April 27, 2021

Despite High Expectations, Meat Replacements Gain Little Traction in Kosher Market

New York…The expectation was that products like Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger would be a natural hit in the kosher market. The plant based vegetarian products were close in taste to the real thing and yet were pareve, which meant it could be eaten with meat or dairy. But, according to leading kosher retailers, the expectations did not pan out. Malke Levine of the Evergreen Kosher Supermarkets said: ‘We have both Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger and sell a few cases a week of each. I didn’t expect this category to rewrite the meat business.” She agreed that “there are vegetarian and vegan consumers for whom this might scratch the itch.”  Howie Klagsbrun of Gourmet Glatt agreed but stressed that the vegans or vegetarians prefer the “regular vegetarian burger.” Avraham Banda, the noted founder and owner of the upscale Pomegranate Kosher Market said: “Beyond Meat is for Vegans, a burger from Beyond Meat is not healthier or less fat than a regular burger, so why should people buy it, it's not cheaper. In the general market, there are many vegans who buy the products. “

Mayer Gold of the Season’s Kosher Supermarket chain explains why the meat replacement products never gained traction. “Taste is a dominant factor in the customer’s choices for new products, even more than health. These products are also pricier, and meat is very much a part of our culture and customs. Those who want a vegetarian burger will buy the conventional veggie burgers.” Products like Beyond Meat are highly successful in the general market. They are in approximately 28,000 retail outlets across the United States. Beyond Meatballs are now available at approximately 1,500 Kroger stores, 750 Target stores and 163 Giant Food stores. Beyond Meat revealed its expanded distribution a few days after competitor Impossible Foods launched its first national advertising campaign, “We Are Meat.” Additionally, Impossible Foods said in February that after achieving cost savings, it was cutting retail prices by 20% throughout the United States. Beyond Meat reported its fourth-quarter 2020 net revenues at $101.9 million, an increase of 3.5% over last year.