The 'wokeness' backlash

While the term “woke” first popped up in the Black American community, it had grown into a global phenomenon as a catch-all term for everything relating to awareness of racial and social justice matters.

Part of the reason the term is so widely used and loosely defined is that corporate entities have embraced it so thoroughly. Organizations like Whole Foods, Pinterest and Adidas adopted the trend to restructure everything from human resources to marketing campaigns — a phenomenon the Harvard Business Review has dubbed “woke washing.”

Plant-based meat companies are closely associated with this phenomenon. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods mention “climate change” and “animal welfare” several times on their website and in corporate reports.

The marketing strategy worked initially, driving double-digit annual sales for both companies and major brand partnerships. However, the growing cynicism about woke capitalism has upended this strategy. Recent data from Information Resources Inc., or IRI, suggests that fake meat sales are declining in 2022, while analysis from Deloitte Consulting LLP. indicates that the market may already be saturated in the U.S.

Deloitte also suggests that consumer disenchantment with the term “woke” is making these products less appealing for the average shopper.

Fine wine is a sweet comfort in any situation — and now it can make your investment portfolio a little more comfortable, too. Now a platform called Vinovest helps everyday buyers invest in fine wines — no sommelier certification required.

Invest Now

Inflation impact

The cultural backlash against “wokeness” isn’t the only reason for declining sales. Inflation could be driving consumers away too.

Food costs have been a key driver of inflation this year. The current rate of inflation is 8.3% — much higher than average.

Niche fake meat products are likely to struggle in this environment. Products from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat cost significantly more than traditional meat brands because they lack the economies of scale of their larger competitors.

Industry experts believe fake meat brands could take 15 to 20 years to achieve price parity with regular meat.

Which means consumers struggling with their grocery bills may have substituted their meat already.

A lesson for new investors

The rapid rise and sudden fall of fake meat holds an important lesson for investors. The economy is cyclical, but some sectors and products are immune to this cycle if they’re sufficiently essential.

Traditional food companies like Conagra Brands Inc and Hormel Foods Corp. have outperformed the stock market this year. Conagra stock is flat and Hormel is down 4.5% — while the S&P 500 has lost 21% of its value year-to-date.

Fertilizer companies have performed even better. Nutrien — the world’s largest producer of fertilizers — is up 15.85% year-to-date.

All these stocks also offer reasonable dividend yields.

The lesson for investors is simple — forget fads and bet on long-term trends that are immune to market cycles. Making money is much easier when the product or service is a basic necessity.

Get a piece of commercial real estate

Enhance your portfolio with high-return commercial real estate

First National Realty Partners is the #1 option for accredited investors seeking superior risk-adjusted returns in the grocery-anchored necessity-based retail space.

While commercial real estate has always been reserved for a few elite investors, outperforming the S&P 500 over a 25-year period, First National Realty Partners allows you to access institutional-quality commercial real estate investments — without the leg work of finding deals yourself.

Invest with First National Realty Partners now.

About the Author

Vishesh Raisinghani

Vishesh Raisinghani

Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

What to Read Next

Disclaimer

The content provided on MoneyWise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.