Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Meatless Revolution: Panel with Industry Experts

AAEA Webinar (Co-sponsored by FAMPS and AEM)

Background: The controversy surrounding plant-based vs. lab-grown vs. the traditional meat sector has many wondering how the food system will evolve in this new choice landscape. This symposium brings together both sides of the conversation – the alternative and the traditional meat sectors – to discuss the meatless craze that has swept the nation and the broader implications for the food system.

Format: This will be a guided Q&A session with questions that have been curated directly from our members.

·         How is the traditional meat industry responding to the increasing demand for plant-based alternatives? Can you characterize the threat of plant-based/meat alternatives to the traditional sector?

·         How are plant-based meat companies currently marketing their products to a diverse set of consumers that range from "meat lovers" to plant-product "experimenters" to those who are already "veggie lovers," vegetarian, or vegan? For the traditional meat sector, has this been effective from your perspective?

·         As the popularity of plant-based meat grows, what labeling issues might emerge in this sector? Meat alternatives have been around for a long time, but as demand increases for plant-based alternatives, how might things change?

·         Given the advancements in feed technology solutions (e.g., feeding seaweed to cows to reduce methane emissions), what is the traditional meat sector doing to meet the environmental concerns of production?

·         What are the lasting impacts of COVID-19 on the meat industry? In what ways do the impacts of COVID-19 differ for the traditional meat sector and meat alternative sector? In what ways do they differ between foodservice and food retail?

We will conclude the Webinar with an audience Q&A.

When: April 28, 2021 12:00 PM Arizona

Where: Zoom (Webinar link and registration email to follow!)

For more details, please visit

Register in advance for this webinar:

*If you had already registered for the originally scheduled event, your registration will carry over*

Meeting ID: 831 2635 5760

Passcode: 333067


Passcode: 333067

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


The meat sector is a well-established market, with a typical American consuming over 200 pounds of meat (either beef, chicken, and/or pork) per year. However, the growing demand for alternative proteins (e.g., plant-based, lab-grown) has captured the attention of investors, the media, and consumers. Plant-based “meats” are not only targeted toward vegans and vegetarians, but also consumers who do not subscribe to a specific diet, as plant-based meat companies attempt to mimic the look, feel, and taste of conventional meat-based products. Major food retail chains and fast food restaurants, such as Carl’s Jr., Q’doba, and Burger King, are bucking the trend and have all introduced plant-based alternatives as a substitute to menu favorites. Additionally, new technologies to produce lab-grown meat, such as those derived from chicken feathers, are on the frontier. Infusions of investments by venture capital and large companies are being made, despite the fact that, historically, many investments made in growing food startup companies have ended up being divested at a loss.

Nevertheless, the controversy surrounding plant-based vs. lab-grown vs. the traditional meat sector has many wondering how the food system will evolve in this new choice landscape. This symposium brings together both sides of the conversation – the alternative and the traditional meat sectors – to discuss the meatless craze that has swept the nation and the broader implications for the food system.

Expected Outcomes  

The goal of the panel is to engage in topical discussions on relevant challenges and opportunities that the traditional and non-traditional protein sectors face, and discuss ways in which partnering with researchers would offer synergies with industry objectives. Participants will leave with information on data resources that may be useful for policy relevant analysis.

Who Should Attend

We encourage all members of AAEA as well as non-members to attend, including but not limited to agricultural economics, public policy experts, industry stakeholders, educators, chefs, and health care experts.

Industry Speakers

Paul Shapiro is the author of the national bestseller Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, a four-time TEDx speaker, and the host of the Business for Good Podcast. Shapiro is the CEO of The Better Meat Co., a company whose goal is to help meat producers improve sustainability by blending in the start-up's plant-based proteins in their ground meat products. Prior to publishing Clean Meat, he was known for being an animal protection advocate, both as the founder of Animal Outlook (formerly Compassion Over Killing) and a Vice President at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Monty Staggs is the Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE), a food manufacturing and distribution company servicing K-12 schools across the U.S., where he has been since 2012. SFE’s mission is to bring an exceptional dining experience to K-12 students through custom, chef driven and culinary-based district partnerships. Staggs began his career as a chef in fine dining, serving as Executive Chef in critically acclaimed restaurants in Miami, Houston, and Los Angeles, and later in corporate research and development for fast-growing national restaurant chains, driving their Menu Master Award Winning concepts across the United States and internationally. Staggs has worked with the nation’s largest natural and organic beef producers where he held positions of VP of Foodservice Sales, Corporate Executive Chef, and VP of Prepared Foods Innovation. Staggs graduated from Johnson and Wales University Summa Cum Laude graduate and was the recipient of the distinguished President’s Trophy.

Dean Klahr serves as Director of the Stockgrowers Division at the Kansas Livestock Association. Klahr concentrates his efforts on addressing issues that impact the association’s grass-based membership through legislative and regulatory efforts, along with the coordination of educational programs. Klahr joined KLA in the summer of 2019. He comes to the association with a diverse agricultural background, having served in various segments of the industry. While also being actively involved in his family’s small cow-calf and traditional crop operation, he has gained experience in the fields of soil conservation, food manufacturing, feedlot, agricultural sales and marketing. Klahr is a graduate of Kansas State University’s College of Agriculture, where he earned his B.S. in Animal Sciences & Industry.

Michael Nepveux serves as an Economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). His issue portfolio consists of livestock and dairy markets, farm bill and federal crop insurance, renewable fuels, and hemp issues. AFBF is the nation’s largest organization representing farmers and ranchers. AFBF is the unified national voice of agriculture, working through our grassroots organizations to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities. Nepveux joined the American Farm Bureau Federation as an economist in May of 2018. He comes to AFBF from Informa Economics Agribusiness Group, where he was an analyst charged with conducting market, policy and economic research and analysis in several fields including agriculture, agricultural risk management, transportation and renewable energy. His prior experience also includes placements with the Agriculture Department’s Foreign Agricultural Service and the House Agriculture Committee. Nepveux earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness and economics and a master’s degree in agricultural economics, both from Texas A&M University.


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