Market & Trends

Signs of S-Curve Adoption in the Alt-Protein Sector

The way we produce and enjoy food is undergoing a significant transformation, in large part due to plant-based innovation and alternative proteins.

Plant-based alternatives are predicted to become more cost-competitive with meat and dairy options around 2025-2027, leading to a major ‘tipping point’ in consumer adoption by 2030-2035. These predictions come both from the work and research of industry experts, like Catherine Tubb of Synthesis Capital, and from companies like Beyond Meat, who are setting goals to underprice beef by 2024.

“As the incumbent product, in this case, meat, spirals downwards, the new entrant, in this case, plant-based innovation & alt proteins, spirals upwards…”

VegTech Invest explains how this trend is set to make a big impact based on the concept of the ‘S-Curve’ adoption model, which when applied in this context describes the gradual but powerful uptake of plant-based innovation and alt-proteins. The driving force behind this shift is ongoing investment in the sector. Governments are supporting infrastructure, and while venture capital has seen a downtick, CEO Elysabeth Alfano sees this as a temporary pause before the real growth begins.

alternative protein investing
Image courtesy of VegTech Invest

When plant-based innovation becomes as affordable as conventional options, more people will choose these alternatives. This change is a natural shift as businesses gravitate toward efficiency and cost savings. The plant-based approach eliminates the need for resource-intensive animal farming, making it a greener choice. Additionally, these innovations are healthier and have the potential to lower healthcare costs.

However, there is hope for plant-based options. Products like Beyond Meat’s burger are resource-efficient and environmentally friendly. As more grocery stores offer plant-based alternatives, prices are expected to drop, making them even more attractive to consumers. Research from VegTech Invest showed that prices for Gardein are already on par with meat, and as more grocery stores choose to white-label plant-based products, Alfano anticipates the prices will continue to drop.

With cost parity on the horizon and growing support from consumers, governments, and investors, the shift toward a more sustainable and healthier food system is well underway. “As the incumbent product, in this case, meat, spirals downwards, the new entrant, in this case, plant-based innovation & alt proteins, spirals upwards,” states Alfano. 

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