The pandemic of Covid-19 has forced several large-scale slaughterhouses americans to temporarily shut down, raising fears of shortages in the spot of meat. An opportunity seized vigorously by the manufacturers of steaks, nuggets and sausages, plant-based, hoping to appeal to new customers.
Impossible Foods, a start-up headlights of the sector, has signed this week a partnership with the retail giant Kroger, and its 1700 stores.
A giant step for the group, which was previously sold only in 1000 points of sale to individuals.
Its competitor, Beyond Meat also has a lot of ambition.
Its turnover has strongly suffered in the first quarter of the closing of many restaurants, one of the measures taken by the majority of the american States to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.
But the director-general Ethan Brown is determined to ” encourage consumers to give it a try (its products) during this period of disruption on the market of animal protein “.
To do this, put it on the ” development of formats economic “, containing for example 10 to 12 steaks, and on “aggressive price” is closer to the rates of the meat is traditional, he stated Tuesday during a conference call.
The alternatives to meat, such as burgers, soy-based, already exist since several decades.
But Beyond Meat as the Impossible Burger is trying for a decade to create products that are plant based as close as possible the taste, the texture and flavor of real meat.
Jump of 270%
These foods are still far from having conquered, frankly, the heart of the Americans, great lovers of the grill: only 3.6% of households in the United States are currently purchasing products Beyond Meat.
But the health crisis has completely disrupted the traditional market of the meat.
Several slaughterhouses have become hotbeds of contagion of the Covid-19 and more of a big score had to temporarily close their doors, according to the main agricultural union Farm Bureau.
The ability of the country to transform from the meat of pork has decreased by about 20% and that of beef by 10%, according to the organization.
At the same time, among the amateur cooks who now have plenty of time to prepare to eat at home and the fear of shortages, consumers flock to the butchers.
According to the firm Nielsen, sales of fresh meat to private individuals has jumped from 39% in march and April.
Signs, Costco, Kroger and Wegmans have had to impose restrictions on the number of pieces of beef, pork and poultry products that their customers can buy.
The fast-food chain Wendy’s has warned on Wednesday that some of the restaurants may occasionally not be able to offer burgers on the menu.
These massive purchases of meat have not really dampened the enthusiasm for the versions based plants, whose sales took off of 270%.
“The african swine fever had already decimated the livestock of pigs in Asia before the arrival of the Covid-19 cannot come to even more disrupt the meat supply in Asia “, says Sara Olson, of the firm Lux Research, in a note released on the 1st of may.
“And the rest of the industries of meat in the world seems to be really struggling to maintain production “, she adds.
The disturbances affecting the production and the processing plant will be “slower to be transmitted in the food chain,” believes the researcher. “This means that the alternatives to the burger and chicken-based plants have the opportunity to present itself as a reliable alternative, or even as the only choice, in the face of the shelves empty of meat.”
“The appetite for protein is going to continue to rise in the world “, underlines its side Caroline Bushnell, the organization promoting alternatives to meat, The Good Food Institute.
In this regard, steaks, nuggets, and sausages made from plant or animal cells represent a welcome diversification at a time when “the supply chains of animal agriculture are proving vulnerable,” she remarks.