Clean meat conversation

Sir, Your article on clean meat makes it clear the pace of commercial growth in this area is rapid. But there is currently no specific UK regulation on the production and labelling of lab-grown meat.

If we do not pay attention we could find ourselves heading down the same road as we have with GMOs, with decisions made without the benefit of clear scientific or ethical debate. Or we could find these products on our plates before we have had a chance to tackle some big questions, such as where we draw the line in deciding which animal cells can be used.

We would also be wise to start the conversation now on issues such as how products should be labelled, who should be allowed to produce clean meat and what restrictions should exist around its production.

Sian Edmunds, partner, Burges Salmon

Pret’s valuable move

Sir, The growing demand for plant-based options means Pret a Manger’s acquisition of Eat could be a valuable move.

Pret’s leadership initially expected Veggie Pret to run at a loss, but what started as an experiment has turned into a new source of business.

Eat’s strength lies in its good locations, but with its restaurants often next to or across the street from Pret, this acquisition gives the latter a more dominant position by eliminating competition in areas where food options are so saturated that consumers don’t bother crossing the street to grab a bite.

Aaron Shields, executive strategy director, Fitch

Competition concerns

Sir, Pret has proven the viability of veggie-only branches and gobbling up Eat offers a significant opportunity to supercharge growth of this concept.

One key element binding Pret and Eat together is their city centre presences - Pret could further capitalise on its appetite to target young inner-city workers. However, uncertainty remains regarding an outright acquisition of Eat’s 94 UK-based stores. Competition concerns and operational challenges, including blending the two stores’ ranges, could hinder the transaction. It seems to me most likely that Pret will acquire the majority of Eat’s stores while other operators take a bite at the remaining branches.

Harsha Wickremasinghe, head of business intelligence, Livingstone