Sustainable dining, mainstream therapy, and self-care are a few well-being trends circulating in our culture. Our country craves a better way of life, and healthier minds, bodies, and foods, judging from the trends of the last few years. Our desire to improve our lives is strong, primarily through our diets. A few years ago, meatless alternatives became all the rage as plant-based meat options hit the market. Boca, Impossible, Beyond, and Gardein are just a few of the mainstream, plant-based product options. As 2020 rolled around, with the COVID lockdown, the alternative meat trend hit a record high. Today, as restaurants climb back to their original numbers, plant-based meat may have just been a fad.
During the lockdown, when people couldn’t dine out regularly, they began getting bored and started looking for novelty food they could make at home, says Fast Company. Meat alternatives became a “healthy option” allowing everyone a way to eat sustainable, non-farmed meat. When restaurants began opening up again the following year, people started preferring real meat again, said the article, and had grown tired of the “near-meat” taste According to the article, people also became aware of the health benefits, or lack thereof, of plant-based meat.
Consumers are Reevaluating “Fake Meat”
The branding and marketing of plant-based meat have been touted as a healthy and tasty alternative to its mass-produced and, in many cases, inhumane counterparts. With sales surging in 2020, many people gave alternative meat a shot, putting it right next to the importance of climate change and animal welfare, says Business Insider. McGraw Hill Education, says the trend even helped address the disrupted supply chain during the lockdown. Their popularity gained so much traction that they even entered fast food and restaurant menus. Burger King still offers their Impossible Burger, and McDonald’s has the PLT (plant, lettuce, tomato) sandwich made with Beyond burger patties. However, recently, people have been questioning whether these sandwiches and plant-based foods are the best options. With “alarmist” and “reactionary” headlines about the processed plant-based meats, says Fast Company, consumers began to get a little spooked, even if it was blown out of proportion, says the article. McGraw Hill says plant-based meats are still more expensive than genuine meat products.
Restaurant Supply Chain Woes
As our country slowly returns to health and commerce, the supply chain disruptions have improved. The demand for plant-based meat has slowed, and last year alone, Beyond Meat laid off 20% of their employees, as has many fast-food chains pumped the brakes on their meatless menu options, says McGraw Hill.
As for the future of plant-based meat, there are a few theories. Many critics think the plant-based meat trend is fading quickly and will soon be gone; however, companies like Impossible are ramping up to provide more consumer awareness about their products and increasing distribution, says McGraw Hill.
One thing is for sure: we may be rethinking meat alternatives, but we become more aware every day of how important our food, our health, and our planet is.