Inflation kills off hopes for return of plant-based meat boom


Financial Times

Sep 18, 2022


The increasing pressure on consumers has extinguished any hopes of a rebound in sales of plant-based meat this year, dealing a blow to a sector that was an investors’ favourite when shoppers were prepared to pay higher prices for the product.


New figures show that after climbing over the past two years in the UK, the growth in sales of plant-based meats was just 2.5 per cent in the 36 weeks to early September, according to market research firm Kantar. Sales had climbed 40 per cent in 2020 and 14 per cent last year.


In the US, meanwhile, the tougher economic backdrop has depressed a market that had started to struggle last year. Sales were down 0.4 per cent in the 32 weeks to early August, according to data provider Spins, after they fell 0.5 per cent last year. Sales had surged 46 per cent in 2020.


Jeff Crumpton, senior manager at Spins, said “flexitarians” — people who eat only moderate amounts of meat — were thinking twice about plant-based meats as pressure on incomes grew as a result of increasing food prices. “They’re having to make a difficult decision with what their budget is,” he said.


Plant-based meats were particularly vulnerable to the squeeze on consumers, industry analysts said, because they typically retail at a premium to real meat...


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