Meat prices are surging. Good news: Fake meat is getting cheaper

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/17/business/meat-prices-beyond-patties/index.html

 (CNN Business)With meat prices on the rise, a plant-based protein purveyor is making a play for consumers’ pocketbooks.

Beyond Meat (BYND)next week plans to launch a value pack of its plant-based burger patties for sale in retailers’ frozen food sections. The Cookout Classic 10-pack, which Beyond Meat is positioning as a limited-edition product, was developed as a way to sell patties that otherwise would have been produced for restaurants, which have been devastated by the pandemic and stay-at-home measures.
The company wants to narrow the price gap between plant-based and animal meat, Chuck Muth, Beyond Meat’s chief growth officer, said via email to CNN Business. The 10-pack has a suggested retail price of $15.99, or $1.60 per quarter-pound patty. By comparison, Beyond Meat’s two-patty pack sells for $5.99, just shy of $3 per patty.
The product launch comes at a time when meat has been getting a lot more expensive. Prices for meat, fish, poultry and eggs rose 3.7% in May from April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Beef and veal prices were up 11%, the largest ever monthly increase.
“We know that to be successful we have to win on taste, win on nutrition, and ultimately win on price,” he wrote. “If we can do those three things, we see tremendous opportunity to transition consumers from animal-based to plant-based meat.”
The cheaper plant-based products are still expected to be sold at a premium to animal beef — even though the traditional meat is pricier than this time last year.
Beef patties averaged $5.26 per pound as of June 12, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Those prices are up 5.26% from the week before and 17.7% from the comparable year-ago period.
The value-pack launch is one of several efforts to garner new customers. Beyond Meat plans to launch a direct-to-consumer website this summer and also is offering some of its current lineup at a discount.
The value pack concept could offer an attractive entry point for new and more price-sensitive customers, wrote Jon Andersen, a William Blair analyst, in a June 10 note.
Additionally, the move serves as an operational solution for lost sales at restaurants and other foodservice locations negatively affected by shutdowns, Andersen noted.

Trump Launches ‘Biggest Attack On Meat Giants In Centuries’

The Department of Justice is opening a probe into beef prices which recently doubled in a month
The Trump Administration is launching a probe into U.S. meat giants (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

The Trump Administration is launching a probe into U.S. meat giants (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump is launching what reports have branded the ‘biggest attack in centuries‘ on the giants of the U.S. meat industry.

The Department of Justice is launching a probe into beef companies, following beef prices almost doubling earlier this year, after more than 20 slaughterhouses across the U.S. were forced to shutter due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Bloomberg reports that ‘regulators are also scrutinizing potential price manipulation, and on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are clamoring for a crackdown’, adding that ‘farmers have long complained about the dominance of just a handful of companies in beef and poultry markets, but antitrust enforcers haven’t before taken significant action against the companies’.

Antitrust laws

The probe follows reports that while consumers were paying these staggeringly high prices for meat, meat packing giants were extremely low prices to ranchers and farmers.

The probe will investigate whether these meatpacking companies are manipulating prices. If so, they could be violating antitrust laws – aka competition laws – statutes developed by the U.S. government. They were put in place to protect consumers by ensuring that fair competition exists in an open-market economy

‘Broken’

Ben Gotschall is interim executive director for the Organization for Competitive Markets, which advocates against consolidation in agriculture.

He told Bloomberg: “The market’s been broken for a long time, and the pandemic has just made it worse. Meatpackers are making record profits, and the ranchers are going out of business.

“Whatever Trump’s motivation might be, if he does the right thing you have to take it. I hope it’s more than just lip service.”

It’s Time to Rethink Our Food Choices

United Poultry Concerns <http://www.UPC-online.org>
June 7, 2020

JUNE 6, 2020

UPC President Karen Davis’s Letter to the Editor appears in the printed and
screen versions of Virginia’s *Eastern Shore Post* this week.

Dear Editor:

The coronavirus pandemic focuses our attention on the link between
cleanliness
and avoidance of disease. As much as possible, people are sanitizing their
hands, social distancing, and covering their faces to prevent the virus from
spreading. Yet most people consume products from chickens and other animals
who
have spent their life in polluted, overcrowded facilities.

Infectious microbes are drawn to population density, dirt, and weakened
immune
systems – the perfect conditions in which to spread in animals and humans
alike.

One of the worst things we do to animals in industrial farming is to prevent
them from practicing hygiene.

When chickens come to our sanctuary from a confinement facility, their
first act
in being placed on the ground is to take a dustbath. They instinctively
want to
clean their skin and feathers with particles of earth. This, for them, is
comparable to a waterbath for us.

