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Layoffs and ‘declining revenues’ are slamming the plant-based meat market

Layoffs and ‘declining revenues’ are slamming the plant-based meat market
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Layoffs and ‘declining revenues’ are slamming the plant-based meat market

On October 7, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the United States’ unemployment rate had fallen to 3.5 percent in September — and non-farm payroll had “increased by 263,000.” The U.S. and other countries have been suffering their worst inflation since the early 1980s, but the U.S., during the Biden era, has also enjoyed some of its lowest unemployment rates in over half a century.

However, one sector of American business that is seeing a downturn, according to Axios’ Jennifer A. Kingson, is the market for “plant-based meat.”

In a report published by Axios on October 25, Kingson explains, “Companies that make faux burgers and other meat substitutes are laying off employees and staring down weak sales, amid what Beyond Meat describes as ‘ongoing softness in the plant-based meat category.’ Why it matters: The biggest fast-food chains and meat producers have raced to cash in on fake meat, sensing consumer appetite for sustainable and animal-friendly alternatives. But high prices and flattening demand have dogged the industry.”

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Kingson reports that Impossible Foods is laying off 6 percent of its employees, while Beyond Meat is reducing its workforce by 19 percent and is suffering “steepening revenue declines.”

McDonald’s shelved plans to introduce a McPlant burger nationally,” Kingson reports. “Brazil’s JBS is closing Planterra Foods, its U.S. plant-based meat business, and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods has whittled its plant-based meat division.”

Kingson adds, however, that “despite the drumbeat of bad news, Beyond Meat officially introduced Beyond Steak on Monday — a splashy new product available at more than 5000 Kroger and Walmart stores.”

According to Kingson, the “plant-based meat” market is “seeking price parity with ‘real’ meat, which tends to be less expensive.” And she notes that traditional vegetarians and vegans aren’t the primary target of “plant-based meat.”

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Marnie Shure, in an article published by The Takeout on October 17, explains, “The fact is, vegetarians were doing just fine without fake meat before Beyond and Impossible came along, and hardly have reason to add expensive alt-proteins into their diet when the cheapest ones do the most heavy lifting. Indeed, vegetarians and vegans were never the intended customer for Beyond: These products exist to cater to flexitarians, those in the habit of eating meat who crave the taste but might be looking to reduce their intake. And those folks aren’t going to spend more on a habit they haven’t yet cultivated.”

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