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Barclays Analysts Predict x10 Growth Of Alternative Meat Market

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For any investors out their keeping their eyes open for ‘the next big thing’ to gain early exposure to, the alternative, or vegan, meat market looks like one to watch. Barclays analysts have poured cold water on suspicions voiced in some quarters that plant-based meat alternatives are a fad and predicted the market’s value will multiply tenfold over the next decade.

The global meat market is, according to the Barclays report titled ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat’, set to be worth $1.4 trillion by 2029. And the report forecasts that alternative meat products will by then account for 10% of it - $140 billion. Barclays’ bullishness on the market is more pronounced than that of other analysts. U.S. stock broker Bernstein recently put an expected value of $40.5 billion on the market by 2029.

Meat alternatives can be broken down into two main groups. The first is plant-based ‘vegan’ products that food engineers and scientists have put together in a way that means their taste, texture and smell gets remarkably close to that of actual meat.

Beyond Meat, which recently had an incredibly successful IPO, and Impossible Foods, are the two best known examples of well-funded and quickly growing start-ups manufacturing plant-based meat alternatives. They are focused on products such as burgers and sausages made from minced meat, rather than more challenging meat products such as steaks.

The second group are start-ups working on developing ‘real’ meat and fish in the lab by growing it in ‘sheets’ by artificially cultivating cell growth. The science is already largely here to do so and the main challenge facing these start-ups is developing it and the production processes to the point where it becomes commercially viable. That is predicted to happen within the next decade though it could be towards the end of it. Some of the higher profile start-ups in this group include Finless Foods, Just and Memphis Meats.

‘Clean meat’, as these lab grown meat alternatives are also referred to has attracted significant funding. Both from within the commodities and meat trading sector and other high profile investors such as Microsoft’s Bill Gates.

However, even if the alternative meat sector grows as quickly as Barclays’ analysts believe it will, the challenge for investors will be in backing the right horses. Beyond Meat’s share price has more than tripled to $80 since its May 2nd IPO, during which shares were sold at $25.

But it would be naïve to think every meat alternative start-up or IPO will be as successful. There will be plenty of hype, and quite possibly overvaluations, also. Investors will have to pick carefully but there is little doubt that over the next decade and beyond it will be a market that yields such huge wins for investors who hit the target with their choice.




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