study | The more expensive meat imitations

Fake chicken nuggets, veggie sausages or plant-based protein balls cost, on average, 38% more than meat, although the price of the latter has risen significantly since the beginning of the year, concludes a report by Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytical Sciences Laboratory. in partnership with BetterCart Analytics.

Posted at 7:00 am

Nathaelle Morissette

Nathaelle Morissette
The press

While the price of a 100-gram serving of chicken nuggets is around $1.34, it costs $2.74 for its plant-based protein equivalent. This is the largest gap between the two categories, the report said. The famous preformed hamburger patties sell for $2.84/100g for the vegetable version, compared to $1.66/100g for the meat version.

“The study excluded certain animal-based protein products, such as dairy, and other plant-based protein substitutes, such as tofu, and unprocessed plant-based proteins, such as chickpeas and lentils, because the comparisons were not possible,” the report said.

We have therefore focused on meat, its equivalents and their price in stores. “I didn’t expect that at all,” admits Sylvain Charlebois, head of the laboratory that conducted the study, at the time The press asked him about the results obtained.

His surprise stems from the fact that meat prices have increased significantly since the beginning of the year. However, the price difference between the meat option and the plant-based equivalent is still quite large, he notes.

“There’s been a lot of hype about plant-based proteins for a number of years,” he points out, recalling the arrival of the Beyond Meat Burger at A&W in 2018.

We expected, in a mature market or almost, to have better prices. You can really see that they don’t present themselves as a more affordable source of protein for a consumer looking for bargains.

Sylvain Charlebois, Director of the Agrifood Analytical Sciences Laboratory at Dalhousie University

In the three months studied from January to March, only turkey ($3.63/100g) sold for more than its plant-based “imitation” ($3.20/100g). “Turkey is not a really attractive product for this time of year,” stresses Mr. Charlebois to explain this exception compared to other categories.

Comparing by province, the report shows that for Quebec consumers, the average price for 100 grams of meat is $1.81, compared to $2.47 for the same amount of plant-based protein ($0.66 difference). Ontario ($0.84) and Saskatchewan ($0.69) are the two places in Canada where the gap between the two product categories is widest.

Given these results, Sylvain Charlebois believes that we “have to ask ourselves serious questions to find out what we are doing with this category”. For now, he calls plant-based, meat-like proteins “luxury goods.”

“Are we positioning the category as competitive or not? What role do these equivalent products play? Are we trying to attract flexitarians who want to consume a plant-based protein every once in a while, or are we trying to get customers to consume it more often? At the moment I don’t see how we can do that with such a significant price difference. »

Leave a Comment