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Giving Compass' Take:
• This post describes nine trends that show how plant-based foods are gaining popularity and will change the future of food.
• What are donors doing to address issues in the meat production industry? How can investments in plant-based foods help?
• Read about why plant-based foods are more than just a fad.
Plant-based meats account for less than 1% of overall meat sales in the United States.
Although this seems negligible, the industry's growth has been exponential in recent years, suggesting that a major transformation is underway in how we produce and consume food.
US consumers bought 157 million units of plant-based meats last year, allowing the industry to grow 23% compared to the year before.
Here are nine trends that are ensuring that plant-based foods will be the food of the future.
- Ingredient breakthroughs: After years of experimentation, brands have developed convincing meat replacements with plant ingredients like soybean roots and pea protein.
- Major investments: The most encouraging sign that plant-based meats are here to stay is how major meat producers are investing in plant-based alternatives.
- Mainstream recognition: White Castle carries Impossible Burgers at its restaurants, Burger King is rolling out Beyond Burgers to its nearly 7,300 restaurants, and other brands like Wendy’s have experimented with meat alternatives.
- Markets of scale: The US agricultural system is overwhelmingly designed to support the meat industry. In fact, the vast majority of crops in the US go toward feeding animals that are then slaughtered for food.
- Product placement: As supermarkets begin to place plant-based meats in the general meat section, sales are expected to similarly increase.
- Consumer preference: The majority of people who eat plant-based meats are not vegans or vegetarians. Instead, they’re omnivores who want diversity in their diet.
- Health: In recent years, a growing body of research has linked the consumption of red meat to problems such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
- Environment: Meat production also leads to deforestation, land degradation, and water contamination, the UN adds.
- World hunger: As climate change diminishes agricultural output around the world, the UN encourages countries to make their food production systems more sustainable by growing more nutritious crops instead of investing in meat production.
Read the full article about plant-based meats by Joe McCarthy at Global Citizen.