Investors in search of greener pastures look to lab-grown meat

Plus: Restaurants are sick of you bailing on reservations, Pixar’s big rebound, and more.

Beyond Meat stock price over time

Olivia Heller

Moo-ve over, pea protein? Soy long, beet blood?

Sales of plant-based meat alternatives are dropping, according to data from Circana. The industry has dipped 19.8% YoY in units sold this summer, quite the fall compared to conventional meat purchases (down 2.7% YoY).

We’re not gonna sugarcoat it: investor sentiment is down, too.

  • Beyond Meat stock has fallen ~76% since the company’s IPO. At Impossible Foods, employees’ shares have declined 89% in value since 2021.
  • After venture funding for plant-based meat startups fell by half last year, companies raised $75.2m in Q1 of 2023, down from $703m in Q1 of 2022, per PitchBook.

Tofu or not tofu?

Meanwhile, cell-cultivated meat bagged $356.6m in Q1. These kinds of proteins are grown in a bioreactor, and, as Axios put it, “emerge in the consistency of soup or pancake batter” which can then be shaped. Yum.

So, since that consistency isn’t a great consumer selling point, what is?

  • For one, the production process is cleaner than how we get our meat today. It’s also greener — the lack of actual animals means less methane and land use.

At this point, there’s just so little of it available. Just two companies, Upside Foods and Good Meat, have received regulatory approval to sell their cultivated chicken — and you can only eat it via:

  • Bar Crenn’s $150 tasting menu in San Francisco
  • China Chilcano’s $70 tasting menu in Washington, DC

Though, if you really, really want to buy and cook it yourself, you can do that. For now, per Axios, it’ll just involve flying to Singapore.

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