Post by Eliza Barclay, The Salt at NPR Food (8/15/2013)
From Bill Gates to Google's Sergei Brin, influential investors are putting their money where their mouth is. The pet cause of the tech world, it seems, is the need to find good-tasting substitutes to conventional animal products, like chicken-less eggs or in vitro beef, to avert environmental crisis from rising consumption.
According to new research, consumers — and not just vegetarians — are also warming up to products like tempeh, tofu and seitan that can stand in for meat.
In a survey released this week by the market research firm Mintel, 36 percent of U.S. consumers said they buy meat substitutes — even though only 7 percent identified themselves as vegetarian.
According to Mintel, sales of meat alternatives reached $553 million in 2012, up 8 percent from 2010.