Coronavirus lockdown spurs 264% boom in plant-based meat

Leslie Patton

While there’s been talk of Americans resorting to indulgent foods as they shelter in place, they’ve instead flocked to plant-based meat and cheap pantry staples.

Since the coronavirus pandemic ignited a nationwide lockdown in March, U.S. consumers have doubled purchases of all sorts of beans and canned meat, according to Nielsen data. The biggest surge of any category came in plant-based meat, which includes offerings from companies like Beyond Meat Inc. and Impossible Foods Inc., with sales jumping 264%. And these gains came when overall spending plummeted.

A meatless burger parry called Beyond Burger is on display at a grocery store in Richmond, Va. in this June 27, 2019, file photo. Offerings from companies like Beyond Meat Inc. and Impossible Foods Inc. have seen sales jumping 264% during the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, donuts, cupcakes and dessert platters showed the biggest declines during the nine weeks ended May 2.

The boom in faux meat has been aided by shortages of beef and pork. Fast-food chain Wendy’s Co. has been running out of hamburgers at some locations, while Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. are limiting customer purchases of some items. To take advantage of this, Impossible is expanding into 1,700 Kroger locations and Beyond plans to offer discounts this summer.