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Vegan poultry poses no threat to broiler meat producers

The upcoming launch of vegan poultry by Beyond Meat will not impact demand for traditional broiler meat, reports Russian magazine Agroinvestor.

Citing market participants, the magazine reported the vegan poultry – a world first – would neither impact demand for traditional broiler meat consumption in Russia nor worldwide. Plant-based brand Beyond Meat will launch the vegan chicken later this year, Bloomberg recently reported. According to anonymous sources familiar with the company, Beyond Meat is informing customers the vegan chicken production will launch this summer.

Citing market participants, Agroinvestor reported that Beyond Meat's vegan poultry – a world first – would neither impact demand for traditional broiler meat consumption in Russia nor worldwide. Photo: Jan Willem Schouten
Citing market participants, Agroinvestor reported that Beyond Meat's vegan poultry – a world first – would neither impact demand for traditional broiler meat consumption in Russia nor worldwide. Photo: Jan Willem Schouten

Sergey Yushin, chairman of the Russian National Meat Association, expressed confidence that the outlook for traditional broiler meat products was far righter than for its plant-based substitutes. The share of people giving up on meat consumption is relatively small and has been for the past few years.

There are far more people looking to increase their meat consumption than there are who want to eat substitutes, said Yushin, adding that there could be some temporary growth in demand for vegan poultry.

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"I believe there will be a wave-like trend with periods when people start to consume more of the surrogate due to its novelty and fashion, then interest will fall as soon as consumers who have tried the alternative meat will return to the animal product," Yushin said.

The share of plant-based meat is not expected to grow in Russia over the course of the coming decade, said Rustam Khafizov, a leading analyst of the Russia’s biggest meat producer Cherkizovo. The biggest issue with plant-based poultry meat is its nutritional value, as alongside plant products, it contains various food additives, imitating natural taste, Khafizov stresses, adding that this could discourage consumers.

Sergey Lakhtyukhov, director-general of the Russian Union of Poultry Producers, said plant-based poultry meat is all about hype and will have only a tiny niche of the global poultry market.

Now, any kind of alternative products, including livestock, are attracting particular attention, but in the medium term, I do not believe in any significant success in this area. Livestock products will remain popular anyway," Lakhtyukhov said.

Besides, the plant-based poultry meat price is not competitive with broiler meat, which means that it would retain its status of an exotic alternative for most consumers, he added.

Russian plant-based nuggets in the pipeline

Several companies are eager to develop and begin selling plant-based meat in Russia. In early 2020, Berlin-based investor ProVeg International singled out Russian startup Greenwise for selling its plant-based strips and jerky in 2,000 stores across Russia.

Last year, Russian agricultural holding EFKO also released its first plant-based meat on the Russian market. The company focuses on producing plant-based meat for burgers and nuggets.