Dip in US Retail Sales: The Ebb and Flow of the Plant-based Market
As seen in 2022, US-based companies, such as JBS, shut down their plant-based meat units because of a drop in retail sales, which fell by -13.6% in 2022 and -25.1% in 2023.
Meatless Farm, a well-known company in the United Kingdom, recently halted operations and let go of its staff due to a lack of revenue and funding constraints. Nestle and Oatly made similar announcements, withdrawing their split-pea-based alternative milk drink and vegan ice cream, respectively.
Due to rising inflation, UK consumers have reduced their consumption of expensive products such as meat substitutes. When inflation in the United States is only 3%, slightly lower than in previous months, what are the possible explanations for declining sales in the country?
Many experts have indicated that the ultra-processing techniques used in plant-based meat production do not meet the sustainable goal that most consumers were earlier drawn to. Aside from animal-free ingredients, many synthetic ingredients are also added to frozen burger patties and other similar products, which do not qualify as healthy alternatives to animal-based products. These ingredients are nutritionally deficient and may contribute to chronic diseases. Many influencers also stated that the manufacturing methods of these products are not environmentally friendly and may harm the environment.
Understandably, consumers are turning away from refrigerated meat alternatives. The post-pandemic world has made declining sales more obvious because it has become challenging to maintain momentum, hold the consumer’s attention, and encourage recurring purchase behavior.