This week's rousing stock market debut of dairy alternative Oatly underlines anew people's enduring appetite for vegan products. If anything, that hunger has grown during the Covid-19 pandemic...The surge also came as production problems, due partly to Covid-19 outbreaks, temporarily curtailed conventional meat availability, though supplies later stabilized. "The pandemic opened people's eyes to the risks of the meat industry, the relative fragility of its value chain," said Jan Dutkiewicz, a fellow at Concordia University and Harvard Law School who writes often on food and environmental studies...Dutkiewicz notes that the conventional meat sector operates on relatively narrow profit margins, with large volumes needed to the ventures economical. If alternative proteins gain enough ground, "there may be a point where many large companies will start not just diversifying into alternative proteins but will start divesting from their existing holdings in protein," he said. Dutkiewicz drew a comparison with large automotive companies now phasing out the internal combustion engine and transitioning to electric cars. But, he cautioned, "we are at the very, very early stages of this."