Forcing animals to live in filth and breathe air rife with pathogens is an
experience they would not choose on their own.

Recognizing the importance of hygiene and staying healthy, we need to
remember
that the same link between health and hygiene applies to other species.
Animals
in nature would never survive if they carried the load of diseases and
immunological weaknesses that characterize modern farmed animals.

Let us think carefully about our food choices. A plant-based diet free of
animal
products is increasingly desirable and obtainable in today’s society. While
providing an opportunity for a more peaceful world, it is also an
intelligent
food safety choice.

A plant-based diet will not sacrifice jobs or hurt the economy. As long as
people exist, the same amount of food will be produced and consumed. Just
because we stop eating animal products doesn’t mean we stop eating.

Karen Davis, President
United Poultry Concerns, Machipongo

*Eastern Shore Post:*
It’s Time to Rethink Our Food Choices
<https://www.easternshorepost.com/2020/06/06/its-time-to-rethink-our-food-choices/

Making Veggie Burgers Doesn’t Help The Climate, Impossible CEO Say


s

Impossible Foods has no interest in making a veggie burger that tastes like meat, its founder and CEO said Friday.

Veggie burgers don’t serve the company’s goal, said Patrick Brown—to solve “the catastrophic impact of the use of animals as a food technology”—because veggie burgers cater to vegetarians, not carnivores.

“All the plant-based foods that have been produced in the past—if you look at what was in the heads of the people who produced them—their target consumer was someone who is looking for an alternative, i.e. people who want to have a more vegetarian diet or something like that,” Brown said in a Zoom webinar. “If that’s your consumer, you’re not going to have any effect on the climate issues because that’s a very small population.”

When Marketing Professor Sanjog Misra asked Brown about making a veggie burger that tastes like meat, Brown interrupted him:

“That was not at all what we were trying to do,” Brown said. “It was to make the most delicious meat on earth directly from plants. What we think of ourselves as doing is making meat—a better way of making meat.”

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The Stanford University emeritus biochemistry professor took an 18-month sabbatical in 2009 to solve the most important problem he could think of, which he determined was the impact of animal agriculture on greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, water consumption and land use.

“If you could vaporize that industry today, which I would do in a heartbeat,” he said, “and let the biomass on that land recover, it would outpace fossil-fuel emissions. It would literally begin to reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and you can do the math on that. We desperately need that.”

But Brown doesn’t expect carnivores to eat plant-based meat to mitigate climate change.

“It had been framed as we’ve got to get people to change their diets, or we have to compel that business to stop doing it and so forth, and that’s just like crazy. That is never going to work,” he said at the webinar hosted by the University of Chicago’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.

“People are very wedded to the foods that they prefer. The pleasure that they get from eating the foods that they love is a huge part of the pleasure of life. It’s unreasonable to think you can ask them to give that up. And that defined the problem very crisply for me, which is that it’s a technology problem.”

Animal agricultural is a $1.5 trillion prehistoric technology, Brown said, that’s vastly inefficient and hasn’t significantly improved in millennia. So it’s a “sitting duck” for disruption.

He assembled a team of 80 research scientists to solve the technology problem, to make a plant-based meat that’s more affordable, more nutritious and more delicious than animal meat.

Plants already offer the advantage of nutrition and affordability, he added, so the challenge—what he called “the most important scientific question”—has been deliciousness.

“We’re not going to solve this problem by mushing a bunch of peas and carrots together and forming it into a patty,” he said. “We have to deliver for a committed meat eater, who is not looking for an alternative, they’re just looking for the most delicious, healthy, affordable meat they can buy given their taste.”

Brown doubts anyone can convince consumers to compromise what they want. The producer has to give them what they want. So the Impossible goal has been “to make the most delicious meat on earth directly from plants.”

Worried about beef shortages and price spikes? Here’s what happens if you eat less meat

(CNN)Coronavirus came for Americans’ hamburgers in early May.

On May 5, the fast-food chain Wendy’s announced that some menu items were unavailable; an analyst estimated that nearly one in five Wendy’s franchises was out of beef.
That followed news that some meat processing plants across the US had temporarily closed due to coronavirus.
That’s because meatpacking and food-processing workers are getting sick and some are dying from Covid-19.
Some 20 meatpacking and food-processing workers have died from Covid-19, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
As a result of the pandemic, 22 meatpacking plants have closed in the last two months. With plants closed, and livestock accumulating, some farmers are desperate enough to put their animals on Craigslist.
Closures have reduced pork slaughter capacity by 25% and beef slaughter capacity by 10%, according to UFCW. Some supermarkets, including Costco and Kroger, are limiting the amount of meat consumers can buy.
Prices are going up, too. But despite the grim news, the potential for reduced meat consumption as the result of shortages could have a silver lining for Americans’ health.

