Fake Meat: A Threat To The Beef Industry?

2/10/18 Fake Meats and Beef Industry
The Beyond Burger is an example of an alternative meat. ( Farm Journal )

The beef industry is watching the growing popularity of alternative proteins of plant-based and meatless burgers. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) unveiled its 2018 policy priorities. For the first time, the association even added fake meat to its policy agenda.

Beyond Burger is one example. The plant-based protein is selling in over 5,000 grocery stores nation-wide and some select food chains such as BurgerFi and TGI Fridays.

Memphis Meats is another “cultured” meat coming online produced directly from animal cells. Major meat companies like Tyson Foods and Cargill are making investments in the alternative protein sector.

Tyson Foods is investing in both Memphis Meats and the Beyond Burger.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to broaden our exposure to innovative, new ways of producing meat, especially since global protein demand has been increasing at a steady rate,” said Justin Whitmore, executive vice president of corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. “We continue to invest significantly in our traditional meat business but also believe in exploring additional opportunities for growth that give consumers more choices.”

Cargill also has made investments in Memphis Meats.

“Global demand for protein is being fueled by improving economies and an expected population increase to more than 9 billion people by 2050,” said Sonya Roberts, Cargill protein president of growth ventures. “Based on 2015 consumption and population growth rates, food production would need to increase by 70 percent over that time frame to feed the projected global population. Our commitment to animal protein is unwavering.”

AgDay and U.S. Farm Report national reporter Betsy Jibben talks with Dominic Jones, general manager of BurgerFi in Tempe, Arizona; Craig VanDyke, market analyst with Top Third Ag Marketing; Don Close, vice president of food and agribusiness research and advisory at Rabo AgriFinance; and Allen Moczygemba, CEO of the American Angus Association.