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Insight of the Day: Meat alternative innovation: Time for something new

The article discusses the challenges faced by the plant-based meat industry and the need for innovation in meat alternatives. Here are the key points from the article:

  • Retail Sales Decline: Retail sales of plant-based meat alternatives saw a decline in 2023 compared to previous years, with inflation and product quality being cited as contributing factors.

  • Sales Figures: Combined refrigerated and frozen plant-based meat alternatives generated slightly over $1 billion in retail sales in 2023, a decrease of almost 10% in dollar sales compared to the previous year.

  • Refrigerated vs. Frozen: Sales of refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives dropped to 327millionin2023,downfrom327 million in 2023, down from 327millionin2023,downfrom481 million in 2021. Frozen meat and poultry alternatives also saw a decline in sales.

  • Consumer Purchases: Only 6.9% of US households reported purchasing refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives in 2023, marking a decrease of 18.5% from the previous year.

  • Challenges in Innovation: Creating flavors and textures that appeal to consumers and make them repeat purchasers has been a significant challenge for the industry. Meeting clean label needs, taste preferences, and price concerns are crucial.

  • Consumer Preferences: Consumers look for plant-based meat alternatives that not only match the taste of beef but also offer unique flavors, textures, and mouthfeel. Authentic cooking flavors like chargrilled and caramelized notes are favored in plant-based burgers.

  • Importance of Taste: Taste remains a top priority for consumers, followed by nutrition and price. Sustainability alone may not be sufficient to drive consumer choices; the taste and overall experience of the product are crucial.

In conclusion, the plant-based meat industry is facing challenges in maintaining sales growth and attracting more consumers. Innovation in flavors, textures, and overall product experience is key to driving the success of meat alternatives in the market.

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