The growing appetite for meatless meals driven largely by health and environmental concerns will soon reach a new milestone: The country's first vegan butcher shop is opening in Minneapolis.

The Herbivorous Butcher is scheduled to open on Jan. 23 in northeast Minneapolis.

"It's going to be a vegan blood bath," quipped Kale Walch, who started the business with his sister, Aubry Walch.

The pair have attracted quite a following since they first started serving up their signature maple glazed bacon, Sriracha brats and other meatless wonders at farmers markets around the Twin Cities in 2014. They spent three years perfecting the recipes, using ingredients such as yeast, soy, juices and a blend of seasonings.

The opening of a vegan butcher shop is yet another sign of the rise of fake meat in American diets. Since 2012, sales of plant-based meat alternatives have grown 8 percent, to $553 million annually, according to the market research firm, Mintel.

Most people told Mintel that they were choosing the meatless products because they viewed them as healthy. Concerns over the environmental impact of large-scale animal production also are fueling the trend.

Just what will the country's first meat-free butcher shop look like?

"The architect was joking that we have to get a massive slab of tofu and hang it from a meat hook," Kale Walch said.

Allie Shah • 612-673-4488

"To Your Health" offers quick doses of health news several times a week.