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Meet the Meatless: Demand for New Generation Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

AAEA members release new research in AEPP

According to an article from 2021 in CNBC, the plant-based meat in grocery stores have increated 27% over the course of the year with over $7 billion in sales. With the pandemic limited meat on the shelves, how has this effected the sales?

In the new article “Meet the Meatless: Demand for New Generation Plant-Based Meat Alternatives” published in the Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, Shuoli Zhao and Yuqing Zheng from the University of Kentucky, alont with Lingxiao Wang from the University of Wisconsin, and Wuyang Hu from The Ohio State University find the market demand for the new generation plant-based meat alternatives in relation to meats in the United States.

Zhao says, “Contrary to the common belief that PBMA is viewed by consumers mostly as substitutes for red meats, we find that PBMA is a complement to beef and pork, and is a substitute to chicken, turkey, and fish. The expenditure elasticity of price is less elastic for PBMA relative to that for meat, but consumers are willing to purchase more PBMA if they are under promotion. Also, the demand for PBMA responds most significantly to its own price change compared to that of other meat options, especially after the outbreak of COVID-19.”

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ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

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