Soaring pea prices due to supply shortages highlights that growing the alternative meat protein market is not going to be easy in the short term. Long term, ensuring consistent supply will require massively increased plantings and processing infrastructure. This scale of expansion will most likely take a decade or more to complete.
It further highlights the wide range of plantbased and other non-animal protein ingredients required to ensure consistency of supply. This could drive a move to non-plantbased ingredient sources like mycoprotein and algae, which are less susceptible to seasonality. It also reinforces the danger of having only one primary plantbased ingredient. If the crop suffers supply problems due to climate change or other issues then this can cause major price issues.
Long term shortages in pea ingredients could also delay some suppliers achieving price parity with conventional meat. Even within the plantbased industry some manufacturers may be able to take advantage of their lower price point from using or switching to other ingredients.
It’ll be fascinating to see how this plays out in 2022.