• Market Crumbs

Impossible Foods' CEO Is Very Optimistic

Image via Vegan Liftz on Unsplash

The last few years has seen a rise in alternatives to meat, such as plant-based meat and lab-grown meat.

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have largely been the two companies at the forefront of bringing meat alternatives to the market. Most well-known quick service restaurants now have an offering from one of the two companies.

Impossible Foods founder and CEO Patrick Brown was on CNBC earlier this week, making a prediction that most people would likely gladly take the other side of.

"From a nutritional standpoint our products match the protein quality and content of the animal products that they replace," Brown said. "This is why I think people are increasingly aware plant-based products are going to completely replace the animal-based products in the food world within the next 15 years. That’s our mission. That transformation is inevitable."

While it's not surprising to see him make a prediction like this, results from Gallup polls reveal the odds of that happening are slim to none.

According to a 2018 poll by Gallup, 5% of Americans consider themselves to be vegetarian. Gallup conducted the same poll in 1999 and found that 6% of Americans considered themselves to be vegetarian.

A separate poll by Gallup found that just 41% of Americans have tried plant-based meat. Age has somewhat of an effect on the likelihood of someone trying plant-based meat, with about 50% of Americans younger than 50 trying it, while only 26% of Americans 65 and older have tried it.

Despite plant-based meats being added to many quick service restaurant menus, it appears not all of them have fared well enough to warrant keeping them on the menu.

Just yesterday, McDonald's revealed it stopped testing its meat-free burger using Beyond Meat on April 6. McDonald's, which hasn't yet tested a meatless burger in the U.S., said "We have no current plans to bring it back to our menu at this time."

Earlier this year, Tim Hortons pulled Beyond Meat products from its menus across Canada less than a year after introducing them. Following the announcement, Tim Hortons said "Ultimately, our guests choose to stay with the meat option in their breakfast sandwiches."

It's not all bad news, however, as Burger King expanded its Impossible Whopper to all 50 states, while also introducing new menu items such as the Impossible Croissan’wich. Even Starbucks finally began offering a plant-based meat, introducing a breakfast sandwich made with Impossible sausage earlier this week.

With the reception to plant-based meat offerings at restaurants mixed, as well as the same number of Americans considering themselves vegetarians as in 1999, it appears Brown's prediction that plant-based products will replace animal-based products within 15 years seems like a stretch.

Leftover Crumbs

  • 47.25 million. 1.48 million Americans filed for initial jobless claims last week, bringing the total since the coronavirus outbreak began to 47.25 million, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Last week's claims marked the 14th-consecutive week that filings came in above 1 million, after first exceeding the mark during the week ended March 21. Continuing claims fell by 767,000 to 19.52 million, marking the first time they've fallen below 20 million in two months.

  • Wirecard files for insolvency. After failing to locate $2.1 billion in cash, Wirecard has filed an application to open insolvency proceedings "due to impending insolvency and over-indebtedness." Wirecard is also determining if it will have to file insolvency applications for its subsidiaries, which includes a bank in Munich and a card-issuing unit in the U.K. Shares of Wirecard have now fallen about 97% since EY said it couldn't find the cash last Thursday. Wirecard becomes the first company in Germany’s DAX stock index to go belly up.

  • IMF warns about valuations. The International Monetary Fund is warning that the disconnect between financial markets and the real economy could lead to a correction in asset prices. "This disconnect between markets and the real economy raises the risk of another correction in risk asset prices should investor risk appetite fade, posing a threat to the recovery," the IMF said. "According to IMF staff models, the difference between market prices and fundamental valuations is near historic highs across most major advanced economy equity and bond markets."

  • Chuck E. Cheese parent in trouble. CEC Entertainment, the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza, is the latest company to be affected by the coronavirus as it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. CEC said it will use the bankruptcy proceedings to attempt to restructure its balance sheet. CEC and its franchisees, which operates 612 Chuck E. Cheese and 122 Peter Piper Pizza locations, expects to keep the locations open during bankruptcy proceedings.

  • Google will pay publishers. Google announced it will begin paying some news publishers later this year for "high-quality content." Google will also pay for access to articles that are behind a paywall on a publisher’s site. "This program will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests," Google’s VP of product management for news Brad Bender said.