Plant-based Eating and Alternative Proteins

July 2021

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.

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Key Findings

The consumer base for alternatives is continuing to grow through flexitarianism

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.

Health concerns top motivations for use

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%).

Demographics are on producers’ side

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.

Cell-based meat (and more) is on the march

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.

It is not all plain sailing; challenges lie ahead

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”.

Scope
Key findings
Growth forecast for the packaged food industries
Plant-based eating and alternative proteins
Exploring plant-based eating and alternative proteins
Exploring plant-based eating and alternative proteins
Plant-based eating and alternative proteins in depth
Meat analogues
Dairy alternatives
Seafood substitutes
Cell-based meat (and more)
New protein frontiers
Health halo challenge
Plant-based eating and alternative proteins in focus
Companies are meeting the needs of consumers using various strategies
Reaching the consumer in new ways: impossible goes from foodservice to DTC
Coming to an affordable menu near you: beyond scores McDonald’s and yum brands
Adapting/reformulating to head off unhealthy criticism: lightlife goes clean label
Adapting/reformulating to head off unhealthy criticism: beyond launches fund
Expanding through the giants of packaged food: PepsiCo and beyond
Expanding through the giants of packaged food: Unilever and enough
Utilising natural processes for sustainable alternatives: microalgae for milk substitutes
Looking beyond meat with cell-based developments: cell-based milk
Looking beyond meat with cell-based developments: cell-cultured seafood
Plant-based Eating and Alternative Proteins
Key industry takeaways
Challenges to overcome
Become tomorrow’s next leader
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