Why are Consumers Buying Fewer Meat Alternatives?

LoreD

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I, personally, believe that new vegans and vegetarians will hop on the convenient meat alternative train, and then go in one of two directions.

One group will get tired of the highly processed alternative nuggets, burgers, etc. They will go back to meat and dairy because they are unwilling to put in the research to create a balanced plant based diet.

The second group transitions to a fully plant based diet, and leaves the processed food behind, except for an occasional cheat meal. Either way, the meat alternatives market was over saturated for a product that was a cheat meal, or a transition to a fully plant based diet of veggies, fruit, legumes, nuts, etc.

I've tried a lot of the meat alternatives, and while I will be happy with a few chick'n nuggets; for the most part, I haven't been overly pleased with many of the meat alternatives. I much prefer lentils with my spaghetti recipes, chickpeas (or black beans) on my salad, tofu in my stir fry, chickpea/gluten flour seitan in my chick'n soup. I use mushrooms as a meat alternative in just about everything.

I will say that I am unwilling to give up my MorningStar Farms corndogs. A box goes in my cart every couple of weeks.



Retail sales of fresh and frozen plant-based meat alternatives are decelerating. After two years of category sales growth, with 2020 buoyed by the COVID-19 pandemic, sales have slowed.

“We’ve seen a big deceleration,” said Chris DuBois, senior vice president of IRI’s protein practice. “Plant-based meats don’t make up 50% of the market or 25%. Despite all of the noise, it’s 1.5% of meat sales. It’s still relatively small.”
 
I, personally, believe that new vegans and vegetarians will hop on the convenient meat alternative train, and then go in one of two directions.

One group will get tired of the highly processed alternative nuggets, burgers, etc. They will go back to meat and dairy because they are unwilling to put in the research to create a balanced plant based diet.

The second group transitions to a fully plant based diet, and leaves the processed food behind, except for an occasional cheat meal. Either way, the meat alternatives market was over saturated for a product that was a cheat meal, or a transition to a fully plant based diet of veggies, fruit, legumes, nuts, etc.
The third group are those like me who eat whole beans and lentils only occasionally and fake meats the rest of the time because we are not paranoid about "processed" foods and want our meals to be genuinely enjoyable.
 
The third group are those like me who eat whole beans and lentils only occasionally and fake meats the rest of the time because we are not paranoid about "processed" foods and want our meals to be genuinely enjoyable.

It depends on what you are used to. I started eating plant based in the early 80's. Not much processed convenience food around. If you wanted plant milks, you better be prepared to make it yourself. Since there weren't any chick'n nuggets out there, or meat alternatives; it was easier to throw a can of beans in there. Legumes, nuts, oats, etc, were my convenience foods, because making a gluten roast from scratch was a lot of work.
 
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Inflation has cut into my food budget, so I haven't been buying that many processed plant-based proteins. I make most of my own proteins, including bean burgers and seitan. Soy curls have also become a staple for me, and I love tofu. I do enjoy Beyond burgers, Gardein products (especially fishless filets and seven-grain tenders) and some of Aldi's vegan proteins (chik'n patties and tenders). But overall, I prefer homemade.
 
Inflation has cut into my food budget, so I haven't been buying that many processed plant-based proteins. I make most of my own proteins, including bean burgers and seitan. Soy curls have also become a staple for me, and I love tofu. I do enjoy Beyond burgers, Gardein products (especially fishless filets and seven-grain tenders) and some of Aldi's vegan proteins (chik'n patties and tenders). But overall, I prefer homemade.
Does your Aldi still have tofu? Mine does, but it's been discounted at $1.59 for months,, and not always available. I fear it being discontinued o_O .
Do you like their vegan soy protein burgers? I do, but just never have a need to buy them, as I make so much seitan
I luvvvvv Beyond Italian sausages and breakfast patties! At $2 a link I justify buying those every couple weeks. I so rarely eat out.

Really though, I don't think the market for these subs have been clearly identified.
 
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This really highlights the division of folks turning to plant based diets, and that choosing to eat plant based does not imply being vegan, if you consider being vegan having anything to do with ethics. I know many here have pushed back on this view, but I'm honestly so very tired of reading online posts from healthy wfpb people ridiculing anything with sugar, oil; or processed, and spreading as much hate on vegans as any omni troll.
I
I have grown up omni, but we always tried all kinds of new foods, and I preferred the old soy burgers to any cow burger. I loved Morningstar bacon. I honestly do wish we could do without calling foods 'chik'n' or beef when they aren't, but that's how language is, there isn't a decent name right now
I don't see these as 'cheat' meals, but calling anything a cheat meal is completely subjective.
the foods I do realize need to be limited are really the same foods I ate as an omni--desserts, and snack foods.
Hopefully these plant based foods will cause people to rethink why they need to eat animal products and either include them in there meals or eliminate meat altogether
Normalizing foods without the use of animals is what will create a vegan transition, and for good or bad, this will be caused by large corporations, particularly in capitalistic US
 
Does your Aldi still have tofu? Mine does, but it's been discounted at $1.59 for months,, and not always available. I fear it being discontinued o_O .
Do you like their vegan soy protein burgers? I do, but just never have a need to buy them, as I make so much seitan
I luvvvvv Beyond Italian sausages and breakfast patties! At $2 a link I justify buying those every couple weeks. I so rarely eat out.

