Plant attacks

Pork plants are not new. Processing plants that is. Plant based pork products are new and evidently are headed to the market place. Impossible Foods plans to add pork and sausage products and perhaps eventually plant based bacon as well. The pork industry, as the dairy and beef industries before them, is now trying to defend and protect its name pointing out that it is impossible to make pork from plants. The battle is on. It’s one thing for new products to come into the market. That’s competition and happens all the time. However the stated goal of one of these plant based producers is to not just compete but to eliminate animal agriculture. The founder and CEO of Impossible Foods says “our mission is to completely replace animals in the global food system” and predicts by 2035 “animals as a food production technology are gonna be history”. Unlike some animal rights groups that have a similar agenda but try to publicly hide it, this industry is making its intent well known. It remains to be seen whether these products can stand up to increased scrutiny and whether they can compete on a price level but there’s no denying they have an appeal to a segment of consumers with environmental and production method concerns with traditional meat products. It will be interesting to see how animal agriculture responds. So far the primary response has been to protect the names of their products and try to avoid consumer confusion. The next step needs to be a more comprehensive campaign to educate consumers on the nutritional and environmental attributes of animal agriculture. Perhaps we need livestock groups to come together with a REAL meat campaign! Interestingly the soybean industry finds itself caught in the middle. Soybean growers searching for new markets may do so at the risk of losing what has been their biggest customer. Hopefully there is room for both. Time will tell if plant based products will follow a similar path to organic products. Organic production has a niche market with a passionate but still somewhat limited segment of consumers. Based on the statements of the leadership of Impossible Foods, their goal is much bigger and should not be taken lightly.