3 big reasons why Beyond Meat won’t make big inroads with consumers over coronavirus even as supermarkets give it more shelf space – MarketWatch

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been kind to Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, two companies that produce plant-based substitutes for hamburger, poultry and now pork (Impossible Foods recently introduced its pork substitute product).

Supermarkets are expanding the shelf space given to meat substitutes as a response to coronavirus-related supply-chain disruptions at meat processing plants. Interruptions have resulted in meat price spikes, and a jump in Beyond Meat’s BYND, -7.31% stock price.

Nevertheless, investors should temper their enthusiasm. No one knows whether the surge in interest and demand for plant-based meat substitute products will be sustained beyond the COVID-19 crisis. But here’s why you should be skeptical.

Even if consumers switch to other protein sources to avoid paying higher prices for meat products, historically researchers have found these impacts to be relatively modest: For example, for the broad “meat” category, a 5% increase in the price of beef only reduces overall sales to consumers by about 2%. And retail prices for many cuts of beef and poultry are already beginning to decline from peak levels as packing plants reopen and meat production increases.

READ:Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat see spike in demand as coronavirus wreaks havoc on meat supply

In addition, consumers as a group are slow to change their preferences when buying food. This is partly because of an “age cohort effect” where children and teenagers may be happy to try an “impossible meat” burger, but their parents — especially their dads — would
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