Giving Compass' Take:

• The author discusses how alternative meat sources are gaining popularity and making strides in 2019. For example, grocery stores will now sell the Impossible Burger. 

• What are the benefits of investing in plant-based meat companies? 

•  Read more about the future of clean meat. 

In the first half of 2019, the Impossible Burger–the plant-based burger known for its ability to bleed plant-based blood–will be sold in grocery stores for the first time.

Good Catch, a startup making fish-free tuna and crab-free cakes, plans to launch in February. And it’s possible that the FDA and USDA will approve the first chicken grown from chicken cells in a bioreactor for sale in restaurants.

It means we could be at a tipping point for the post-animal meat industry.

Sales of plant-based meat are growing; between August 2017 and August 2018, according to Nielsen data, dollar sales grew 23%. Beyond Meat, the California-based startup with a plant-based burger designed to look and taste like a beef burger, struggled to keep its product in stock at Whole Foods, and had to postpone its rollout to the U.K. because it couldn’t keep up with demand. The company tripled its production capacity in 2018.

The growth is driven by new products that are nothing like traditional veggie burgers.“It’s a real shift in the meat alternative category from what it had been for decades, where most of the products were designed mostly for vegetarian and vegan audiences and weren’t trying to directly replicate conventional meat,” says Caroline Bushnell, who studies the market for plant-based meat at the nonprofit Good Food Institute.

It’s still a tiny category–slightly less than 1% of all retail meat dollar sales go to plant-based meat. But the industry is at a similar point now as plant-based milk was a decade ago, says Bushnell. Soy milk, almond milk, and other products in that category now make up 13% of overall milk sales; more than a third of American households now buy plant-based milk.

The next step that may happen in 2019 is more monumental: Regulators may approve the first meat grown from animal cells (but not a whole animal) for consumption.

Read the full article about alternative meat by Adele Peters at Fast Company