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The global meat substitutes market size was valued at USD 5.41 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from USD 5.88 billion in 2022 to USD 12.30 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 11.11% during the forecast period 2022-2029. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with meat substitutes experiencing higher-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a growth of 6.6% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
Meat substitute products mimic the sensory traits of traditional meat products and possess similar flavor, texture, and appearance. These products are mainly developed to replace or reduce the dependence on animal meat. There are different types of materials that are used for making these products. Some of the most widely used raw materials used for making these products include wheat, soy, and various types of legumes. They are considered to be healthier and environmentally sustainable alternatives to meats that are of animal origin.
The adoption of plant-based products plays a crucial role in reducing the problem of over-dependence on livestock production for meat products. This helps to reduce the carbon emission and slaughtering of animals. Hence, some of the major meat manufacturing companies, such as Tyson Foods and JBS SA, have established a product line dedicated to manufacturing plant-based alternatives.
Increased Demand for Healthy Plant-based Meat Products Supported the Meat Substitutes Market Growth
The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic increased the risks of global food insecurity, especially in developing economies, due to disruptions in supply chains. COVID–19 and lockdowns disrupted the access to inputs such as soy, pea, and others used for manufacturing these plant-based meat ingredients and interfering with the manufacturing in the processed food industry.
Similar to other food processing industries, the plant-based meat substitutes industry also suffered from labor shortages and supply chain disruptions during the pandemic period. The lack of availability of labor significantly impacted the processing of the products in the industry as well as the procurement of raw materials such as soybeans and wheat from the crop farms. Additionally, variation in interstate lockdown in the United States caused a rise in logistic costs and disrupted the overall supply chain.
Although consumers were slowly adopting the e-commerce portals for purchasing products prior to the pandemic, their purchasing behaviors significantly shifted during the pandemic. More people started opting for purchasing food products through online stores and e-commerce portals. Hence, companies undertook steps to shift their distribution channels and put significant preferences on online portals to improve the customer’s purchasing experience.
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Rising Adoption of Vegan and Vegetarian Diet to Influence the Market Growth
Veganism is one of the most popular dietary trends gradually adopted by consumers worldwide. As vegans completely depend on plant-based products for their protein requirements, the demand for clean meat substitutes among such consumers is relatively high. As per data provided by the Economist, the number of vegans in the U.S. increased from 0.4% to 3.5% in 2021. Such an increase in the vegan population is also expected to support the market growth.
New forms of packaging designs used for meat substitutes, including carbon labeling help consumers understand the impact that the product they consume has on the environment. Certain retailers, such as Tesco, undertook initiatives in June 2022 to include carbon labeling on food products and educate consumers about their food. These initiatives also encourage consumers to purchase environmentally sustainable food products.
Increasing Demand for Plant-based Protein Foods to Drive Market Growth
Globally, consumer food preferences are shifting significantly. There is a rising awareness among the people about the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and adopt a balanced approach toward protein intake. Thus, consumers are adopting a proactive approach and improving protein intake to ensure that they remain fit and healthy for a long time. Thus, they are improving their dietary habits and including plant-based protein products in their diet.
In this regard, alternative proteins, including meat substitutes are becoming increasingly popular. There is an increasing concern and awareness about the negative environmental impact caused by animal farms among consumers. Hence, there is growing adoption of vegetarian or flexitarian diets among consumers to either eliminate or reduce meat consumption and indirectly reduce carbon emissions.
Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on health have further helped to emphasize the need to maintain a healthy and balanced diet among consumers. There is an increased concern about the association between environment, diet, and animal husbandry. Hence, the demand for plant-based meat substitutes, a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to meat, is expected to rise significantly.
Positive Health and Environmental Impact Related to Consumption of Plant-based Protein Foods to Further Propel Market Growth
There are several health disorders associated with the consumption of red meat. Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health in September 2019 states that red meat increases the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and other serious illnesses among consumers. Thus, health conscious consumers are increasingly replacing red meat with plant-based protein products such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, deflated soy chunks, and similar meat-like protein products. Such dietary changes are expected to significantly reduce the risk of obesity and other health disorders and improve consumers' quality of life.
Animal farms are considered one of the major contributors to global warming. As per the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data, livestock produces around 14.5% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from greenhouse gas emissions, maintaining animal farms requires a huge amount of additional resources. Cattle farms use a huge quantity of fresh water supply and grasslands for rearing. Comparatively, plant-based meat products or meat alternatives require less natural resources and emit fewer greenhouse gases, making them sustainable alternatives to animal-based protein products. This acts as one of the noteworthy factors which influence consumers to shift toward clean meat products and thus promote the market growth.
High Product Prices and Complex Manufacturing Process of Meat Substitutes to Hamper Market Growth
One of the major attributes which is difficult to imitate for the plant-based meat products is the color of the meat. The products which comprise textured vegetable proteins can also undergo color change while they are being cooked. As product attributes such as color are one of the important parameters that consumers consider while purchasing the products, any change can significantly deter them from repeatedly purchasing the product. Apart from color, meat flavor is one of the significantly challenging aspects of manufacturing them. Especially for products such as plant-based meat alternatives, flavoring agents are unable to imitate the aroma of meat. This has led to the development of products that have a bland taste and fail to provide a satisfactory taste experience to consumers. Thus, to make the products appealing to the taste buds, manufacturers add ingredients such as salt and spices and create an aromatic plant-based product for consumers. Products such as tofu require extensive processing and addition of several additives to extend their shelf life. This can significantly impact the texture and taste of the product. Thus, such products may be less appealing to consumers who prefer to consume healthy products and have less amount of chemicals added to them.
The production process involved in manufacturing plant-based meat alternatives is extremely complicated in nature. Products, such as plant-based meat substitutes, undergo significant processing during the manufacturing stages. Since different ingredients are used to prepare the final product, the manufacturers use methods such as batch production. This increases the overall production cost of plant-based meat.