The health benefits of eating less red meat

Americans eat a lot of meat. The average adult ate between three and four servings a week from 2015 to 2016, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
That’s not too far off the maximum of three servings a week recommended by the World Cancer Research Fund International/American Institute for Cancer Research in a 2018 report. But at least a third of American adults eat at least one serving of red meat each day, far exceeding the limit.
Reducing intake of beef and pork is good for you, said Lilian Cheung, director of health promotion and communication at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s department of nutrition.
“An optimally healthy diet should be low in red meat,” said Cheung, who has a doctorate in nutrition. “There’s plenty of data that [meat] increases the risk of colorectal cancer, other types of cancers, heart disease, diabetes and the higher risk of dying from these things.”
Some of these health conditions are especially serious during the pandemic.
“With Covid-19, the underlying conditions of heart disease and diabetes increase the risk,” Cheung said. “You become much more vulnerable and increase the risk of dying and complications.”
In a 2011 study Cheung cited, researchers found that for each additional daily serving of red meats that participants ate, risk of type 2 diabetes rose 12%.
The numbers are clear: Eating less meat is good for you.
But if you’re considering reducing your meat consumption, Cheung noted that it’s important to be careful about what you eat instead. Ensuring you get enough protein and vitamins and minerals is key. Here’s what you need to know and more.

Can you get enough protein without eating meat?

While many consumers wonder if they’d get adequate protein without eating meat, Cheung said that for most Americans, it shouldn’t be a concern.
(A lack of protein is a serious threat in some developing countries or during times of famine, Cheung noted, as severe protein malnutrition can cause a nutritional disorder called kwashiorkor. It is very rare in the United States.)
The National Academy of Medicine recommends eating a little over 7 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight. If you weigh 140 pounds, that translates to roughly 50 grams of protein a day.
Cheung said it’s easy to hit that target even without red meat.
Instead of red meats or processed meats, Cheung recommended eating fish, legumes, nuts and seeds, all of which are healthy and high in protein. Poultry, including turkey and chicken, is another good option.
“Poultry is fine,” Cheung said. “There is no negative effect seen with poultry.”
It’s important that Americans not replace fresh beef and pork with processed versions, Cheung said, as those foods can bring additional health risks.
Processed meats such as bacon, sausage and lunch meats are high in sodium; eating too much salt is correlated to heart disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis and cancer.
In addition, the World Health Organization considers processed meats to be carcinogenic, citing evidence showing that consuming processed meats causes colorectal cancer. There are also associations between processed meats and both pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.

Getting enough vitamins and minerals

While most Americans are getting plenty of protein, Cheung said there are other key vitamins and minerals found in red meat that consumers should replace when cutting back, especially vitamin B12 and iron.
“Iron can be a problem because other foods don’t contain as much iron as red meat,” she said, adding that the mineral is easily replaced with supplements. “Taking a multiple vitamin that contains iron is easy and not very expensive.” Bumping up your intake of iron-rich foods such as dark, leafy greens, oysters, lentils and soybeans is another good option.
For strict vegetarians or vegans, Cheung said it’s worth ensuring you get enough vitamin B12, too.
The vitamin, which supports brain and nerve-cell functioning, is found in beef, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, so simply cutting back on beef won’t be a problem. Fortified products such as nutritional yeast, breakfast cereal and enriched plant-based milks also contain B12.
If you’re not getting enough in your diet, Cheung recommended seeking out a vitamin B12 supplement.

Adjust your kitchen routines

Whether you’re cutting out beef for health reasons, or simply to lower your grocery bills during the pandemic, making the shift will mean creating some new habits in the kitchen.
When considering a diet change, it’s worth keeping it straightforward, said Brian Kateman, the editor of the “The Reducetarian Cookbook.” Kateman’s cookbook proposes easy ways to swap animal protein for plant-based foods.
“If you’re a person who likes making burritos, make a burrito,” he said. Instead of beef or pork, he suggested adding in extra vegetables or avocado. “It’s much smarter to simply eat the foods you’re used to eating and make a one-to-one swap.”
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When you’re hungry for a snack, Kateman recommended reaching for a handful of nuts. “Nuts have a lot of protein in them,” he said. But for maximum nutrition at a low cost, Kateman said it’s hard to beat legumes, which include lentils, beans and peanuts.
Both tofu and tempeh are made from soybeans, which is also a legume. If you’re not familiar with cooking these, Kateman suggested experimenting with edamame, green soybeans that are available in the freezer sections of many grocery stores and can be eaten boiled.
Some recipes from Kateman’s cookbook are available online; he recommended starting with a homemade veggie pot pie, or the high-fiber broccoli pesto noodle bowl.
Whatever you decide, Kateman, like Harvard’s Cheung, emphasized that reducing your meat consumption doesn’t require a huge lifestyle shift.
“We make food choices every day, usually three times a day,” he said. “A lot of people think meat consumption is all or nothing, but that’s just not true.”

