Plant-based meat alternatives had a high wall to surmount in getting more than a narrow band of consumers with a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle interested in its product. While also holding a certain appeal to resource conservationists and those concerned with animal welfare, upending the $1 trillion meat industry was always going to be a difficult challenge. Bloomberg recently cited data from market research firm IRI showing the volume of grocery store sales of plant-based meat was down 14% for the 52-week period ending Dec. 4, while restaurant sales were down 9% at the end of November.
In 2021, the bulls became pigs when they ignored the looming threat of inflation and rising interest rates. Two such stocks are the online lender Upstart (NASDAQ: UPST) and the plant-based meat producer Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND), which still had 31% and 35% of their outstanding shares, respectively, being shorted as of Jan. 12. Upstart's artificial-intelligence (AI) powered lending platform helps banks, credit unions, and auto dealerships approve loans with nontraditional data points like a person's education, grade-point average, standardized test scores, and work history.
Shares of Oatly may be down more than 88% since its IPO in 2021, but one analyst expects the plant-based beverage giant to see a turnaround in 2023.