Fake Meat: Fraud or Fortune?

Fake Meat: Fraud or Fortune?
Vegan and lab-grown “meats” are getting a ton of buzz these days.

One of the first brands to go public is Beyond Meat. Since it’s recent IPO in May, its price has shot up 400%. 

That’s great news for investors who got in at the beginning. 

And it’s possible that plant-based meat alternatives may become even more popular over time. 

Analysts at Barclays estimate the fake-meat market could grow by 1,000% over the next 10 years, reaching $140 billion.

While these “fake meat stocks” may seem like a good investment now, here’s why it’s risky in the long term: the stock prices follow the same pattern Warren Buffett attributes to a bubble:

1. Strong initial story. The premise behind fake meat makes sense. It’s a way for people to fight back against animal cruelty (factory farming) while improving their nutrition (or so they believe) by substituting meat with a plant-based alternative.

This is the story that’s driving up prices in the beginning.

2. Investors take notice. As the prices go up, investors put their money in. This causes the prices to go HIGH and the stock value becomes the new story. People want to invest because of the returns, not the product.

3. Pop goes the bubble. Eventually, people begin to realize how overvalued the product/stock is. By this time, new competition comes in and creates a better product with a stronger story — and sales of the original product tumble.

Now, let’s look at fake meat’s premise: nutritionally superior + better for the environment.

First, let’s talk about fake meat’s nutritional value. Or rather, how questionable it is.

Fake meat is not just processed, it’s ultra-processed. 

The ingredients in a Beyond Burger, for example, include pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, maltodextrin, and gum Arabic.

Just to name a few. Fake meat burgers also contain an extremely high amount of sodium (350-450g) compared to a regular burger (75g).

Then, there’s the environment factor. The big problem with meat right now is factory farming and how processed it is (think: what they sell at fast food restaurants). 

So that begs the question: Is ultra-processed food the solution? What may seem to be better at first glance may in fact be worse for the environment AND your health. 

There’s another option that’s both practical and reliable for the long term: 

Eating ethically sourced, grass-finished meat that provides you the nutrients you need, tastes amazing, and comes from farms that treat the environment and animals with respect.

Fake meat may continue to grow, though I wouldn’t go all in just yet. 

Stay Strong,
Tai Lopez
President, Schweitzer Alexander

 
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