Vegan, plant-based ‘meat’ yields mouth-watering profits

Who needs beef, chicken or pork?

That’s what an increasing number of Americans are saying. And companies have noticed, as they offer a range of meat alternatives.

“Interest is booming in plant-based meat analogues and lab-grown meat alternatives,” according to PreScouter, a research firm, in .

Besides potentially big profits, alternative meat advocates say these products are better for the environment.

Variations include plants such as soybeans, tofu, mushrooms, lentils and several fruits. They can replace meat in ground beef, sausages and bacon strips, among other foods.

JPMorgan Chase says the market for plant-based meat alternatives could top $100 billion in 15 years. Barclays, in , also predicts the potential for alternatives is huge.

In part, new veggie products are popular because of their promise to reduce greenhouse gases. Alternative meat advocates argue these products might even persuade some to switch from traditional meats.

Animal agriculture is responsible for approximately 18% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions globally, according to the PreScouter report.

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“One way to fight these environmental issues is to stop or reduce consuming meat,” the PreScouter report says.

Indeed, Barclays sees opportunity there. “Due to rising demand and a growing population, global meat consumption is on the rise, especially in the US,” Barclays wrote. “We believe therefore that there is a bigger market opportunity for plant-based (and maybe even lab-grown) protein than was projected for electric vehicles 10 years ago.”

Barclays says that today, alternative meats are $1.4 billion, or 1%, of the global meat industry. By 2029, it predicts alternatives will be $140 billion, or 10%.

PreScouter lists dozens of companies working with fast-food chains such as McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King.

Burger King recently launched the . It has “become one of the most successful product launches in brand history, leading to outstanding comparable sales of positive 5% this past quarter,” a BK spokeswoman said. It is being tested in 180 American and 20 European markets.

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