Alt-beef


April 18, 2019

Today, Monster Energy’s lost market share gets eulogized, while meme lords unionize, but first…
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When cell-cultured meat hits the market, it’s gonna be expensive

When Dutch scientist Mark Post became the first person in the world to make a cell-cultured beef burger — the pound of lab-made beef would have cost around $1.2m.

Over the years that number has dropped exponentially, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be cheap when it’s expected to hit markets in 2020.

According to Bruce Friedrich, founder of the Good Food Institute, people will have to stomach a $50 price tag on cell-cultured meat, chicken, or fish — whatever meat ends up being the first to touch down.

It’s for a good cause, people! 

Aside from the fact that living, burping livestock is responsible for 15% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, the ever-rising human population (and our respective appetites) will demand an estimated 70% to 100% more meat by 2050.

Put those two things together and alt-beef becomes a hot commodity. But, in San Francisco a plant-based Impossible burger costs around $19, so why would anyone buy clean meat for $50?

People must really hate veggies

In an interview with the BBC, Friedrich boasted that the Good Food Institute’s meat patty is “not yet another veggie burger” — hmm, weird flex.

Clean-meat still isn’t technically vegetarian (it’s cultured from animal cells), which could be a prime selling point to carnivore traditionalists, who often think of veggies as Satan’s meal of choice.

This meat’s got culture
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Meme lords are hitting the collective bargaining circuit

The Atlantic reports that Memers have had it with corporations (really everyone) posting their art without compensation — and now, they’re unionizing.

“Solidarity actions with memers. Memers of the world unite,” the union’s Instagram page read, as it encouraged followers to “seize the memes of production.” 

They’re looking at you, Instagram

The memery generates engagement that helps keep Instagram growing — but, they argue, the multibillion-dollar platform doesn’t pay them for their work, or give them any say in how it’s displayed.

Like every other social media platform, Instagram is free to use, yet the company is allowed to monetize the content to sell ads.

Will the National Labor Relations Board take this seriously?

Most signs point to fat chance, but the IG Meme Union Local 69-420 (this is not a joke, we repeat: this is not a joke) isn’t laughing.

Regardless, it plans to act as a union, and use some of the same tactics to protect their dank, steel-beam melting work.

» A bold move to piss off memers

Monster’s massive market share suddenly looks a lot less menacing…

Monster Energy’s market share fell from 45% to 41%, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Monster, an energy drink company known for its sexual harassment problem and its boys-club marketing, is up against several new competitors — and many people seem more interested in wellness than “Monster Girls” at NASCAR races. 

Monster’s macho buzz is wearing off

In 2016, Red Bull more than doubled Monster’s sales. But a lower price point and aggressive marketing helped Monster claw its way to the top of the market, beating out Red Bull with 43% market share.

But, thanks to new competitors and shifting consumer preferences, Monster’s grip on the market is slipping.

Monster marketed its drinks with extreme motorsports, scantily clad women, and video games, amassing a loyal following among Xbox-playing teenage boys — but the company may have limited its audience. 

Now, everyone’s into energy

As it turns out, Call of Duty fans aren’t the only people who want a caffeine kick. In fact, market research shows that many caffeine consumers are looking for health and wellness options.

Several companies have already doubled down on wellness-focused energy drinks: AB-InBev bought HiBall, Amazon launched its own Monster competitor, and fitness-focused Bang is growing rapidly. Keurig Dr Pepper will soon launch a new competitor called Adrenaline Shoc.

Even Coca-Cola, which owns an 18.5% stake in Monster and distributes the brand, is trying to kill the creature under the bed: Coke launched a product called “Coca-Cola Energy” in Europe.

» Caf-fiends

Why would a successful Instagram business launch a print newspaper?

The popular “Overheard LA” Instagram account has grown from a tiny hobby project to a massive, recognizable brand with 1.2m followers and 7 spinoffs since it launched in 2015. 

Now, according to The New York Times, the brand is so successful that it is expanding to new formats — starting with a print newspaper.

The Overheard Post

Why take a successful social media business and expand to newspaper?

Overheard’s founder, Jesse Margolis, says he doesn’t want the brand to be “siloed” on a single platform like Instagram. 

For Margolis, newspapers are a great place to start. Distributing newspapers across LA is great marketing, and the newspaper format is a great match for the brand; The Overheard Post will feature millennial weather reports and obituaries for plastic straws.

The limits of the ’Gram

Overheard’s unorthodox expansion plan highlights the challenge of building a stable, well-rounded business.

As an Instagram-only brand, Overheard already employs 5 staff members and several freelancers. But in order to keep the brand growing, Margolis has chosen to take his humor offline.

“I’m old enough to remember when everyone was offline scrambling to establish a presence online,” Margolis told the NYT. “And now I started something online. And I’m trying to establish its presence offline.”

» Up next: Printed-out Tweets
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