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The global plant-based meat market is set to reach over US$35 billion by 2027, a new study finds, citing increasing health awareness as the key motivator behind the growth. Other factors that will drive the plant-based meat trend include environmental concerns, which is expected to rise significantly in the Asia-Pacific region. The research says that while plant-based meat startups and legacy brands are expected to increase their consumer base over time, global food giants such as Nestlé will also strengthen their foothold in the market.
Conducted by New York-based market intelligence and consultancy firm Polaris Market Research, a new report predicts that the market size of the global plant-based meat industry will register a 15.8% annual growth rate to reach US$35.8 billion by 2027, compared to US$11.1 billion in 2019. The main factor that will drive the trend are health concerns due to the upsurge in food-borne illnesses in animal meat, awareness of food safety and nutrition.
“Consumers around the world are reducing animal meat, owing to growing awareness of [the] link between high meat consumption and spread of non-communicable diseases, as supported continuous scientific evidence over the years,” said the report.
Increasing demand for rich protein-based food for having nutritional benefits coupled with consumer’s preference for cost-effective products, further fuel[s] the demand for plant-based meat products.Polaris Market Research
These priorities are set to shift mainstream consumption habits towards meat-reducing or flexitarian diets, as well as a significant rising population choosing vegetarianism or veganism.
“Increasing demand for rich protein-based food for having nutritional benefits coupled with consumer’s preference for cost-effective products, further fuel[s] the demand for plant-based meat products,” wrote the analysts.
Researchers also cited greater awareness of environmental issues associated with animal agriculture as a major factor driving the uptick in plant-based meat demand, especially within the Asia-Pacific market, where consumers are beginning to factor in the sustainability of their purchases.
When examining the categories that are likely to experience the most growth, the study says that burger analogues remain the fastest-growing segment due to the “well-established consumer base” this format already has across the world. Regarding the primary plant protein ingredient, Polaris estimates that soy will dominate the market, thanks to its versatility that enables a wide range of applications for preparing different substitutes such as meatballs, burgers and more.
Consumers around the world are reducing animal meat, owing to growing awareness of [the] link between high meat consumption and spread of non-communicable diseases, as supported continuous scientific evidence over the years.Polaris Market Research
While leading food tech companies such as Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, OmniPork, Zhenmeat and V2food and legacy plant-based substitute brands such as Quorn, Tofurky and The Vegetarian Butcher were cited as players that will continue to see their customer base expand significantly in the next few years, Polaris notes that the market is quickly “turning out to be highly competitive”.
In addition, the adoption and adaptation by food giants such as Conagra and Nestlé will further crowd the market. Their existing supply chain and manufacturing infrastructure enables them to propel faster delivery and cost-cutting, which will strengthen these players within the plant-based industry, said Polaris.
Already, in the wake of the meat supply chain disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic, the report notes that even meat producers such as Tyson Foods have “taken advantage of such gaps in the food supply chain” and launched new plant-based meat products.
A number of other reports published in recent weeks are confident about the plant-based meat market in the years ahead. Researchers at Dutch multinational financial firm ING, for instance, estimate that the plant-based meat and dairy market in Europe will reach US$8.87 billion in the next five years, while Dubai-based Future Market Insights believes the plant-based beef segment alone could top US$16 billion by the end of the decade.
Meanwhile, Zion Market Research reports that the global plant-based meat market will grow by 8.6% annually to reach US$21 billion by 2025, with Asia driving much of the demand. Meticulous Research, on the other hand, estimates that the total plant-based food market, which includes meat and dairy alternatives, plant-based ingredients and distribution channels, will reach US$74.2 billion by 2027.
Lead image courtesy of Beyond Meat.