Plant-Based Meat Prices Are Finally About to Plummet (Updated)

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Feb. 8 2022, Updated 1:01 p.m. ET

Vegan Meat
Source: Impossible Foods

Although plant-based meat has been a phenomenal way to encourage more people to cut back on animal products, with meatless alternatives such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods closely mimicking the taste of the unfortunately-popular beef burger, they're unfortunately more costly. The process of producing plant-based meats is somehow more expensive than making a classic beef burger, despite the fact that beef burgers end up — well — costing a life.

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Why is plant-based meat so expensive? The reasoning behind the price hike in comparison to beef is mind-boggling — to say the least — but luckily, prices are about to plummet significantly, thanks to efforts from a new international manufacturer that's about to revolutionize the world of plant-based meats.

vegan meat prices
Source: Getty
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Here's why plant-based meat is so costly:

Plant-based meat production requires less grains, water, and energy than beef burger production — traditional burger companies have to account for the input required to produce animal feed, to "take care" and slaughter cows, and to transport the livestock. But unfortunately, according to WSJ, plant-based burger production is pricier than beef, because the meatless alternatives are made on a smaller scale, while animal agriculture subsidies ensure animal products remain affordable to consumers.

At the beginning of this year, two of the world's leading meat alternative brands, Impossible and Beyond, declared official plans to lower their prices. They planned to do this by opening more manufacturing plants, and by finding new ways to optimize production. Ultimately, Impossible even promised a 15 percent price cut. 

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Plant-based manufacturers such as Just Egg, a leading vegan egg company, did just that — after demand and supply increased sufficiently, prices dropped by almost half. That's why a new plant-based manufacturer is in the process of making that possible for leading vegan meat brands, with plans to help cut plant-based meat prices with increased production and utilization of the most efficient technology possible.

plant based meat cost
Source: Getty
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Plant & Bean is lowering plant-based meat prices with high quality technology.

Plant & Bean is a U.K.-based company that's in the process of opening Europe's biggest plant-based meat production facility, according to VegNews. It will function as a space for plant-based brands big and small to accelerate production, expedite international expansion, and ultimately, to lower the prices of meatless products worldwide. It's also collaborating with food technology companies, as well as research institutions, to elevate the quality and lower the cost of plant-based meats.

Plant & Bean has partnered with food development giant, Griffith Foods; manufacturer and ingredient supplier, Gushen; and two elite research institutions: Wageningen University and Singapore Institute of Technology. They are now developing technology to reduce the cost of plant-based meat ingredients and the process of extracting plant-based proteins by 50 percent, while looking to improve the texture of plant-based meats, to lower energy use, and to make the machinery all-around more efficient.

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“Today’s announcement underscores our commitment to repair what is a broken food system,” said Plant & Bean CEO, Edwin Bark. “Right now, 65 percent of consumers do not eat plant-based meats due to price and quality. With our two-pronged approach, we believe we are best placed to make the meaningful change required to tackle these issues. With our progressive global manufacturing strategy, brands will finally have the means to scale high-volume product ranges in order to lower the price-point for consumers." 

Plant & Bean is aiming to open manufacturing sites of the like in the U.S. in 2021 and in China by 2022 — hopefully this will further drive consumers to cut back on meat, and to lower input as much as possible overall.

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Update: plant-based meats are to be cheaper than real meat by 2023.

Popular plant-based meat brands such as Impossible and Beyond will supposedly be less expensive than animal meat by 2023, according to Veg News. This prediction is based on information from nonprofit Good Food Institute (GFI). The study took consumer research from Mindlab, that looked at how price is the second most important factor in driving intent, and since it's currently more expensive than most meat, closing the price gap would encourage consumers to buy more of it.

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Likewise, research shows that by 2025, alternative proteins from microorganism-based proteins like fungi and yeast will be cheaper, and by 2032, cell-based meats will meet price parity. The cost of animal meat is also rising because of agricultural developments, labor issues, and supply chain disruptions. Therefore, we could reach a vegconomy sooner than we thought.

This article has been updated.

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