When it comes to hamburgers or steaks on your plate, appearance and taste can be misleading as "meat without meat" and "herbal meat" gain traction.
Sales of meat substitutes increased by 30% in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to Nielsen Product Insider.
According to Barclays, the alternative meat market could reach $ 140 billion globally over the next ten years, but it still represents only a small percentage of the global meat market, which raises currently $ 1.4 trillion and shows no signs of slowing down.
Nevertheless, the demand for alternatives has increased.
Fashion or the future of food?
Companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, publicly traded in May and whose stock has grown by more than 600% at one point, are producing herbal protein for the general public and the prospects look promising.
Fast-food chains, such as Carl & # 39; s Jr. and White Castle, have introduced veggie burgers to the menu and Burger King has begun deploying the impossible meat impossible whoppers at its 7,200 locations in the United States.
In London, the Pret a Manger sandwich and salad chain is testing vegetarian sites, while the WeWork collaborating company has announced that it will no longer reimburse its 6,000 employees for meat-containing meals.
There are also movements such as "The No-Meat Monday", which encourages people to adopt vegetarian diets at the beginning of each week, and "Veganuary", a move that saw a record 250,000 people go out of business. commit to vegan eating for the month of January.
Some critics argue, however, that there is no conclusive evidence that substitutes have better nutritional value than real meat.
"We can not really market it … as necessarily better for you, because we do not know it," said former US Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman recently. 39 "CNBC Fast Money" issue.
"Some people eat it, it will certainly not hurt you, it can be very tasty, but that does not mean it's better for you," he said.
Increase in meat consumption
Despite the tendency to consume "herbal meat", global meat consumption is still rising, driven in part by countries such as China and Brazil, which have seen massive increases in recent decades.
In China, for example, the average consumer has gone from nine pounds of meat a year in 1961 to 137 pounds a year in 2013., according to The Economist.
"As countries get rich, there is a tendency to eat more meat as a sign of wealth, like:" I can afford it, "said Lily Ng, CEO of Foodie, magazine Kong-based food and online platform.
Globally, average meat consumption has almost doubled in the last 50 years.
Although countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have reached a "meat peak", which means that total meat consumption has peaked and declined slightly recently. In addition, one in three people in the United Kingdom say they have stopped or reduced their meat consumption, according to a poll by the Waitrose supermarket.
Pat Brown, CEO and founder of Impossible Foods, a new company that offers herbal alternatives to look and taste like meat, expects more customers to re-evaluate their meat consumption. "It will be a turning point in five to ten years," he told CNBC.
He wants to see animals completely eliminated in the food system by 2035.
"Everyone will realize that animals in food technology will virtually disappear very soon," he said.