Really though, I don't think the market for these subs have been clearly identified.
Yes, my Aldi still has tofu, but like your store, it's not always available. I do like the vegan soy protein burgers, but I, too, don't have a need to buy them because I make black bean burgers so often along with zucchini cakes and seitan. I haven't tried the Beyond Italian sausages because I make vegan sausages a lot. I think I tried a commercial vegan sausage, but I don't remember the brand, only that I didn't care for it, which is why I started making my own. I do like Gardein's breakfast sausage patties, but I haven't bought them in a while.
 
Yes, my Aldi still has tofu, but like your store, it's not always available. I do like the vegan soy protein burgers, but I, too, don't have a need to buy them because I make black bean burgers so often along with zucchini cakes and seitan. I haven't tried the Beyond Italian sausages because I make vegan sausages a lot. I think I tried a commercial vegan sausage, but I don't remember the brand, only that I didn't care for it, which is why I started making my own. I do like Gardein's breakfast sausage patties, but I haven't bought them in a while.
Beyond sausage is very very realistic in terms of flavor and browning, without having the 'flesh' taste, which I find in their burger now. I finally figured out how to tweak and season my own seitan tofu sausages, but will still buy them on occasion and on sale. Love their spicy breakfast patties
 
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Beyond sausage is very very realistic in terms of flavor and browning, without having the 'flesh' taste, which I find in their burger now. I finally figured out how to tweak and season my own seitan tofu sausages, but will still buy them on occasion and on sale. Love their spicy breakfast patties
I have been meaning to try the Beyond sausage. Perhaps I'll put that on my shopping list for the coming week. :)
 
Please stop calling meat alternatives "cheat meals".
To be fair, they are.

I use Beyond burgers and Oumph and various plant-based nuggets, but they are a cheat to avoid actually cooking.
There isn't anything wrong with using them, so I don't regard the word "cheat" here as pejorative.

But sure, if I am in the mood and have time, I make my own veggie patties or seitan or tofu "fish" from beans, lentils etc.
And if I'm not, I "cheat" and grab a pack of Beyond burgers or fishless fingers!
 
I know many here have pushed back on this view, but I'm honestly so very tired of reading online posts from healthy wfpb people ridiculing anything with sugar, oil; or processed, and spreading as much hate on vegans as any omni troll.
Amen.
 
I still eat meat alternatives regularly after 10+ years. I don't consider it a "cheat" meal because it's not meat
 
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I am curious to see what happens with the "alt meat" market in the near future. We see a lot of reports that sales are falling and there is no longer as much excited talk about fermented/cell-based products as has been the case in the past. I read a pretty thorough analysis recently that highlighted quite a few areas of concern with those technologies (I have no idea if the author was right though).

Judging by what I see at my local supermarket, I think it's true that sales are not growing strongly or are even falling. Our alt meat section is quite small and, in some cases, pushed off into a corner.

I think the sad reality is that most people are not convinced by the ethical arguments of veganism and are increasingly being convinced that sustainability and environmental concerns are not as significant as has been claimed. Plus, there is a lot of inbuilt opposition to not eating meat (a psychology about it, I think). The animal ag industry has been very successful in pushing back against anti-meat messaging. But it may depend on where we are talking. Some countries may be changing more than others, I really don't know.

I think one thing is for sure - I don't believe that alt meats are essential for people either endorsing veganism or embracing a plant-based diet, but a cheap and equally tasty alternative would be critical to lead to the majority changing their diet.
 
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To be fair, they are.

I use Beyond burgers and Oumph and various plant-based nuggets, but they are a cheat to avoid actually cooking.
There isn't anything wrong with using them, so I don't regard the word "cheat" here as pejorative.

But sure, if I am in the mood and have time, I make my own veggie patties or seitan or tofu "fish" from beans, lentils etc.
And if I'm not, I "cheat" and grab a pack of Beyond burgers or fishless fingers!
In the US people use "cheat" meal to either mean something they don't ordinarily have, either because they usually make from scratch, or because it's a treat.
Many people use these ready made foods on a regular basis, so calling it "cheat" is personal.
 
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To be fair, they are.
No. They aren't.

The term "cheat meal" is IMO something that puts an emotional and moral component to food that's completely unnecessary and inappropriate.

People on various diets talk about "cheat meals" or "cheat days". Now vegans are talking about "cheat meals" when eating meat alternatives (not real meats, mind you...) or maybe anything other than self-cooked and/or WFPB?

but they are a cheat to avoid actually cooking.
Again, no. That's simply called "convenience food" and has been around since like forever, including frozen vegetables, pre-cut greens, canned beans and fruits.
 
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Many people use these ready made foods on a regular basis, so calling it "cheat" is personal.
This.
The food snobbism that's been around since some years in the vegan community is quite annoying.

That "cheat"-stuff in regards to food needs to take a hike. People cheat on their spouses, not on their diet.
 
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