Driving Forces Behind Plant-Based Diets: Climate Concern and Meat Reduction

June 2019

This report examines the drivers of plant-based diets, the limitation current products have and what meat reduction might mean for the meat industry in the coming years. It investigates whether a significant share of consumers may avoid meat intake due to worries over climate change and what manufacturers can do to mitigate the possibility of negative impact.

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Key Findings

Climate worry set to mature into action and decisions

60% of global respondents are worried about climate change. Thereof, 77% try to have a positive impact on the environment, while 27% try to cut down on meat intake. Brazil has the highest share of respondents worried about climate change.

Meat set to outpace meat substitutes in the foreseeable future

Pricing and availability of meat substitutes are two key factors that currently hold back its penetration worldwide. Consumers in developing and emerging markets seeking to increase protein intake are likely to prefer fresh meat over the forecast period, as it remains cheaper than meat substitutes and of high nutritional value. Meanwhile, Germany is set to see declining meat substitute sales over the forecast period. Western European consumers wishing for better taste and more variety send important signals to manufacturers.

Worldwide Governmental health recommendations agree that meat intake should be limited

Many Governmental health recommendations agree on a per capita meat yearly intake of around 26kg per person, 77% of the world average, and only 28% of the US average. Publications of the World Health Organization drive the health-motivated consensus adopted by China, Sweden, France, the UK and the Netherlands, among others. This dietary consensus has yet to mature into targeted taxations or other active measures to reduce meat intake.

Asia Pacific is the dominating global market for meat substitutes

Tofu remains popular and sees phenomenal growth in China and other key Asian markets. Although not consumed with the intent of avoiding meat, tofu is a key protein source that offers serious competition for meat processors, as they look for the bulk of meat sales growth to come from developing markets in the next decade.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

The Driving Forces of Plant-Based Diets

Widespread global concern about climate change
64% of global respondents try to have a positive environmental impact
More than 40% of global consumers avoid some animal products
Meat reduction is a much bigger story than absolute meat avoidance
The US vegetarian population is the third-largest globally
Strong linear correlation between climate worry and meat reduction
Moves towards policies actively seeking to lower meat consumption
Per capita meat consumption declines in Western Europe and Australia
Investors seek to fund defendable and unique food products
Growth in most top meat substitutes markets

Key Markets

With Japan and China first, Tofu dominates global meat substitutes
North American meat substitutes innovation set to remain strong
United Kingdom largest market for meat substitutes in Europe
Meat substitutes have peaked in Germany

Innovation

Setting the right priorities for plant-based product development
Pinpointing what improvements to make to existing assortments
Matching meat substitute innovation with the right market
Understanding pricing as a key selection factor
Improving availability through scale and swift export of great products

Positioning

Publicly traded Beyond Meat tones down sustainability
New marketing campaign in the US: fitness positioning
Nestl é launches Incredible Burger across Europe without advertising
Year of the vegan proclaimed in the UK
Germany: a global leader in vegan-labelled assortment
North American consumers drawn to meat reduction, shun “vegan”

Outlook

Meat sales set to increase faster than meat substitutes
Meat substitutes set to split into increasingly independent subcategories
Strong brands able to capture more value from popularity of plant-based diets
Meat substitutes set to come under fire as over-processed food
Companies prepare to meet criticism with product development
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