Alternative meat market could be worth $140 billion in 10 years

May 28, 2019

The market for plant-based or lab-made meat could climb to $140 billion in the next 10 years as emerging companies capture a 10% share of the $1.4 trillion meat market. In a new report, Barclays analysts led by Benjamin Theurer said investors and traditional food companies appear intrigued by the burgeoning sector, noting the gains made by Beyond Meat (+6.89% since its recent initial public offering).

"Although today we believe that there are inherent barriers to successfully replicating certain animal-based consumer favorites (e.g., T-bone steaks), what has been achieved so far in terms of ‘meatless’ ground beef, sausage, and hamburger products has yielded positive initial consumer reaction, which should bode well for the alternative meat sector to grab its fair share of the global meat market," wrote the analysts in the report.

"With that said, we believe taste and price will ultimately dictate whether or not alternative meat gains widespread acceptance," the analysts wrote. To achieve that goal, alternative meat companies need to target the demographic segment that drives meat consumption, which is men aged 14 to 70.

As consumers become more aware of the impact on the environment of the meat industry, alternative meats are likely to gain in acceptance and popularity, but there are risks to consider. One is that alternative meat may prove to be less healthy than some are claiming as companies turn to additives to add flavor or if regulators intervene to constrain marketing strategies.

To really make the sector into a mainstream category will require a joint effort between food companies, restaurants, and retailers. "We believe that a broad marketing strategy educating consumers on the benefits of alternative meat via an ‘Inconvenient Truth’-style documentary, combined with visually appealing and edgy advertising a la the ‘Got Milk?’ campaign, could be the ingredients that enable alternative meat to become a main course on the menu," said the report.

MarketWatch article