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New data from a report conducted by market research firm Meticulous Research predicts that the plant-based food market, which includes meat and dairy alternatives, plant-based ingredients and distribution channels, will reach a US$74.2 billion by 2027. The analysts say that the key driver behind this growth is the demand from consumers for sustainable and nutritious food, a trend that has been further fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a new report, the plant-based food market is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 11.9% to reach US$74.2 billion in seven years. The sectors included in the plant-based food market include meat and dairy substitute products, egg alternatives, source ingredients such as soy and wheat protein and both B2B and B2C distribution channels.
Driving the growth of the plant-based food market is the demand from consumers for more sustainable food choices due to greater awareness about the animal livestock industry’s associated carbon emissions and land and water footprint.
Other factors include “increasing incidences of intolerance for animal protein” as well as significant and growing venture investments into plant-based product manufacturers and food techs.
Plant-based products are generated with less dependence on labor, making it less prone to staffing scarcity as opposed to red meat, which is relatively labor-intensive, thereby encouraging the production of plant-based products.Meticulous Research
Analysts also highlighted the role of the coronavirus pandemic in reinforcing the plant-based trend among mainstream consumers. They said that the crisis has importantly underlined the link between dietary choices and human and planetary health, as well as the vulnerabilities in the meat supply chain, from workplace safety concerns to the danger of emerging zoonotic diseases.
Although the animal protein industry has faltered during the pandemic, the report’s authors emphasise that plant-based food supply chains have remained resilient, demonstrating its potential in the long-term.
“Plant-based products are generated with less dependence on labor, making it less prone to staffing scarcity as opposed to red meat, which is relatively labor-intensive, thereby encouraging the production of plant-based products,” the researchers wrote.
It additionally cited the increasing openness from governments’ to promote alternative proteins. For example, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that the country is making a CAD$100 million investment into Merit Functional Foods, a plant-based ingredient manufacturer. Soon after, Finland made headlines for investing US$2.3 million into a national plant-based protein initiative.
To further capitalise on the opportunities in the plant-based product sector over the coming years, expansions, new product launches, diversifications, and acquisitions strategies are being implemented by leading manufacturers.Meticulous Research
On the investment side, the report said that the coronavirus pandemic has prompted a number of major food giants such as Cargill and Tyson to make significant inroads into plant-based protein. In June, Cargill launched a new meat-free brand PlantEver to target the Chinese market, which followed its partnership with KFC China to launch plant-based nuggets in the country. The report is also in line with the latest data from the FAIRR report that stated that 40% of the world’s Big Food companies have a dedicated plant-based team on staff.
“To further capitalise on the opportunities in the plant-based product sector over the coming years, expansions, new product launches, diversifications, and acquisitions strategies are being implemented by leading manufacturers,” said the report.
Venture investment into plant-based food techs has picked up as well, noted the analysts, who referred to the Good Food Institute’s (GFI) previous finding that investment into plant-based startups in the U.S. alone within the first quarter of this year hit a staggering US$741 million – nearly matching the amount for the entirety of 2019, even as the coronavirus disrupts global economies.
When looking at the regions poised to see the biggest jump in plant-based food growth, while Europe is predicted to command the biggest overall plant-based food market this year, the report forecasts that the Asia-Pacific region will lead the pack in driving growth in the next few years. Similar estimates have been made by Zion Market Research, which found that the vegan meat market will be propelled by Asia to hit US$21 billion by 2025.
Lead image courtesy of Getty Images / iStock.