“Beef, its what’s for dinner”- The Beef Industry Council and Leo Burnett, “Where’s the beef?”- Wendy’s and Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, “Got milk?” – California Milk Processor Board and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. American consumers of any age can recognize and recall one if not all of these iconic meaty campaigns and are likely purchasers of meat and dairy products. However, meat and dairy have new players to contend with for table space, and its plant-based meat.
‘Veggie-might’ is taking on a whole new meaning, with a projected growth of over 24% from 2018, the US plant-based meat market expected to reach values of up to $3 billion by 2024. Companies like Beyond Meat, recently the first vegan plant-based company to go public with initial shares priced at $25, MoringStar Farms, and Impossible Foods are capitalizing on this trend and providing consumers with more plant-based meat options than ever before.
These companies aren’t only providing in-store options but are catching the eyes of legacy brands looking for their seat at the newly emerging plant-based table. With offerings like Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger, made with beets to give the ‘bloody’ sensation of real meat, chains Del Taco, Bareburger, and Carl’s Jr all now feature the brand and plant-based alternatives on their menus. Not to be outdone, Taco Bell is working on a full vegetarian menu despite offering more than 8 million current vegetarian combinations.
Fast-food royalty Burger King is testing the plant-based waters and recently launched the Impossible Whopper made from Impossible Foods’ plant- based patty, and is taking a promotional Impossible Whopper Tour across the U.S. to give consumers the chance to try the burger even if their local chains don’t offer the limited-time menu option.
Impossible Foods also recently announced a new partnership with Pizza giant Little Caesars, who will soon offer a Supreme pizza topped with Impossible Sausage. After listening to this recent NPR Morning Edition episode detailing an in-depth taste test comparison of plant-based burger options, it’s easy to see why these offerings are becoming more common.
The recent spike and interest in plant-based options begs the question: Are there now more vegans and vegetarians walking amongst us than before? Carnivores can rest easy because as the saying goes “correlation does not imply causation.” In fact a 2018 Gallup poll found that only 5% of Americans say they are vegetarians, a number unchanged from 2012, and only 3% of Americans say they are vegans, a small change from 2% in 2012. Interestingly, the same poll found that roughly one in 10 Americans who consider themselves liberals (11%) say they are vegetarians, and 5% say they are vegans. Not surprisingly that number differs from the 2% of Americans who consider themselves conservatives who say they are either vegetarian or vegan.
While the plant-based revolution may not yet have an iconic slogan or campaign, as a non-meat eater seeing the rise in plant-based menus and in-store offerings, it’s exciting and feels great to finally have more options available outside of the standard tofu or beans route.