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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The fake-meat boom is real, propelling startups to incredible heights while creating shortages of its own.

The big picture: The fake-meat market could be 10x its current size by 2029, Barclays analysts estimated in May.

  • "In fact, we believe that there is a bigger market opportunity for plant-based (and maybe even lab-based) protein than perhaps was argued for electric vehicles ten years ago."

Why it matters: The stock market in particular is treating Beyond Meat like a superstar, with its stock price up 4x from last month's IPO. But the companies must prove they can handle the demand.

  • "Last summer, locations of A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. were sold out of Beyond Meat’s burger for weeks," the WSJ notes.
  • "This spring, restaurants including American WildBurger locations around Chicago have run short of Impossible’s burgers. ... Craft & Crew Hospitality in Minneapolis hasn’t received scheduled shipments of Impossible burgers for weeks from a local distributor."
  • Both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have ramped up production to meet demand. Impossible CFO David Lee told the Journal that “it will take us some time to get back into that synchronization of supply and demand."

Between the lines: The companies above are struggling to scale up plant-based meat imitators, let alone lab-grown meat, which even optimists estimate would cost $10 a patty as a best case scenario.

What's next: The cattle industry isn't taking kindly to fake meat, pouring cash into lobbying for regulation on what can be called meat at the federal and state levels, the Washington Post reports.

  • "On Jan. 1, Missouri became the first to regulate the names of aspiring meat alternatives, restricting the word 'meat' to only products harvested from livestock."
  • "Nebraska lawmakers are considering making it a crime to advertise or sell any product as meat 'that is not derived from poultry or livestock.'"

The bottom line: "Fifteen percent of U.S. restaurants offered meatless burgers in March, according to a Technomic Inc. study of menus from 6,000 operators, with the number serving them up 3% from a year earlier." [WSJ]

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Reports: CIA finds "Havana Syndrome" unlikely caused by foreign campaign

CIA Director William Burns testifies during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill last April. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

A preliminary CIA report rules out a foreign global campaign as the cause of American and Canadian diplomats affected by a mysterious illness known as "Havana syndrome," per multiple reports.

Why it matters: Some lawmakers had suggested the sometimes debilitating illness was due to directed energy attacks. But CIA officials told the New York Times that most of the 1,000 cases reported to the government could be "explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress." This finding has angered some victims, per the NYT.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.