Where’s the beef? Meat substitutes now a $4.6b business and growing fast
- April 1, 2020: Vol. 7, Number 4

Where’s the beef? Meat substitutes now a $4.6b business and growing fast

by Mike Consol

In the age of ubiquitous tech startups, the relative importance of a trend is often determined by the level of interest shown by venture capitalists — and by that measure, meat substitutes have hit the big time. That’s the word from a new report from Cushman & Wakefield about technology trends that are shaping real estate in the food and beverage industry.

There was nearly a half-billion dollars invested in 20 different companies focused on meatless “meat” and alternate proteins during the first half of 2019, marking an increase of 41 percent from the second highest six-month period (the first two quarters of 2018). Beyond Meat, one of the largest companies singularly focused on meat alternatives, went public in May 2019 with a single day pop in stock price of $1,632. Even after some ups and downs during 2019, the stock began 2020 up 66 percent from its opening-day price.

The global meat substitutes market is currently $4.6 billion and is forecasted to grow by 39 percent over the next five years, a compound annual growth rate of 6.8 percent. The forecasted near-term U.S. growth rate is even more bullish at 8.1 percent per annum for the next two years. Total global revenue from meat substitutes in 2018 was a mere 0.9 percent of the overall meat products market ($492 billion) but is expected to grow at nearly twice the rate over the next five years.

This level of opportunity has been a boon for niche companies focused primarily or exclusively on meat alternatives, such as Impossible Foods, Moving Mountains Foods and Beyond Meat. The forecasted growth is also attracting established food and beverage companies such as Kraft Heinz, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Tyson Food and Hormel Foods — all of whom have plant-based offerings.

Despite the surge in meat alternatives, global beef production has yet to be disrupted, notes the Cushman & Wakefield report. In fact, after a decline in 2015, growth has been nearly 2 percent per year with a peak year-over-year increase of 2.5 percent in 2018. However, the industry is entering into new territory with the rise of protein options that do not contain meat.

Read the complete Cushman & Wakefield report at this link:


Mike Consol ( is editor of Real Assets Adviser. Follow him on Twitter @mikeconsol to read his latest postings.


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