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Meat Replacements –
the Revolution within the meat industry

The rapidly growing popularity of meat substitutes is widely seen as one of the most striking and far-reaching developments within the foods industry. Driven by increasing consumer demand, product introductions and innovations are accelerating the growth of the international market for meat substitutes.

As a result, the market entry of multinationals constitutes a catalyst for further product development and innovations, resulting in international growth. Nestle sells vegan meat products under their Gourmet Garden brand and launched plant-based burgers in the US and Switzerland in 2019 under their Sweet Earth brand. Sweet Earth was acquired in 2017 by Nestle. Unilever acquired in 2018 The Vegetarian Butcher, a Dutch maker of plant-based meat. Kellogg daughter company Morningstar Farms plays a major role in the veggie-burger market and has planned to introduce the Incogmeato burger, designed to mimic meat’s look and flavor; because of Covid-19, Kellogg’s decided to delay the market launch. Tyson Foods (USA) sold its stake in plant-based meat pioneer Beyond Meat (USA, founded in 2009) prior to the latter’s IPO in 2019, so that it could make its own meatless burgers. Privately held Impossible Foods (founded in 2011 in California) raided USD 500m in its latest series F funding round.

The growth in meat-substitutes leads to new dynamism in the meat industry with the potential to have a disruptive effect on the current meat value chain. The rise of meat replacement will impact existing market players along the whole value chain. It forces the meat industry to recalibrate strategic choices to defend future market positions against the entry of meat substitutes.

The dynamic currently results in many M&A transactions and, as we are only at the beginning of this revolution, we predict even stronger M&A activity in the years ahead, predominantly from Corporate and Private Venture sources. This industry report articulates the drive behind the recent developments in terms of highlighted meat in industry challenges, market trends, developments, and critical success factors for companies in the meat value chain. More relevant to our organization’s daily business, the report provides an overview of current and expected international M&A activities and presents key value drivers from an M&A perspective.

As a knowledge partner, we regularly inform clients, entrepreneurs, business professionals and owners about the most important developments in their sector. In this report we share our M&A insight ins relation to (market) developments in the field of meat substitutes. Insights that are indispensable in determining and setting the right strategic course.

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