Should diners fear the bird flu and inflation?

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When plant-based hamburgers appeared in supermarkets and fast-food chains about five years ago, consumers flipped.

Despite new goods, greater distribution, & new overseas markets, buyers stayed away from plant-based meat alternatives due to expensive prices & America's demand for real beef.

Now, plant-based product makers may regain their lustre. Beef and other meat prices are rising faster than plant-based alternatives. Price increases linked to an avian flu outbreak in 34 states may also entice consumers to test the new meat and poultry substitutes.

Those aren't enough, so here are several more: Growing plants is less harmful to the environment than rearing farm animals. Plant-based foods are healthier since they lack cholesterol.

“We all benefit if more people consume plant-based meat,” said Peter McGuinness, CEO of Impossible Foods, a leading producer of plant-based meats.

It's possible. In April, fresh meat and chicken prices were up over 9% year-on-year. 210 Analytics showed a 1.6% decline in meat alternatives.

But the alternatives cost $8.15 per pound, almost twice the average price of ground beef.

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