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The plant-based foods sector is expected to see huge growth over the next decade as consumer habits transform, according to a new report.
The sector for plant-based foods will make up 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030, as its value rises to more than $162 billion, up from just $29.4 billion in 2020, says Bloomberg Intelligence’s report, Plant-Based Foods Poised for Explosive Growth. “Food-related consumer habits often come and go as fads, but plant-based alternatives are here to stay – and grow,” said Jennifer Bartashus, senior consumer staples analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “The expanding set of product options in the plant-based industry is contributing to plant alternatives becoming a long-term option for consumers around the world.”
The report attributes the sector’s growth to the big-name brands like Beyond Meat and Oatly, as well as international chains like Chipotle and Starbucks adopting more plant-based products, all of which is causing consumers to become more familiar with vegan fare. As independent food and drink makers have long said, the plant-based movement is much more than a passing trend. “If sales and penetration for meat and dairy alternatives continue to grow, our scenario analysis suggests that the plant-based food industry has the potential to become ingrained as a viable option in supermarkets and restaurants alike,” Jennifer said. “Meat and dairy alternatives could even obtain 5% and 10% of their respective global market shares in the next decade.”
While plant-based milks have boasted impressive growth in recent years, meat alternatives are the area to focus on now, as they will comprise a “substantial share” of plant-based food by 2030, driven by demand for healthier and more sustainable options and assisted by falling prices. If the demand for plant-based meat follows the growth pattern of alternative milk, Bloomberg Intelligence says the sector will balloon from $4.2 billion to $74 billion. The group predicts that plant-based meat sales could even reach as high as $118 billion by 2030 in a “more aggressive but still realistic scenario”.
Alt-meats, unlike typical vegan or vegetarian products, are made to taste and look like meat. The products are targeted at flexitarians rather than fully fledged vegans in order to offer meat eaters an option they claim is more sustainable. This is likely to resonate with many consumers, as a poll by Piplsay found that of meat-eating Britons, 69% said they are worried about the environmental impact of meat production, and 71% said they have reduced their meat consumption.
Another related area which is gaining interest is lab-grown meat, where products are made from animal cells but grown in a lab. Piplsay’s poll found 60% of Britons had heard of lab-grown meat as the profile of alternative meats grows.
With initiatives such as the National Food Strategy also encouraging consumers to eat less, better meat – Henry Dimbleby’s report said meat consumption will have to go down by 30% by 2032 to meet existing targets on health, climate and nature – the benefits of stocking a mult-faceted offering are clear. With a range of options – from high-quality meat and dairy products to alternative meats all the way through to vegetable-based options, fine food retailers can make the most of the plant-based opportunity.