Ethan Brown, the founder, and boss of global vegan meat giant Beyond Meat has indicated he is ‘generally in favor’ of a tax on meat consumption as it could have benefits for society.
When questioned in an interview, he said: “I think is an interesting one. I’m not an economist but overall intuitively that type of thing does appeal to me, not just for meat.”
Beyond Meat boss
A ‘pigouvian’ tax – similar to that of sugar and tobacco – would have benefits on wider society, Brown revealed.
Moreover, it is especially important for the younger generation who are typically more concerned about climate change than their older counterparts.
‘For a few dollars at the center of your plate, you can communicate what you’re about. You don’t have to go and buy that Tesla right away or some other electric vehicle. You can start by just doing something really simple, which is changing the protein at the center of your plate’, Brown told the BBC.
It comes as 93 percent of people buying the Beyond Burger are also shopping for animal products, the businessman added.
Ultimately, he says this signals consumer demand as more people may be ‘uncomfortable’ with factory farming or concerned about their health.
The success of an added meat charge would depend on ‘how significant’ it would be, Brown added.
Consumer demand is certainly on the rise, and the market is hiking too.
For example, the vegan meat industry grew twice as fast as meat over the pandemic. Furthermore, sales exceed a staggering $7 billion last year – and the value of plant-based meat alternatives hit $1.4 billion.
Additionally, analysis indicates vegan meat price parity is expected to come at some time between now and 2023.
To help this along, companies including Impossible Foods slashed prices to increase sales and acceptability.
Price is certainly vital for customers, and meat-eaters continue to overestimate the cost of plant-based products.
The UK government rejected calls for a tax on meat earlier this year. It came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was urged to fight against carbon emissions.
But signals in a positive direction – in the UK at least – came with the release of the National Food Strategy Report last month.
In it, calls were made for the government to reduce the nation’s meat intake by 30 percent.
This is partially due to an effort to tackle environmental issues. While previous reports of its kind have proposed sugar and salt taxes, the 2021 version made no mention of a potential meat tax in the future.
This article was updated on 3/08/21 to make a correction. Ethan Brown does not endorse a tax on meat but he said he is ‘generally in favor’ of taxing negative things that have adverse effects on society