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DIVIDING LINES: How soon will cultured meat impact plant-based sales?

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Over time, cultivated meat may compete for the flexitarian customer, but one of the biggest reasons flexitarians buy plant-based products is for health reasons and to reduce meat consumption. So for those consumers, they may not immediately perceive health benefits of cultivated meat.

GRACE GARWOOD: In June 2023, the USDA issued final approvals for two cell-cultured meat companies to sell their products to the public, making the U.S. the second country after Singapore to make such an allowance. As Reuters reported, both companies — Upside Foods, Inc. and Good Meat, a division of Eat Just, Inc. — claim they’ve already begun production for sale.

This watershed moment arrived amidst a widening shakeout in the world’s alt-meat sector. As money flows less freely due to surging interest rates, investors have sharply pulled back alt-meat funding, just as inflation increases production costs and makes consumers more selective about their food choices, reported Bloomberg. The Food Institute checked in with Jennifer Bartashus, senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, to discuss what this approval signals for the plant-based meat category…

“For now, we don’t think the approvals for cultivated meat signals any major changes for plant-based leaders like Beyond Meat or Impossible. Over time, cultivated meat may compete for the flexitarian customer, but right now one of the biggest reasons flexitarians buy plant-based products is for health reasons and to reduce meat consumption. So for those consumers, they may not immediately perceive health benefits of cultivated meat (although there are some)…

We may see more partnerships that create hybrid products. One example would be the integration of cultivated fats into plant-based products… Other hybrid products that combine cultivated and plant-based (or even combine cultivated with conventional proteins) can create a new step change in innovation where we get closer to the taste consumers expect but still deliver on the environmental and animal welfare promises”. SOURCE…

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