Falling from the Serving Plate: Is this a Low Tide for Plant-based Meat?
Over a month ago, Meatless Farm unveiled “the UK’s first Automated Plant Machine (APM),” a vending machine that dispenses free plant-based food. It also announced the launch of four new products, such as the UK’s first branded plant-based meat-filled pasta, Chorizo-Style Sausages, New York Style ‘Cheeze’ Burgers, and lastly, its new No-Duja Ravioli and Beef, Red Wine, and Porcini Mushroom Girasole.
Such great announcements, but then where did things go wrong?
A few weeks ago, Meatless Farm gave shareholders a warning about losing millions of dollars and was trying to find a buyer to avoid any negative circumstances. The most recent round of fundraising for the business was in 2021, which was closed through crowdfunding and reached approximately £40 million. It would not be wrong to say that the growth of Meatless Farm was overshadowed by bigger players in the plant-based meat industry.
Although Meatless Farm has not made an official announcement, the website is no longer active, and the brand’s products are not available in supermarkets or via other previous retail partners. Not only Meatless Farm, but Yorkshire-based Heck Foods also abridged their vegan range. The market titan, Nestle, also terminated retail sales of its brands like Wunda, Garden Gourmet, and Mezeast in the UK and Ireland. Sales of meat substitutes in the UK supermarkets fell by 7.4%, i.e., £37.3 million. The reduction in sales is not because there is less interest in veganism but rather because people’s purchasing habits have changed and are shifting towards more affordable options.
However, Beyond Meat, has displayed surging business by launching their chicken-style range in the UK supermarkets in early May to uplift revenues. Even Mosa Meat opened the world’s largest cultivated meat facility in Maastricht for large-scale manufacturing. Other meat-free brands, like “THIS™” are seeding funds up to £15 million.
It can easily be projected that the global market for meat alternatives will be worth around £100-120 billion by 2030.
We are sure that the shutdown and layoffs at Meatless Farm are more of an internal or subjective issue than an industrial shift, away from plant-based alternatives.