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Vegan and lab-grown meat to dominate global meat market by 2040

  • Vegan and cultured meat will make up 60% of the global meat market in the next 20 years
  • Meat alternatives firms received almost $1 billion in funding up to 2018
  • New analysis from A.T. Kearney looks at the future of the meat industry and disruption from meat alternatives

11 JUNE 2019 LONDON – Analysis from global management consultancy A.T. Kearney has found that 60% of the global meat market will be made of vegan alternatives and so-called ‘cultured’ or ‘slaughter-free’ meat by 2040, with conventional meat products reduced to just 40% of the market over the next 20 years.

The firm also found that 25% of the market would be solely comprised of vegan meat alternatives, such as those made by Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Just, which have disrupted the vegan food market since 2010.

According to A.T. Kearney’s figures, more of the world’s crop harvest is used to feed livestock than it is for human consumption, with almost half (46%) of the harvest of crops like wheat, maize and rice going straight into animal feed, compared to 37% which is turned into products for us to eat.

Whilst this isn’t environmentally-friendly in terms of the levels of emissions or water usage that goes into feeding livestock, it’s also not good news in terms of the nutritional benefits for humans either. The analysis shows that humans only receive 15% of the plant calories – and therefore the nutritional benefits of those plants – that goes into animal feed. When compared with cultured meat products (70% plant calorie conversion) and vegan meat replacements (75% plant calorie conversion), it’s clear that these products are having a positive impact on us, too.

These changes in the global meat market will be driven by the further development of biotechnological processes, with start-ups in the traditional fintech hubs of California and Israel now exploring these novel meat alternatives as a viable business venture – and the funding of these ventures speaks for itself.

In the period up to 2018, established vegan meat replacement brands received $900 million in global funding. Indeed, Beyond Meat raised $241 million when it first listed on Nasdaq and its shares have increased by over 200% since it first listed on Nasdaq a month ago, showing clear appetite from investors for the meat-free phenomenon.

Whilst not as popular as vegan meat alternatives to date, the market for cultured meat is growing, receiving $50 million in funding over the same period. According to the firm’s analysis, this portion of the market is set to overtake vegan products and comprise of over a third (35%) of the global meat market over the next 20 years, as a result of the similarities with conventional meat products.

Dr. Carsten Gerhardt, Partner at A.T. Kearney comments:

“The shift towards flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan lifestyles is undeniable, with many consumers cutting down on their meat consumption as a result of becoming more conscious towards the environment and animal welfare. For passionate meat eaters, the predicted rise of cultured meat products means that they still get to enjoy the same diet they always have, but without the same environmental and animal cost attached.”

“For true disruption of the global meat market to occur beyond 2030, early investment is needed for supply chains, production facilities and go-to-market channels for these meat alternatives to succeed.”

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