The size of the global plant-based meat industry is predicted to grow from $3.6 billion in 2020 to $4.2 billion by 2021 according to a new report by market research firm MarketsandMarkets. The report points out that lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic will prove beneficial for the plant-based meat industry as a whole, which it predicts will register a compounded annual growth rate of 17 percent during the forecast period. “The fear of an increasing number of animal-borne illnesses such as COVID-19 among consumers, rising vegan population, and consumer awareness regarding nutritional benefits offered by plant-based sources of meat are the factors that are projected to drive the growth of the plant-based meat industry,” the report states. 

According to the report, the strongest paradigm shift in the forecast period will occur in North America, where key players such as Beyond Meat (which debuted at more than 4,200 Starbucks locations across China this week) and Impossible Foods (which raised $500 million in investment capital in March) continue to thrive. Both companies, along with other players in the space such as Gardein and The Meatless Farm, are predicted to gain market share as animal meat supplies run dry.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 is spreading amongst workers in the meat industry, who often work shoulder-to-shoulder to keep up with ever-increasing slaughter speeds. This week, Tyson Foods closed its largest pig slaughterhouse in Waterloo, IA after nearly 200 workers tested positive for COVID-19. Other meat industry giants have also shuttered facilities, including Smithfield, Cargill, National Beef, and JBS. “The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” Smithfield CEO Kenneth Sullivan said when the company shuttered its Sioux Falls, SD pork plant in mid-April.

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