Vegan activists protest Spring meat processing center amid COVID-19 pandemic

Around a dozen protesters were camped out at the intersection outside the Fisher Ham and Meat Co. headquarters in Spring on Friday, demanding the meat processing facility be shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Dani Alexander, one of the organizers of the event, called factory farms and slaughterhouses breeding grounds for new strains of dangerous bacteria and viruses, likening the spread of coronavirus from animals-to-humans to diseases such as bird flu and swine flu.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/neighborhood/spring/news/article/Vegan-activists-protest-Spring-meat-processing-15273855.php#photo-19419456

Doctors Protest Continued Operation of Smithfield Foods Slaughterhouses In Virginia

Doctors to Protest Continued Operation of Smithfield Foods Slaughterhouses In Virginia

SMITHFIELD, Va.—Doctors with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine called for the closure of meatpacking plants during a demonstration on May 14. The doctors will held signs reading “Support Workers, Close Meat Plants,” “Meat Worsens Diabetes & Blood Pressure,” and “Cholesterol Is Not Essential.” They maintained social distance while protesting outside of Smithfield Foods Headquarters, 200 Commerce Street, Smithfield, VA 23430, at the corner of Commerce Street and Luter Drive.

“Keeping Smithfield plants open harms the health of workers, the surrounding community, and consumers—all to line the pockets of the meat industry,” says Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, president and co-founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

More than 15,500 meat plant workers are infected with COVID-19, and at least 60 have died. With workers lined up in close proximity, viruses are easily spread within the slaughterhouse environment. Although studies show that infectious viruses easily survive during refrigeration and freezing, meat companies do not routinely test the extent to which meat products are contaminated with the virus.

Meat consumption raises the risk for many of the underlying medical conditions—diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—that can make COVID-19 infections more deadly. A recent study found that regular consumption of processed meat, red meat, or poultry increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. Research also links red meat, poultry, and fish to an increased risk for diabetes.

 

Media Contact

DONNA STEELE

202-527-7342

dsteele@pcrm.org

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

More on COVID-19

PETA Hits Major Papers With ‘America: It’s Time to Move Away From Meat’ Ad Blitz

As COVID-19 Spreads, Full-Page Ads Appeal to Consumers: ‘Eat as if Everyone’s Life Depends on It, Because It Does’

For Immediate Release:
May 14, 2020

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – Swine flu, bird flu, SARS, and now COVID-19 have all been linked to confining animals for consumption—but that point is often missed in conversations about preventing future pandemics. To put animals on the table, in the right way, PETA has hit The Washington Post, the Los Angeles TimesThe New York TimesThe Boston Globe, and other major dailies with full-page ads that urge people to think about the filth and cruelty inside factory farms and slaughterhouses—and consider being part of the solution by going vegan. Copies of the ads are available here.

“No one needs meat,” the ads underscore. “Eat as if everyone’s life depends on it, because it does.

“From swine flu to SARS to COVID-19, it’s as clear as the gloved hand in front of your masked face that eating animals is killing us,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA’s ads directly tell the public that it’s about more than social distancing and hand sanitizer—it’s about what, or who, we’re putting on our plates.”

The Hill, the Washington Examiner, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and The Seattle Times also ran PETA’s ads, and others are pending approval. The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune rejected a version that ran in the Los Angeles Times. Other papers that rejected PETA’s ads include the Toronto Star, the National Review, and the New York Post.

To help everyone go vegan, PETA is offering free vegan starter kits, its one-on-one Vegan Mentor Program, and a list of vegan-friendly restaurant chains, many of which are still offering takeout during the pandemic, among other resources.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

Plant-based meat is a trend investors should not ignore

Plant-based meat is a trend investors should not ignore

CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Wednesday that investors cannot ignore the rising popularity of plant-based meat products.

“This movement is happening. You’ve got to get on the bus or … get left behind,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.”

Cramer acknowledged there are not huge sales just yet for a company like Beyond Meat, which after-the-bell Tuesday reported quarterly revenue of $97.1 million, a 141% increase from a year ago.

