Why is Whole Foods CEO dissing plant-based meat alternatives?
Whole Foods has been among the retail industry leaders when it comes to introducing plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products. So why isn’t John Mackey, the chain’s co-founder and CEO, singing the praises of meatless meat in press interviews?
CNBC reports that Mr. Mackey is on board with the business opportunity that meat alternatives present for his business and others. Whole Foods was the first grocer to sell Beyond Meat’s products in its stores beginning in 2013.
He also sees an environmental benefit to manufacturing products made from plants rather than raising and slaughtering cattle and poultry. What Mr. Mackey, a long-time vegan, doesn’t see is the nutrition value of these products.
“The [brands] who are capturing the imagination of people — and I’m not going to name these brands because I’m afraid I will be associated with the critique of it,” he told CNBC, “but some of these that are extremely popular now that are taking the world by storm, if you look at the ingredients, they are super, highly processed foods.”
Beyond Meat is just one of a growing number of companies getting into the manufacture of meat, cheese and egg alternatives made from plants. Everyday seems to bring new announcements of grocery and restaurant chains adding plant-based alternatives to their refrigerated cases and menus.
Reuters listed Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Nestle SA, Tyson Foods, Maple Leaf Foods, Perdue Foods, The Meatless Farm Co. and Jensen Meat Co. as some of the businesses vying for share of the growing meat alternative market.
CNBC, citing Euromonitor, reports that sales of plant-based meat alternatives are expected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2023.
- Whole Foods CEO on plant-based meat boom: Good for the environment but not for your health – CNBC
- Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Says Meatless Meat Isn’t Very Healthy – Observer
- Plant-based meat alternatives crowd U.S. grocery stores – Reuters
- Where’s the (alt) beef? – RetailWire
- Tim Hortons cooks up a test for plant-based eggs – RetailWire
- Will meatless meat, CBD and cold brew coffee help food retailers differentiate? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does CEO John Mackey’s assessment of the nutritional value of plant-based meat alternatives undermine Whole Foods strategy to sell these products in its stores?