“Meat has always been a product that requires an enormous amount of raw materials...Plant-based meat clearly wins out on efficiency, and we now see that reflected in the price"
Vegan meat prices have dipped below their animal counterparts in the Netherlands, according to new research.
Data commissioned by international food advocacy organisation ProVeg shows that while Dutch meat prices have increased sharply, plant-based meat alternatives for things like vegan burgers and vegan sausages have become cheaper.
The data, collated by supermarket researcher Questionmark on behalf of ProVeg, was collected in February and June this year.
Researchers found significant changes when it came to the prices of various animal meat products compared to their plant-based counterparts.
Vegan meat prices
Researchers found that the prices of three plant-based alternatives fell below their meaty versions between February and June this year when comparing the cheapest of both types of products.
In February, plant-based burgers were on average 56 cents per kilo more expensive than animal-based burgers, this fell to 78 cents per kilo cheaper by June.
Plant-based chicken pieces went from being €1.16 per kilo more expensive to 37 cents per kilo cheaper.
And plant-based mincemeat was on average 29 cents per kilo more expensive than its meat counterpart in February, falling to €1.36 per kilo cheaper now.
ProVeg notes that just because ‘plant-based meat alternatives have become cheaper than meat on average does not mean that this is also the case with every plant-based meat alternative and in every supermarket’.
Vegan chicken pieces in the Netherlands have become cheaper than their meaty counterparts
The cost of inflation
According to Pablo Moleman, of ProVeg Netherlands, while inflation had a significant impact on meat prices, which rose by 21 per cent between February and June, plant-based meat alternatives rose in price by only two per cent.
This can be put down to ‘higher raw material costs, combined with the inefficiency inherent in the production of meat’.
Mr Moleman said: “Meat has always been a product that requires an enormous amount of raw materials. To make one kilogram of meat, you need up to ten kilograms of grain. Now, in times of scarcity, that takes its toll.
“Due to the large use of raw materials, meat is much more sensitive to disruptions in the world market than meat alternatives. Plant-based meat clearly wins out on efficiency, and we now see that reflected in the price.”
Low profit margins on meat prices
He also cited the ‘wafer-thin margins on meat products’ as a possible factor, saying: “Supermarkets try to attract customers by offering meat as cheaply as possible. Margins of around eight per cent are common, and sometimes meat is even sold below cost.
“Meat alternatives, on the other hand, have margins of 35 per cent to 50 per cent. Those higher margins may have acted as a buffer to absorb the price blows, while with meat, supermarkets had no choice but to raise prices.
“That could explain why meat has been hit so hard by price increases and plant-based substitutes have not.”
Fancy tucking into something mock-meaty? Why not try our 21 vegan seitan recipes even meat-eaters will love?
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