This warning came from Sarah Hyland, founder and director of Shyland, a research company specialising in identifying early consumer trends, when she made a presentation at the LambEx conference in Perth earlier this year.
Ms Hyland said the impact of the extraordinary growth of home delivered meals and fake meats on the fresh meat industry was substantial and sheepmeat producers needed to ‘get in on the act’.
“We know millennials are light on for cooking skills and UberEATS is their new form of shopping,” Ms Hyland said.
“Woolworths already stock and advertise ‘alternative’ beef and chicken products and Coles supermarkets advertise a range of vegan meat substitute products.
“The meat industry should be protecting its lamb, beef and chicken ‘labels’ from adoption by plant-based alternative products.”
A recent study in Europe showed people aged 25-34 were now more likely than average to incorporate more meat replacements in their diet compared with a year ago.
But a survey of 1500 people conducted earlier this year by Pollinate for MLA showed consumers at this stage were still wary of lab meat.
And none of the survey group thought lab meat would taste as good as animal meat.
“This is really important,” Ms Hyland said.
“The undeniable truth about consumers and food is that taste is king. Real meat retains some important marketing advantages.
“Particularly in relation to its unique eating qualities and millennials’ desire for more natural, fresh and unprocessed healthy foods, which producers should be promoting to their advantage.”