Plant-based eating and alternative proteins are on the rise. More consumers are limiting consumption of animal agriculture-derived products, and this dynamic segment of food and nutrition is home to continuing innovation. Health, sustainability and animal welfare are key motivators, and consumer demographics indicate a healthy future. This report explores the market, providing guidance for future strategies, detailing the important segments, and showcasing key innovations.
Approaching one in five (23%) consumers globally now report that they are trying to limit their meat intake, up slightly from 21% in 2020. 16% say they are trying to follow a plant-based diet, and 15% are trying to limit their dairy intake – all significantly outstripping the 4% and 7% of vegans and vegetarians, respectively.
Almost two fifths (37%) of those who eat processed plant-based meat alternatives say they do so to feel healthier, the largest response across the potential motivational factors. Environmental concern is also important (21%), as is animal welfare (19%).
Younger adults are the core consumers; while more than half of those aged 60+ never eat alternatives, that figure falls to just 25% of 15-29-year-olds. Moreover, young adults are most likely to be vegan/vegetarian and, alongside 30-44-year-olds, are most likely to be trying to follow a plant-based diet.
In December 2020, the first cell-cultured meat approved for human consumption went on sale in Singapore. Governments around the world are following Singapore’s example in seeing lab-grown protein as potentially vital to greenhouse gas-reduction strategies and food security goals.
With health claims so important to the success of alternatives, it is no surprise that they are coming under increased scrutiny, encouraged by the animal agriculture industry. Such challenges are also coming internally; producers duel to illustrate that their product is healthier as consumer demands move beyond simply “something that is not meat/dairy”.
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