… The story is simple: another new, ‘hot’ category is just another fad…



The Plunge in Plant-Based Stocks is All About Expectations


Vince Martin, The Food Institute

August 2, 2022


A one-year stock chart seems to tell a story that investors in the food industry have heard before: [chart]


The story is simple: another new, ‘hot’ category is just another fad. Before the pandemic, organic food was the new trend. And while Whole Foods sold to Amazon, and Annie’s to General Mills, neither acquisition was a winner. Those companies that didn’t sell out paid the price: Hain Celestial, one of the category’s bigger players, has seen its stock fall by two-thirds from a 2015 peak.


Gluten-free was another supposed challenge to legacy manufacturers.


Shares of Boulder Brands, maker of gluten-free brands Udi’s and Glutino, at one point in 2014 had risen more than 400% in just four years. Growth then stalled, and the stock plunged before Pinnacle Foods stepped in with a discounted buyout offer the following year.


The stunning sell-off in plant-based stocks, including Oatly, Tattooed Chef, and Beyond Meat, would seem to suggest that history is repeating. After all, even in a heavily inflationary environment, purveyors of traditional meat products like Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson Foods are doing quite well. (Given that the S&P 500 has declined 8% over the past year, any positive returns count as “doing well”.)


Meanwhile, plant-based stocks have crashed.






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