Demand for plant-based meat likely to increase after Covid-19, says GlobalData
Reports from China, where the coronavirus originated and where a return to normal living conditions is beginning to happen, suggest plant-based protein foods are proving increasingly popular, says GlobalData’s food correspondent, Andy Coyne.
“The food industry will be looking to China for future trends because it was first into the Covid-19 crisis and is one of the first to emerge from it.”
US ‘alt-meat’ company Beyond Meat has just launched in China, through the Starbucks chain, and fast-food giant KFC is offering meat-free ‘chicken’ products there made by Cargill.
According to Coyne, this seems to be indicative of a wider trend in the country of looking for protein alternatives to meat, and of companies looking to tap into that interest. In addition, Coyne says that suspicion over possible links between wild animal meat and the virus will force some people to re-think their diets, but the bigger catalyst could be the wider focus on health and wellness the Covid-19 outbreak has helped to engender.
“Globally, the market for alternative-protein was becoming increasingly crowded before Covid-19 struck, mainly catering for so-called ‘flexitarians’ looking to cut their meat intake for a variety of reasons but with health one of the principal factors.
“UK meat-alternatives firm The Meatless Farm is one business that has reported a rise in sales in recent weeks, both in its domestic market and in the US – and the company has said it has an eye on building its presence in Asia, too.
“There is no reason to think Covid-19 will slow what was an already growing consumer interest in alternatives to meat. I suspect the reverse will be true and we will see an even larger percentage of the population turning their back on meat, even if it’s only for a day or two a week.”