The juiciest topic in the global food industry this year is artificial meat featuring its own “blood.” When the US company Beyond Meat went public on the NASDAQ on May 2, its shares surged 163 percent, with shares being purchased by Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio, former McDonald’s president Don Thompson and Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing. The rise in environmental and health consciousness has seen a rapid increase in business opportunities for environmentally friendly foods associated with vegetarian and vegan diets.
Studies are increasingly showing that excessive meat consumption is harmful to health. In 2003, an American health advocate revived “Meatless Monday,” promoting the idea of refraining from eating meat every Monday. The practice was taken up in many countries, including the US, Canada, Brazil and Italy. For those of us who simply must have meat, and for whom a vegetarian meal constitutes a form of torture, artificial meat or veggie meat substitutes are the best option. According to a United Bank of Switzerland (UBS) report, veggie meat sales are predicted to soar from US$4.6 billion in 2018 to US$85 billion in 2030.
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are currently the two largest producers of artificial meat in the world. Both companies are targeting not vegetarians but meat eaters, hoping to break away from the idea that vegetarian foods are meat substitutes.
According to Beyond Meat’s chief growth officer, Chuck Muck, when the company approached stores and supermarkets, it asked them to display the product together with the meat products, to be sold together with real meat, and not to place it in the vegetarian foods section, as they wanted to attract meat-eaters, too. Impossible Foods founder Patrick Brown says, “We score zero points if a vegan or vegetarian buys our burger. The more of a meat lover they are, the more they are our target customer.”
In April last year, Burger King teamed up with Impossible Foods to promote a veggie hamburger, calling it the Impossible Whopper, which was convincing enough that not even the Burger King staff could tell the difference between the two. This increased Burger King’s customer flow by 18.5 percent. The popularity of the Impossible Whopper led McDonald’s to team up with Beyond Meat to trial an artificial meat burger in Canada, followed by KFC working with Beyond Meat to produce Beyond Fried Chicken. With major fast food companies one after the other embracing artificial meat, the potential market for vegan foods knows no bounds.
(Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)
Beyond Meat與Impossible Foods為目前全球兩大人造肉廠商，兩家大廠瞄準的都不是素食者，而是吃肉的人，希望跳脫以素食為肉品替代物的框架。
Beyond Meat首席增長官查克莫克說，Beyond Meat和超商、超市等通路業者接洽時，要求一定要把產品擺放在肉類區，和真肉一起販賣，而非放在蔬食區，因為要讓吃肉的人也可以接受Beyond Meat；Impossible Foods創辦人派崔克布朗也說：「若是純素或一般素食者購買我們的漢堡肉，我們得到的是零分，越愛吃肉的人，才是我們真正的目標顧客。」
去年四月，漢堡王和Impossible Foods推出素肉漢堡，取名為「不可能華堡」，逼真到讓連漢堡王內部員工也無法分辨真偽，為漢堡王提高百分之十八點五的客流量。因「不可能華堡」爆紅，勁敵麥當勞也和Beyond Meat在加拿大試推人造肉漢堡，就連肯德基也和Beyond Meat推出人造肉炸雞（Beyond Fried Chicken）。在速食巨頭紛紛投向人造肉的懷抱下，顯示出蔬食市場的無限潛力。
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