Looking at Nielsen data since the start of the pandemic, one fact was abundantly clear – sales of plant-based meat alternatives dramatically increased by just over 239%.
According to SPINS data reported by the Plant Based Food Association, sales of plant-based meat were up 18% in 2019, with the category worth more than $939 million. Refrigerated plant-based meat saw sales increase 63%, and plant-based meat now accounts for 2% of retail packaged meat sales.
According to a poll from Rethink Priorities in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States, just over half of consumers think the food industry should focus on meat-free options to address potential meat shortages from plant closures and processing slowdowns.
Half of respondents said they don't think the meat industry cares about the health of its workers. Nearly two-thirds said they don't think the meat industry cares about the treatment of animals. A 2018 study from DuPont Nutrition & Health found 52% of people who eat more plant-based food said it makes them feel healthier.
“Covid is shining a light for consumers to start evaluating their own choices and whether or not they want to continue to buy meat,” Josh Balk, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society, told Bloomberg.
Meat packing plants, as depicted in The Jungle back in 1906, have long been
fertile ground for all sorts of outbreaks. Most plants are now running at some capacity, producers still need to euthanize animals that would have been slaughtered for food because there is no space for them on farms or in plants running at lower output rates.
A 2018 study from DuPont Nutrition & Health found 52% of people who eat more plant-based food said it makes them feel healthier.
A recent study from Kearney showed 83% of consumers took sustainability into consideration when making food purchases in April; and that number increased as Covid-19 numbers increased went on.