- A recent report conducted by AT Kearney claimed that by 2040, 60% of the meat consumed will either be plant-based or lab-grown. Such a transition can be attributed to increasing environmental awareness surrounding traditional meat farming and growing concern for animal welfare. Here, FoodBev explores five meatless trends, including seafood substitutes, lab-grown meats and ‘bleeding’ plant-based proteins, that we can expect to see more of throughout 2020 and beyond.
- Fishless fish: While plant-based meat, milk and cheese alternatives are currently dominating the plant-based industry, other protein alternatives, such as seafood-influenced options, are also driving innovation in this sector.
- Lab-grown meat: Although the plant-based market is booming, meat consumption is actually on the rise, according to USDA figures. To meet this increasing demand sustainably, a plethora of startups are using technology to grow meat tissue in laboratory settings. These companies are disrupting the conventional meat industry, with dramatic advances in technology allowing meat culture from a microscopic animal tissue sample. Cultured meat, otherwise known as ‘clean meat’ or ‘lab-grown meat’ can be defined as a type of meat that is produced through exponential cell growth in bioreactors but does not involve the slaughter of animals.
- Meaty, but meatless, alternatives: Impossible Foods’ 2016 debut of their infamous ‘bleeding’ Impossible Burger, saw other companies follow suit. They, arguably, were responsible for creating the market for more ‘meaty’ plant-based products. Moving Mountains, for example, introduced their ‘bleeding burger’ in the UK in 2019, where coconut oil provides a ‘fatty’ consistency, mushroom based proteins account for the meaty texture and beetroot juice causes it to ‘bleed.’ Similarly, Don Lee Farms recently released an organic plant-based burger across 15 different countries, made from soy protein which also ‘bleeds’ organic beetroot juice.
- Reduction is key: Gone are the days when meat alternatives were exclusive to a niche group of vegans and vegetarians, requiring minimal space on supermarket shelves. Now, increasing numbers of consumers are adopting a flexitarian diet, striving to reduce their consumption of animal-based foods, instead of cutting them out entirely. This lifestyle choice is evident across Europe, as recent research from Cargill found that four in ten (43%) European shoppers purchase both animal-based products and their plant-based alternatives, compared to just 1% who consume alternatives only.