Consumption of beef and chicken was estimated to hit a record high this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But traditional meat’s time at the top of the proverbial food chain may be nearing an end, if two new 2019 prediction pieces are to be believed.
Grocery giant, Kroger, released its Top Food Trends for 2019, and listed plant-based foods as a trend to watch. Granted, this list appears to mainly be a glorified advertisement for Kroger’s line of branded products disguised as a listicle. But even if it does come from a more mercenary place, it indicates that Kroger is putting some of its marketing and product dollars into plant-based alternatives. Which makes sense, given what we’ve been tracking here at The Spoon.
Sales of plant-based milks are on the rise, while traditional milk sales have declined. And on the meat side, we’ve seen makers of plant-based meat alternatives like Beyond Meat struggle to keep up with demand and bring on additional production capacity. Meanwhile, Impossible foods, maker of that eponymous burger, has exploded on the restaurant scene, and is now available in 3,000 locations, up from just 40 in 2017. Even White Castle is rolling the heme burger out to all its locations nationwide.
Speaking of restaurants, food and restaurant consulting firm Baum + Whiteman (B+W) released its own set of 2019 predictions for the restaurant industry this week, and among their takes is a boom in lab-grown “motherless meat” (yet another name for the nascent technology).
B+W thinks “lab-grown protein is set to explode in popularity through 2019,” which is probably overly ambitious. JUST is supposed to bring its cultured meat to market by the end of this year, and Finless Foods its fake fish by the end of next year, but The Spoon’s Catherine Lamb, who follows this industry closely, doesn’t think lab-grown meat will become a thing in restaurants until 2020 out at the earliest based on her extensive reporting.
Predictions are easy to make, and hard to make accurately. But I thought it worth pointing out that two different trend lists from two different parts of the food industry have listed alterna-meats on their trends to watch next year. ‘Tis the season for these types of prediction lists to roll out, and I predict (see what I did there?) that we’ll be seeing alternative proteins pop up on a lot of them.