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Novel Coronavirus, which has spread its tentacles to more than sixty countries, including India has claimed over 4,300 victims and sickening 118,00 in the past few months. The virus which has infected so many lives is believed to have originated in a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan. However, what’s deadlier is the pace at which people circulating wrong information and one such unsubstantiated rumor doing the round that Coronavirus spreads through non-vegetarian food like eggs, chicken, mutton, and seafood.
In short, people are assuming that nCoV can be spread through eating meat. People have switched to vegetarian food for fear of contracting the virus. Though there is no evidence that the choice of food will have any impact on the spread of the virus because food is not the source of transmission. Still, people have shifted away from animal products.
The World Health Organization suggests only to avoid consuming “raw or uncooked animal products besides washing hand regularly, covering mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing or failing that with the crook of your hand and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing or fever. So well-cooked meat in your home kitchen has never been a problem.
Coronavirus and Global Protein Industry
As the outbreak of Coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, consumers’ demand for plant-based meat substitutes will disrupt the global protein industry. More and more food companies are seeking animal-free protein sources. Though consumption of plant-based meat alternatives has been on the rise in recent years owing to the health benefits associated with plant-based diets and ethical concerns about animal welfare the sale of mung based vegan has spiked recently in the wake of the current Coronavirus threat. Chinese businesses are taking a greater interest in plant-based sources of protein. A San Francisco -based start-up making imitation eggs from mung beans fielding a lot of queries from China. In the wake of an alarming rise in the Coronavirus infection and looming threat of imminent death will drive people towards plant-based proteins for safe, reliable and healthy food.
Vegetarian Products and Retail Sector
Consumers are increasingly focusing on sustainable and healthy lifestyles. According to Kantar Worldpanel, 66 million British consumers ate 150 million vegan meals in 2018. As per Animal Rights Sweden, 1.4 million people or one-tenth of the total population is now vegetarian or vegan in Sweden. An increasing number of consumers are switching to vegetarian products due to general health concerns or changing taste preferences. Major brands and food producers are cashing in on the growing number of plant-eaters thus making veganism an attractive long-term proposition for the most committed meat-eaters. Big investors such as Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, Bill Gates, Biz Stone, Twitter founder, have already invested in vegan start-ups.
Vegetarian food products are currently receiving primetime marketing due to its health benefits and the simultaneous outbreak of Coronavirus has also aggravated the situation. Internet searches have doubled for veganism and existing brands are launching new products almost daily in the sector. However, with the ongoing threat of Coronavirus spreads, vegetarian food products are also going off the shelves along with some items such as sanitizers. Though retailers and fast-moving consumer goods companies are assuring that there is no shortage of supplies to shops but there has been a sharp surge in sales of staples and vegetarian products, in the past few weeks due to panic buying. Nevertheless, the demand of consumers for more vegan options and animal-free proteins will continue to rise, thereby drive branded companies to delve deeper to mitigate vegan trends to capitalize on.
Mr. Shrikant Athavale
Infinium Global Research
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