Giving Compass' Take:

• COVID-19 infections have spread throughout large meat processing facilities and will soon cause meat shortages, prompting more consumers to turn to plant-based meat alternatives. 

• How might this impact the plant-based industry long-term? 

• Learn more about why plant-based foods are more than just a fad. 

They've been boosted by more at-home cooking, competitive beef prices, and shoppers' growing disgust at meat production.

Plant-based meat companies have become unexpected beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic. As meat processing facilities across the United States and Canada have closed due to virus outbreaks, companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are suddenly able to compete more closely with the price of real beef. This is something the companies have struggled to do since their creation, but this situation now poses a unique opportunity "to make more inroads with the consumers," as Beyond Meat's CEO Ethan Brown told the Financial Times.

In the past month, two of Canada's three biggest beef processing plants have closed, Tyson has shut down one beef and two pork plants in the U.S., and Smithfield has closed its huge pork plant in South Dakota. By the end of April, at least eight major facilities had stopped producing, leading to predictions of meat shortages in coming weeks, particularly once countries run through their frozen meat reserves.

Meanwhile, plant-based meat companies are finding that business is booming better than ever. For Beyond Meat, whose products were mainly sold in retail locations, rather than restaurants, this looks particularly good. It reported a 141 percent increase in first-quarter sales compared to the year before and share prices have increased.

Even though the growth is very much fuelled by immediate circumstances, the industry appears hopeful for its long-term future.

Read the full article about plant-based meats by Katherine Martinko at TreeHugger.