Plant-based Meat Market to Reach $2.5 Billion by 2023, But Whole Foods’ Mackey Says Today’s Most Popular Brands Are “Super, Highly Processed Foods”

Photo: Pexels

Photo: Pexels

Originally Appeared in Presence Marketing News, September 2019
By Steven Hoffman

The plant-based meat market is expected to reach $2.5 billion in sales by 2023, and while Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey does believe that plant-based products are a more ethical choice and are better for the environment than conventionally produced meat, he questions the highly processed nature of some of these products. “The [brands] who are capturing the imagination of people – and I’m not going to name these brands because I’m afraid I will be associated with the critique of it – but some of these that are extremely popular now that are taking the world by storm, if you look at the ingredients, they are super, highly processed foods,” Mackey told CNBC Make It. “I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy. I think people thrive on eating whole foods,” said Mackey, who has been a vegan for more than 20 years. “As for health, I will not endorse that, and that is about as big of criticism that I will do in public. So the reason why these plant-based meats have taken the world by storm is that they taste very similar to regular meats, whereas if you get a [healthy] black bean burger with flax seeds and sweet potatoes in it, that’s going to taste great to me,” he said. Mackey added: “A lot of people say ... that [plant-based] meat is a transition food, meaning it’s a way for [people] to begin to reeducate [their] palates”; it’s a good first step in weaning people off of meat products,” he said.