The growing market for meat substitutes

Innova Market Insights

Tuesday, 23 August, 2016

A 60% rise in global food and beverage launches using a vegetarian claim between 2011 and 2015 highlights the market opportunities available in the meat substitute market, according to Innova Market Insights.

Launches featuring the term ‘vegan’ also rose to account for 4.3% of total introductions in 2015, up from 2.8% in 2014 and just 1.5% in 2012.

Food and beverage companies can harness new opportunities to develop products aimed at vegans, vegetarians, non-meat eaters and non-red-meat eaters, as well as the emerging segment of ‘flexitarians’, who mainly eat a plant-based diet, but do occasionally eat meat.

“This trend represents a growing opportunity for high-quality meat alternatives, which is also being reflected in the 24% average annual growth in global meat substitute launches recorded between 2011 and 2015,” reported Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights.

Germany has been leading the trend, with high levels of new product development in meat alternatives and meat substitutes, and 69% of consumers claiming to eat meatless meals once a week or more. The US is lagging behind on just 38%, although 120 million Americans already eat meatless meals, so this also represents a significant opportunity.

The trend towards flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets has accelerated the move towards the use of plant-based proteins as meat substitutes. The majority of meat substitutes are still soy- or wheat-protein based, but products are evolving with alternative protein ingredients such as egg, pea, ancient grains and nuts.

“Paradoxically, another key area of opportunity in meat substitutes may be in targeting meat eaters as much as vegetarians,” noted Williams. “While many vegetarians may opt for a diet rich in vegetables and beans, meat eaters may turn to meat substitutes if the product is right. Instead of just finding alternatives, technological solutions also need to be focusing on the development of meat substitutes closely mimicking the taste and texture of meat products.”

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