Commentary on the rise and fall of alternative meat sales is rife in the news. To get some sage and balanced perspective, I asked Warren Buffett for his opinion. His response was simple: “Look at the fundamentals.”
Well, I didn’t actually ask Mr. Buffett, but that’s his answer to most questions, and it’s usually correct. So let’s look at the fundamentals.
The status quo is not an option
Let’s forget about whether you, or the consumer at large, wants to eat alternative meat. The average consumer wants to EAT MEAT. However, sourcing this demand exclusively from animals is not an option, whether we like it or not. We cannot sustain even today’s consumption levels, never mind the appetite of a rising population whose tastes are consolidating around a western style diet. Climate, land use, and resources simply cannot sustain this rising demand. Forget ethics, health, and taste preferences (for a second). The math says the current trajectory is unsustainable. This is the most fundamental of fundamentals.
Quality is improving
Alternative meat has a distinct advantage over animal meat. It has unlimited scope to improve in the key consumer demands of taste and texture, improved healthy ingredient content, and price. Constant technological improvements offer constant improvement. Cows and pigs will still be cows and pigs in 10 years’ time. I will love them just as much, no more, no less.
Sales are increasing — not decreasing
If you think that sales of alternative meat are falling then I would not advise investing in the stock market (which is also going up in value). In his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Harari makes the point that all forms of human progress increase over the long term. Collaboration, the stock market, sales of plant based meat. You just need to zoom out and not be spooked by turbulence. Nothing ‘goes up’ in a straight line. If you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500 30 years ago, you would be very happy today, even if you took a small dip over the last 6 months.
So, look at the fundamentals. Alternative meat is fundamentally growing, fundamentally improving, and fundamentally critical to our future.