Livestock Market Economist Dr. Glynn Tonsor talks Fake MeatThu, 21 Nov 2019 11:38:29 CST
Right now, if you head to your grocery store or even your favorite burger joint, you will see that there are plant based meat alternatives. Extension Livestock Market Economist Dr. Glynn Tonsor says that for now. meat alternatives have a hefty price tag, "There are several plant-based protein products that are on the market both in the foodservice restaurant channel as well as the retail grocery channel. Most of those products, particularly through the retail grocery channel, are sold at a much higher price than traditional beef."
The bureau of labor statistics released their month of September retail food price report and Tonsor says the government report shows that the national average for ground beef is around $4.40 per pound- and that the meat alternatives are two or three times that price, so you are talking a substantial price premium, "So there's a big price differential, so those that are most price-sensitive and probably the lower-income segments are not the target market in the short term. That's one thing to take from that."
So who is being targeted for meat alternatives? Tonsor says there are still a lot of economic questions to be answered, but what he does see is those who label themselves Vegan or Vegetarian tend to be the most interested parties purchasing these products. Tonsor says the next group to be targeted is the Flexitarians, "A segment of the population that is sympathetic to the vegan or vegetarian diet styles but still eat meat sometimes. I think the flexitarian group is a rational next target for these products."
Down the road Dr. Tonsor says if these plant-based meat-based substitutes become more economical he sees a time where there could be a regular use for them in the existing ground beef marketplace, "We import a lot of lean product from other countries, so Australia, New Zealand, other countries, and we mix it with less lean product here in the U.S, particularly from steers and heifers to hit a given fat and lean target mix in a ground beef product."
Tonsor says he could envision a world in the future where these alternative products are more readily available and cheaper than they are today to become a new source of lean protein that goes into those ground products, "We are already seeing a few current major protein companies in the U.S. do blends of plant-based protein with live animal based. That's occurring, and I think it's going to speed up and do more of that as the price of these alternatives come down that seems fairly likely to me."
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Dr. Glynn Tonsor on today's Beef Buzz- comments gleaned from his conversation earlier this week with Eric Atkinson.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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