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THE NEW NORMAL

David Lee on what will replace the fragile meat industry post-Covid

Courtesy David Lee
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

It took a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders for 1.5 billion people worldwide, but something is finally occurring to us: The future we thought we expected may not be the one we get.

We know that things will change; how they’ll change is a mystery. To envision a future altered by coronavirus, Quartz asked dozens of experts for their best predictions on how the world will be different in five years.

Below is an answer from David Lee, the chief financial officer of Impossible Foods. He was previously the CFO of Zynga, the head of corporate finance and strategy at Best Buy, and the SVP of consumer products at Del Monte Foods.

We had already seen consumers adopting plant-based meats at a high growth rate, but this pandemic has given the world a new awareness of where meat comes from, including the enormous challenges associated with breeding animals for food and the catastrophic health consequences of eating animals. Unfortunately for the meat industry, which we are working hard to displace, it is becoming increasingly fragile as the inefficiencies in its system are exacerbated by this crisis. The age-old technology of using animals for meat will continue to be replaced by more capable, efficient, and safer technologies like plant-based meat.
From my days as Best Buy’s head of corporate finance during one of its most transformative periods, we saw that technology could transform the world of retail. That transformation is accelerating to new categories and becoming more seamless across different modes of shopping. For example, food delivery trends seen in dense cities in Asia from technology companies like Ele.me and Meituan now seem to be more relevant worldwide, as are direct-to-consumer food shipments. We will see the retail and restaurant sectors continue to innovate and develop new and better models for foodservice and grocery distribution in the future. And omni-channel retail through mobile, pickup, and delivery will also continue to grow beyond the food industry. Examples include the growth of PillPack in pharmacy and Stitch Fix in apparel.

To read more New Normal answers, click here.

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