Plant-based meat, egg, and dairy products already enjoy a strong presence in the market. Vegan options are popping up on menus far and wide, and some restaurants are even selling out of popular cruelty-free items! Now a recent article by The Good Food Institute (GFI) discusses how these products could become less expensive than animal meat.
GFI’s associate director of science and technology, Liz Specht, explains that although they require far fewer resources than animal products, plant-based products are often more expensive due to development costs and difficulty in obtaining quality raw materials at a low price.
For example, soy protein is one of the main ingredients in the meat of Impossible Foods, but soy protein is a minor product of the soybean industry. Most producers grow soybeans optimized for their main uses: oil and animal feed.
But Specht argues that limitations like these will soon be a thing of the past:
It’s all but inevitable that the plant-based meat industry will eventually be cost-competitive with conventional meat. In fact, this tipping point may hit relatively soon, given the recent flurry of activity reflecting new production capacity among the existing plant-based meat companies and the involvement of new entrants with massive resources.
As the plant-based market continues to grow, suppliers of raw materials will look to invest in specialized infrastructure for plant-based foods, and this will cause prices to drop. If people can access affordable plant-based products that smell and taste like the food they know and love, there will be no reason for anyone to continue financing an industry that hurts animals and the planet.
With millions of consumers already making compassionate choices and reforming the food system, we can be optimistic about a future in which sustainable plant-based products are available to all.