken eating around the world is enormous."

Globally, retail sales of meat substitutes are expected to grow two percent to just over four million metric tons between 2021 and 2022, according to Euromonitor, an independent market research provider. Processed animal meat sales are expected to stay flat in the same period, at almost 19 million metric tons.

According to Rees, plant-based meat sales were growing before the coronavirus pandemic as more brands appeared on the market. But the pandemic gave plant-based meat a boost as coronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants led some consumers to add plant-based meat to their shopping carts for the first time.

Tom Rees, plant-based meat analyst, Euromonitor: "In terms of the number of brands and the number of companies, we are still very much in that fighting out phase for a slice of the pie. The opportunity is huge there."

For Market to Market, I’m John Torpy.

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