BOULDER, Colo.—Meati Foods, a Boulder-based alternative meat company, inked a deal to roll out mushroom-root protein cuts at all Whole Foods Market locations nationally, building on recent expansion in a market expected to grow strongly in coming years.
From its factory in Thornton, the company will supply more than 500 Whole Foods stores in 46 states with the protein cuts made from a protein cultivated from mushroom root spore in stainless steel containers using water, nutrients and sugar. The protein is pressed to remove water, and the company applies seasoning and other flavors.
“Since taking our first bites of Meati in Boulder last year, we’ve been excited to bring their differentiated, quality mushroom-root products to our shelves,” said Kara Maloney, grocery category merchant for Whole Foods Market.
The deal with Whole Foods follows a similar agreement with Sprouts Farmers Market. After a trial in the summer of 2022 in Colorado locations and national direct-to-doorstep events, Meati In March said it had begun rolling out its product to 380 Sprouts stores in 23 states.
In the United States last year, plant-based meat alternative sales declined 1% in dollar terms and 8% when measuring the number of units, according to the Good Food Institute. Inflation and the already higher price of plant-based meat alternatives may have prompted shoppers to go for less expensive items, said the non-profit that promotes the alternative protein industry
But the general trend for these alternatives in United States retail locations is upward, with dollar sales tripling over the last decade, the institute says, citing Euromonitor data. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of traditional meat production, and health concerns are also a factor when considering alternative meat products.
“In the coming years, continued investments in R&D, product quality and affordability, and strategic marketing and category positioning to further engage omnivore consumers will be key to the growth of the category,” the institute said.
Globally, the meat alternatives market could hit $230 billion by 2033, up from $13.9 billion now, representing a 28.8 percent compound annual growth rate, according to Future Market Insights, a research firm. That growth rate in the United States could clock in at 21 percent over that time period.