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The Downfall of Meat Alternatives and Sober Curiosity

At Room 214, we’re not afraid to admit when we’re wrong. Or at least when our trend predictions are wrong due to an unforeseen global pandemic. A few months ago, we posted articles that proclaimed the rise of meat alternatives and sober curiosity, as consumers turned away from their known vices in search of healthier alternatives. But financial, social, and general uncertainty has a funny way of returning us to our known vices. So, here we are:

The Downfall of Meat Alternatives and Sober Curiosity:

Over the course of the past five years or so, we’d seen an explosion in the market for meat alternatives and alcohol-free beverages. A period of economic growth gave many of us a feeling of security, leaving us feeling flush enough to spend a few extra bucks and explore our palettes. From Beyond Meat to Impossible Burgers, Mocktails to Tipsyless Tequila, Americans had been going for as many guilt-reduced offerings as we could get our hands on. For some, these ‘alternatives’ and more like necessities. Vegetarians, vegans, and others with dietary restrictions might still look to meat alternatives as a part of their diet rather than a fun way to mix up their usual Chipotle order. Those who have struggled with addiction, have heart issues or other underlying conditions may look to sobriety as a means to life rather than a way to avoid the hangover without skipping the night out. But for the average consumer, these goods were mostly deemed expendable as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses and left millions unemployed.

In times of uncertainty, it’s human nature to turn to the things that provide comfort and familiarity. So, rather than just a decrease in spending on things like meat alternatives and alcohol-free drinks, we’ve seen a sharp uptick in meat and alcohol consumption since mid-March. The numbers for alcohol showed a 55% increase in overall sales in the first week of nationwide stay-at-home orders alone. Additionally worth noting, many consumers seem to be going for a ‘quantity over quality’ approach, opting for cheaper bottles or boxes of wine and domestic beer. As for the meat industry, meat was high on the list of essentials for many Americans, along with TP and booze. This increased demand for cheap, predictable food, paired with the closing of slaughterhouses and processing plants around the U.S. has created disruption in the food supply chain and will potentially cause shortages.

So, while meat alternatives may be decreasing for the time being, Americans may be forced back towards them due to traditional meat shortages and this whole trend may come full circle. That’s the beauty of trends—they're often times fleeting and unpredictable, but when your brand can hit one juuust right, it can put you in front of all the right audiences. So, even though we may have missed these two due to unforeseen circumstances, we'll still be here to provide our insight and help give you a leg up on your competition.

 

Reed Fischer

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