“It starts like this. It doesn’t begin with a billion dollars. This is not blockbuster drug, but watch this trend,”  Cramer said. “I think it’s very exciting for investors.”

Shares of Beyond Meat were up about 17% on Wednesday morning to around $118 each.

Beyond Meat, at a $7.2 billion market value, has been at times one of Wall Street’s hottest stocks but also one of the most volatile since its May 2019 initial public offering. Priced at $25 per share, the stock saw a meteoric rise to nearly $240 by last July. But come December, it had lost about 70% of its value. In the early part of this year, the stock rebounded before falling off a cliff, bottoming at about $48 in mid-March. Since then, the stock has more than doubled.

On Tuesday evening, in addition to strong revenue, Beyond Meat posted quarterly net income of $1.8 million, up from a net loss of more than $6 million last year. It did warn of a hit to its restaurant business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the “Mad Money” host said he believes the plant-based meat industry may ultimately be beneficiaries of the Covid-19 crisis.

Meatpacking plants across the U.S. have seen significant virus outbreaks, forcing some to slow down production or temporarily close as workers became sick. The developments ignited concerns about the country’s food supply, although President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week requiring the plants to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think there are people who are getting appalled by what’s happened at the meat packers. … I think these stories make you become not necessarily vegetarian but to think twice about beef,” Cramer said. “If you think twice about beef and then you try to Beyond, you kind of realize it’s very, very similar.”

While plant-based meat options have typically been more expensive than traditional meat, Cramer said the rising costs of beef, in particular, due to the coronavirus represents an opportunity for alternative producers.

One of Beyond Meat’s chief rivals in the plant-based meat category, Impossible Foods, is not publicly traded. But it is widely available as well. Grocery store chain Kroger also has launched private-label beef options.

Cramer noted that food giant such as Nestle have entered the plant-based burger market. He said the plant-based meat industry is “a really important ethos, not a hobby.”

Meat shortage and China deals send Beyond Meat’s stock spiking

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/27/investing/beyond-meat-stock-food-supply-shortage-starbucks-china/index.html

New York (CNN Business)Warnings of potential meat shortages in the United States because of food processing closures have led to a boom for Beyond Meat’s stock. New deals to sell plant-based food in China are helping too.

Shares of Beyond Meat (BYND) soared more than 40% last week. That was the stock’s best weekly performance since the company’s initial public offering last May. It rose again in early trading Monday but reversed course by midday and was down 5% after an analyst at UBS downgraded Beyond Meat’s stock to a “sell” rating.
Coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants have led to closures of beef, pork and poultry facilities at major food processing companies Tyson (TSN). Chinese-owned Smithfield and Brazil’s JBS (JBSAY).
Tyson warned that “the food supply chain is breaking” in an ad published Sunday in The New York Times, Washington Post and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Tyson employee says HR told him, ‘Come to work, you’re safe’ 02:21
Investors are clearly betting consumers may buy more plant-based proteins like burgers and sausage made by the likes of Beyond Meat and its top rival Impossible Foods if they aren’t able to find real beef, chicken or pork at their local supermarket.
close dialog
But a coronavirus-induced meat supply shortage isn’t the only thing that is lifting Beyond Meat’s stock. Beyond Meat’s entry into China — which is now trying to move past its own coronavirus crisis — also has investors excited.
Starbucks (SBUX) announced last week that it was adding three Beyond Meat dishes to its menu in China: Beyond Beef pesto pasta, lasagna and a spicy-and-sour wrap.
Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said in a statement that this deal, the country’s entrance into the Chinese market, is an “important milestone” that will help Beyond Meat advance “our goal of increasing accessibility to plant-based protein globally.”
Still, it’s been a volatile first year for Beyond Meat as a publicly traded company.
The stock has soared during the past three weeks and has now more than quadrupled from its initial public offering price of $25.
But shares plunged earlier this year as concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic rattled investor confidence globally and raised fears about a severe recession and pullback in consumer spending.
The outbreak has also led to concerns about a severe drop in demand at big restaurants that have partnerships with Beyond Meat, including Dunkin’ (DNKN), Del Taco (TACO) and Denny’s (DENN).
Despite the recent rebound in the stock, shares remain more than 50% below the all-time high they hit last summer shortly after the IPO.
Competition in the plant-based protein market is intense.
In addition to Impossible, which sells the Impossible Whopper through a partnership with Restaurant Brands (QSR)-owned Burger King, traditional food giants such as Nestle (NSRGF), Kellogg (K) and ConAgra (CAG) have all launched their own plant-based protein products.