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Joseph Shobe

Joseph Shobe

Joseph Shobe is a freelance writer, researcher, analyst and retail investor currently finishing a Bachelors degree at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business.

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Fishless Fish: The Next Stop On The Fast-Moving Vegan Train

Fishless Fish: The Next Stop On The Fast-Moving Vegan Train

Fishless’ fish is a new concept that will undoubtedly turn the food industry on its head, if “impossible” meat hasn’t already done that.

Meat and dairy alternatives have been a major focus for companies in recent years, but “fishless” fish is an emerging vegan option that goes where no other plant-based has gone: It’s primarily allergen-free, 100% vegan and has much of the same nutritional value of regular fish. It uses soy-based proteins, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, which in turn are linked to improved cholesterol and heart health.

Along with the fact that it’s a healthy alternative that even people with fish allergies can enjoy, it will also help with our current global issue of overfishing.

Plant-based food markets have been one of the fastest growing segments in the food production industry in recent years. Likewise, plant-based products have been a major driver in sales growth for retail grocery stores. Overall, plant-based products in U.S. grocery stores have grown 27% in the last year and 43% in the last two years, making the market worth $7 billion as of 2021. It is projected that the Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of the industry will be 11.9% per year, putting the value by 2027 at about $74 Billion.

Surprisingly enough, it’s not primarily vegan and vegetarian consumers that are actively driving this market expansion. In the year 2020, 57% of households in the U.S. purchased plant based products. Branching from that, 39% of people who bought plant based products purchased them regularly. All of this despite the fact that the vegan population in the U.S. is only 3%, albeit still growing by the day.

The leader of this plant-based wave is plant-based milk, which represents $2.5 billion out of the $7 billion as of this year. Some 75% of consumers do still buy dairy milk, but two-thirds have at least tried plant-based milk, while 12% drink non-dairy milk exclusively. To add to that, roughly 16% of people keep both dairy and plant-based milk options in their home.

The second largest portion of the plant-based industry belongs to plant-based meat, which accounts for $1.4 billion of the industry’s total sales last year.

There has been an eruption of plant-based meats in retail grocery stores as well as the restaurant industry. Plant-based meats as a whole saw a 45% increase in sales in the past year. Things like the Impossible Burger, Beyond Burger and Chick’n Wings have really taken the world by storm.

The smallest category within the plant-based market are plant-based eggs, being that it is one of the newest concepts just barely out of development. Regardless of its lowest spot however, it is the fastest growing category with over 168% growth over the past year.

One of the biggest draws to plant-based foods is the reduced environmental impact in comparison to the meat and dairy industry. As an example, the Impossible Burger requires 96% less land and produces 89% less greenhouse emissions in comparison to the same amount of ground beef. Gradually moving toward less factory farming will likely do wonders for the environment, considering the fact that over a third of all inhabitable land on earth is used to feed and house livestock.

The number of people opting to be vegan or vegetarian is steadily increasing, but so is the number of people who choose to consume meat and dairy products as well as plant-based products. With the rapid growth of plant-based food options, it will be interesting to see how the stocks behind these companies manage to harness the intensifying climate change sentiment and, in turn, more of that ESG money floating around out there.

By Joseph Shobe

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