Hope for Formula Shortage, McDonald’s Leaves Russia and Chicken Prices Soar

Jn the first few weeks of the pandemic, fake meat sales increased approximately 200% at retail, and that hype helped the sector secure more than $2 billion in funding. Much of that came from venture capitalists, who continued to pump money into alternative protein startups in 2021 as funding neared a record $4 billion, according to PitchBook.

But last year, actual fake meat sales stagnated. And, after Beyond Meat’s latest earnings flop, some analysts are concerned about the long-term potential for commercial adoption of these tech foods.

“This market is going to take time to develop on its own,” John Baumgartner, managing director and senior consumer equity research analyst at Mizuho Americas, told me. “You can’t force-feed people.”

The food industry will have to make the necessary changes to the way production takes place at scale as climate change intensifies, and there’s still not enough time to waste on bad adaptations. But a discrepancy is emerging. Is too much funding supporting too many similar ideas with not enough potential? Plant-based tech foods only scratch the surface of the kinds of solutions that are being experimented with on farms and beyond to feed an intensifying planet.

— Chloé Sorvino, editor

It’s Forbes’ Fresh Take newsletter, bringing you the latest news every Friday on the big ideas that are changing the future of food. Want to get it in your inbox every week? register here.


What’s new

The chicken billionaire laments higher prices at every link in the supply chain, from farm to table. Joseph Grendys, CEO of Koch Foods, says he’s seeing rising costs in “every part of our business.” By your servant.

Biden is invoking the Defense Production Act to require the manufacturing of baby formula ingredients. President Joe Biden is turning to the Defense Production Act to ease the national formula shortage, reports Zachary Snowdon Smith.

Abbott strikes a deal with the FDA to reopen a baby formula factory at the center of the national shortage. It could take more than 10 weeks for infant formula from Abbott Laboratories to reappear on store shelves, reports Zachary Snowdon Smith.

McDonald’s says it is leaving Russia after more than 30 years. The situation following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine means that “maintaining company ownership in Russia is no longer tenable, nor consistent with McDonald’s values”, according to the company, as reported Robert Hart.


Chloe Sorvino leads food and agriculture coverage as a staff writer on Forbes’ corporate team. Her nearly eight years of reporting at Forbes have taken her to In-N-Out Burger’s secretive test kitchen, to drought-ravaged farms in California’s Central Valley, to burned-out national forests logged by a timber billionaire, to a century-old slaughterhouse in Omaha, and even a chocolate croissant factory designed like a medieval castle in northern France. His book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, will be published in December 2022 by Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books.

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