‘In today’s market, the price of food is decisive’: Plant-based’s quest to achieve price parity with meat

Research from the organisation ProVeg, carried out in partnership with Innova Market Insights, the University of Copenhagen, and Ghent University, looked at consumer attitudes towards plant-based meat across 10 European countries, assessing more than 7,500 adults. It found that, while 51% of respondents were eating less meat overall, there were still certain barriers towards consumer acceptance of the plant-based meat category: namely, taste and cost.

Research in 2022 suggested that the price gap between meat products and plant-based analogues is narrowing​, and even in occasional cases, and in some markets, is cheaper than meat​. However, cost remains a significant factor. In ProVeg’s research, 38% of the respondents who did not buy plant-based meat gave cost as a reason.

Achieving price parity with the meat industry may be a difficult task. But identifying the root of these difficulties is the first step to understanding how producers can improve the appeal of the category to consumers.

Why the high prices?

Of course, ProVeg’s recent research is not the first time that consumers have expressed concerns over the cost of plant-based meat.

In a previous survey by ProVeg, it was found that, “in terms of product attributes (convenience, texture, taste, appearance, naturalness, price, and nutritional value), price was the main area of dissatisfaction in almost all product categories,” Jasmijn de Boo, global CEO of ProVeg International, told FoodNavigator.

This, she suggested, is due to a combination of factors. “Margins on meat have been historically low, typically set at 8%, while plant-based foods are sold at margins of between 35% and 50%.