Our Black Friday Sale is now live until Monday 29th November 2021! Apply a 15% discount to your cart in Store using promotional code: EBLACKFR21

Food With consumers engaged with food like never before, our in-depth analysis examines the most important implications across the industry, providing market intelligence, original thinking and key insights into food.

The Rising Tide of Non-Animal Proteins

Tom Rees Profile Picture
Tom Rees Bio

A version of this article originally appeared in Food and Beverage Insider’s digital magazine.

Sales of plant-based alternatives were growing strongly worldwide pre-pandemic. Meat substitutes, milk alternatives and free-from dairy yoghurt generated sales of US$36 billion in 2019, and sales growth accelerated sharply last year.

Several factors particularly benefited plant-based alternatives, including:

• The overall positive impact of the pandemic on food retail.
• Consumers’ increased focus on health from food.
• Consumer desire for novelty in eating and cooking choices
• Longer shelf-life goods being favoured.
• Plant-based meat avoiding meat’s associations with the virus transferring to humans.

Source: Euromonitor International

Sales of alternative protein foods are forecast to continue growing strongly. In 2021, the reopening of economies and easing restrictions on foodservice mean the substantial shift to home-based eating occasions will reverse to some extent. Nevertheless, reflecting the strength of the plant-based movement, total retail sales growth across the key categories will remain positive.

Retail sales of meat substitutes are forecast to remain ahead of milk alternatives and to grow more quickly, at a year-on-year average of 4% from 2022 to 2025 (versus 3% for milk alternatives). Free-from dairy yoghurt is forecast to grow more quickly, by a year-on-year average of 8%, but from a much lower base.

Despite this, there remains a mountain to climb if the industry hopes to achieve the goal of replacing animal agriculture. Globally, meat substitutes currently account for just under one-fifth of total volume sales of processed meat. That figure falls to just 2% if overall volume sales of meat are considered (including fresh meat), and it is important to note that the meat substitutes data also includes tofu and derivatives. On the dairy side, the picture is even starker, with 6% of total volume sales of drinking milk products coming from alternatives, and just 1% of yoghurt retail sales.

However, across a host of key motivations and behaviours relating to plant-based consumption, younger adults emerge as the most likely to hold such beliefs, to act on them, and to believe that their actions will make a difference This should greatly support success in the future. As such, the seemingly insurmountable challenge posed by the establishment of animal-based food production may well diminish over time.

For more insights, access the report “Choosing Substitutes: The Rising Tide of Non-animal Proteins”.

Interested in more insights? Subscribe to our content

Latest Insights

Reconstructing a Secure Food Ecosystem

Emil Fazira 26 November 2021

Where is the Vegan Claim Headed?

Euromonitor International 23 November 2021

Thaifex Anuga Asia 2021 Webinar Series

Euromonitor International 16 November 2021

COP26 and the Environmental Footprint of Food

David Ingemar Hedin 12 November 2021

Thaifex Anuga Asia 2021 Webinar Series

Euromonitor International 11 November 2021

Shop Our Reports

The Australian Consumer in 2021

At the time of writing this report, Australia faces a second wave of COVID-19 infections, resulting in major lockdowns across the most populous states,…

View Report

Packaged Food Quarterly Statement Q3 2021

This briefing examines Euromonitor International's Q3 2021 packaged food forecasts, which have been updated in accordance with macroeconomic changes and the…

View Report

Restaurant At-home: Innovating With the Culinary Experience

More than one year into the pandemic, we revisit the topic of increased home-cooking, restaurant avoidance and the way that home working moves the lunch…

View Report
Passport Our premier global market research database with detailed data and analysis on industries, companies, economies and consumers. Track existing and future opportunities to support critical decision-making across all functions within your organisation Learn More