The rainy season of this year was unusually long. Springs and autumns are becoming shorter, and the average temperature of the Korean Peninsula is increasing. Environmental issues are garnering more attention along with the climate change.
There is a field that was expected to grow fast in the market along with the eco-friendly trend just as green packaging materials: Meat analogues. Meat analogues are getting the limelight due to the growth of American food-tech businesses such as Impossible Food and Beyond Meat, aiming to solve the issues and limitations of the existing livestock industry. Their goal is to reduce the water consumption of the livestock industry and greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the report of the United Nations in 2019, it takes some 2,000 liters of water to produce a meat burger. A burger made with vegetable protein can cut off 75 to 95 percent of water usage. This “fake meat” is anticipated to become increasingly popular in many countries as it drastically reduces the burden to the environment while having a similar taste and texture as real meat.
Vegetable yogurt made without milk is growing popular in Europe and the U.S. Some products have been introduced in Korea as well. Vegetable eggs are about to be introduced to the domestic market as well, which is expected to grow as fast as dairy products.
Meat analogues are in with a chance if they adopt a strategy to gradually expand the market just as vegetable milk products. That means they would have to partly depend on value-based consumption, which highlights the environment until they taste the same as real meat thanks to the advancement of processing technology.
In the long term, they would have to improve the taste through technological development and find proper recipes to become popular. Dumplings with minced meat popular among Koreans may be good to popularize vegetable meat. They may consider using vegetable meat for frozen dumplings as they are easy to cook at home and have a wide variety.
Reducing the guilt of environment-conscious consumers is becoming more and more important. Brands that target the MZ generation (Millennials + Gen Z) will have to incorporate environmental values into their products and services.