There’s a lot wrong with factory farming , from the cruelty it inflicts on animals to the destruction of wildlife habitat it brings about to the role it plays in climate change . But people really like meat, and efforts to convince meat eaters to consider vegan diets haven’t been successful. That’s where meat alternatives come in. Products like veggie burgers, fake chicken , and soy and almond milk are growing in popularity and market share — and even better, they’re getting tastier and harder to distinguish from animal products. Meanwhile, cell-based meat — grown from animal cells in a lab — is still probably years away from being available in stores, but there has been encouraging progress on that front as well. Is a vegan, meat-free future imminent? Not likely. For now, leading plant-based meat-alternative companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have only been able to carve out a narrow niche with burgers and ground beef . But surging interest in meat alternatives from restaurants and consumers , as well as significant investments in the industry from meat titans , is reason for optimism.

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