The Business Behind the Faux Meat Boom

From beefless burgers and sirloin without the slaughterhouse to chickens hatched in a petri dish, faux meat is hot, and ‘big meat’ and ‘big food’ are stampeding into the plant-based and cell-based meat space with full force.

Bruce Freidrich, co-founder and executive director of the Good Food Institute (GFI), which held its second annual The Future of Meat conference in San Francisco in September, attributes the new interest in alternative meat from big meat and food companies to Beyond Meat’s phenomenal success on the stock market — its May 1, 2019 IPO was the largest in two decades, and its “P.L.T,” meatless patty just test-launched at McDonald’s — and Impossible Foods, which sold so many of its Impossible Burgers when it debuted in 58 Burger King locations in April that it ran out of product.

Even though neither startup has yet to turn a profit, the two alternative meat companies clearly have the attention of the traditional meat and food giants like Tyson FoodsJBSSmithfield FoodsPerdue FarmsNestleKellogg CompanyHormel Foods and numerous others, along with grocery retail giant Kroger, which at the conference announced the launch of a full line of plant-based foods under its Simple Truth store brand, ranging from burgers to lunch meat.

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