Rumours of the death of plant-based meat alternatives are greatly exaggerated. Every week there are stories in the mainstream media rehearsing the category’s demise. A lot of it is rehashed from identical coverage elsewhere. A lot of it also lacks the insight you get with The Grocer in explaining the various circumstances in which some casualties have suffered. One recent article on bbc.co.uk even kicked off with the opinions of a dentist to illustrate why alt meat is on its last legs.

But there’s no way the various setbacks are terminal. Sure, the category is having some growing pains, with inevitable consolidation after a period of what can at best be described as exuberance and at worst fear of missing out.

Whether it’s for ethical or sustainability reasons, however, the case for the continued evolution and eventual return to growth of the category is still compelling. And the other catalyst is R&D. Not every innovation is brilliant, of course. Some launches have been absolutely rank. And that’s been half the problem. The bad eggs give the category a bad name (while the meat lobby has doubtless helped to point out flaws in the meat-free cause). At the same time, even with the best innovation, valuations of these companies have been ludicrous. Expectations have been set too high.

But despite the doom mongers, there are still pockets of growth, as we report in our latest Focus On the category. And crucially, innovation is continuing. In the past month alone we’ve reported on NPD from VFC, Biff, Quorn and even the now rescued Meatless Farm. This week it was the turn of FrieslandCampina to enter the fray. And further NPD is expected next month from Tofoo and Better Nature.

As retailers have shuffled their packs, there have been delistings. Some supermarket buyers have lost their nerve a bit, as have some investors and indeed suppliers. So the path back to growth is not obvious. That’s why The Grocer is hosting a webinar on How to Win in Plant-Based next month: to explore what’s gone wrong; and to help plot the way forward. For growth will come again. The only question is how.