The meat substitute market is collapsing after its meteoric rise, with key players in the industry facing massive layoffs and plummeting sales.
Fake meat products like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which advertise themselves as healthy and environmentally friendly alternatives to meat, soared to national popularity in 2019 when they began selling their products with massive fast food chains. Impossible Foods was moving toward laying off 20% of its staff in late January just months after its competitor, Beyond Meat, announced plans to cut a fifth of its own workforce, according to Bloomberg.
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The United Nations and the World Economic Forum have urged the public to eat less red meat and adopt meat substitutes, citing concerns about carbon emissions from the meat industry. Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown has taken the stage at numerous conferences and panels over the last decade touting the benefits of fake meat for human health and the environment, and in 2022 he said his process for breaking down plant products into protein would render the current meat agriculture system obsolete in a New York Times conference on climate change. (RELATED: REPORT: Beyond Meat Factory Plagued By Mold, ‘Dirty Conditions’)
The consulting firm Deloitte found in September that consumers were opting out of meat substitute products like Beyond Meat because they considered the brands “too woke;” the trend held true even among individuals looking to cut back on red meat consumption.
Beyond Meat executives blamed the company’s declining sales from 2021 to 2022 on consumers’ decreased appetite for meat substitutes, according to Axios.
“We feel good about our growth and performance, and we haven’t been experiencing what some of the other brands in the space have reported,” an Impossible Foods spokesperson told Axios.
The products are plant-based and are created through high-moisture extrusion, a process that pre-cooks the meat before it’s sold, according to Axios. Burger King and Qdoba added Impossible Meat products to their menus in 2019, while Beyond Meat was sold at Del Taco, Subway and KFC.
Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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