Monday 27 March 2023

Meat replacements are healthier for the family budget: research

Photo: Beyond Meat

Inflation and higher raw materials prices have made meat replacement products a cheaper option than meat, a price comparison conducted by analyst Questionmark on behalf of vegetarian food promotor ProVeg has shown.

In February the average price for plant-based burgers at the six main supermarket chains was 56 cents higher per kilo than the meat variety but is now 78 cents lower, the research found.

Plant based ‘chicken’ nuggets are now 37 cents cheaper per kilo while mince is €1.36 cheaper.

Not all supermarkets show the same average price differences, the researchers found, although all show the same general trend. Aldi and Lidl showed the biggest gain for people switching to meat replacements. Burgers are €6 cheaper per kilo at the chains, up €4 compared to February.

‘We see that price rises are prompting consumers to opt for discount supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi. They can shop there even more cheaply if they buy a meat replacement product instead of meat more often,’ VegPro spokesman Pablo Moleman said.

Production costs

The reason the differences are becoming more marked is because meat has become much more expensive to produce. The knock on effect on prices has meant that meat has become 21% more expensive and plant-based products only 2%, VegPro said.

Apart from inflation and more expensive raw products meat prices are also high because of its inefficient production process, Moleman said. ‘Meat has always been very high on raw material use. You need ten kilos of grain to make one kilo of meat. Now that raw materials are getting scarce prices are fluctuating in a more volatile market.’

Moleman also said differences in profit margins – which are small for meat and big for meat replacements – may play a role. ‘Higher margins of up to 35% have served as a buffer in the case of meat replacements but with meat, which only has a margin of perhaps 8%,  supermarkets have no choice but to increase the price,’ Moleman said.

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