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Soy-based Ingredients to Dominate the Market Owing to its Growing Popularity Among Vegetarian and Vegan Consumers
There are different types of ingredients which are used for making these products. Some of the major ingredients used for making these products include soy-based ingredients, wheat-based ingredients, textured vegetable proteins, and other grain-based ingredients.
Some of the popular soy-based meat alternatives include tofu and tempeh which is mainly popular in Asian cuisines. In recent years, they have gained popularity in other regions such as Europe and North America as well. Wheat based meat analogues include Seitan which can be included in various dishes. It has a chewy texture and absorbs sauce and spices properly. Hence, these products are popular among vegan consumers.
Textured vegetable proteins include flour products which are converted into clean meat. These products help to improve the nutritional content of dishes and are used for making meat patties.
Mass Merchandisers Segment to Remain Dominant Due to Easier Accessibility to More Comprehensive Product Range
Mass merchandiser is one of the most widely used distribution channels for selling clean meat products in the market. Supermarkets and discounters, such as Walmart and Target, provide the option to the consumers to choose their food product from a wide range of options which are available in the market aisles. Furthermore, these stores also provide promotional discounts and offer new food items that help to encourage consumers in purchasing the items.
Additionally, there are dedicated stores which specialize in selling these products in the market. Consumers also prefer to purchase items from these specialty stores. Online stores are slowly gaining popularity among consumers as they provide the ease of purchasing products from the comforts of the home. Hence, this channel is expected to grow significantly in the upcoming years.
Europe Meat Substitutes Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)
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Europe is one of the major consumers of alternate meat products globally. One of the prime factors is the growing need in the region to transition to a more sustainable food system which is essential for achieving the goals of the European Green Deal. As a result, plant-based products are a major driver of sales growth for grocery retailers across the region. Among the European countries, France, the U.K., and Germany are some of the major consumers of these products. Food trends in France have shifted dramatically as a result of socioeconomic and demographic shifts. The younger generation appreciates experimenting with new and creative new plant-based meat products, and they are ready to pay a premium price on products that have a pleasing appearance and taste. Previous food safety alarms in France have heightened consumer concerns about sanitation and safety. As a result of these concerns, natural and organic food products are in higher demand. Vegan diet, gluten-free items, and nutritional supplements are also in high demand.
In Asia Pacific, industrialization has led to an increase in disposable income among the middle-class population in the region. This has led to rising demand for protein-rich, high-quality, and nutritious food products. The consumer’s way of eating is changing and increasing numbers of people are reducing meat from their diets. Hence, the demand for plant-based foods is set to rise in key Asia Pacific markets. Due to the increase in consumer concerns over health and sustainability, it also paves the way for a significant and sustained increase in the meat substitutes market share across the Asia Pacific region. The evolution in fast-food chains, hotels, and restaurants, which serve plant-based meat burger, nuggets, and other products has led to promising growth of these products in the region. With the increasing influence of the Western culture, the popularity of food products such as burgers and hotdogs is increasing significantly in the region. Products, such as wheat, soy, and pea, are relatively cheaper and can be easily incorporated into traditional Chinese cuisines such as dumplings and rolls. This has led to further growth of such products in the region.
In the North American region, different meat replacements, such as vegan meat burger, sausage, and similar products, are highly popular among consumers. This has led meat manufacturers to explore the possibility of developing innovative, high-quality, tastier, and nutritious plant based meat products for the growing market. Although animal protein-based products are still comparatively popular in the region with respect to meat replacements, the consumers are slowly integrating meat alternatives into their diets. These are sold through online channels, retail markets, and restaurant chains. Due to the increased use of meat alternatives in preparing various food products such as burgers, tacos, and other popular food items, the volume sales of products in retail food chains have increased rapidly in recent years. This has been one of the major key factors contributing to the market’s growth in the region.
The production of meat alternatives products in South America is concentrated in three major countries, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. In South America, meat alternative proteins have seen a significant increase fueled by demand from younger generations concerned about meat consumption's environmental, nutritional, and animal welfare consequences. Though these alternatives have traditionally been small-scale and marginal, both locally and worldwide, they are gradually infiltrating the mainstream. They are poised to play a more significant part in the global diet.
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In the Middle East & Africa, the alternative proteins and meats market has been growing rapidly. Due to increased plant-based meat consumer awareness, there is rising concern over climate change and growing interest in health and wellness. Hence, there is a huge opportunity for expansion, innovation, and investment in the Middle East. Furthermore, the consumption of plant-based meat products such as burgers and nuggets in African countries such as South Africa and Zambia has increased significantly in recent years. Increased disposable income and a large population of expat professionals among the population are major contributors to the market growth in this region. As the tourism sector is booming, the demand for alternate meat products in high-end dining restaurants for making different cuisines has risen significantly.
Key Players Launching Innovative Meat Alternatives Products to Gain Higher Market Share
The global market is a semi-consolidated market with several large corporations and new alternative meat manufacturers operating across the world in different countries. Some of the major global market players are Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Kellogg's, Tyson Foods, and JBS SA. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the meat industry as it disrupted the supply chain and manufacturing process. As industries were shut down during the period to reduce the spread of the infection, a huge gap between demand and supply of meat products was created in the market. This created an opportunity for plant-based meat manufacturers to identify the market needs and expand their business through market expansion or by launching new meat alternatives. Furthermore, consumers are also willing to experience new food products which are healthy and environmentally sustainable. This led to increased sales and also created an opportunity for future growth.
An Infographic Representation of Meat Substitutes Market
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The research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as competitive landscape, source, and distribution channel. Besides this, it offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses several factors contributing to the market's growth in recent years.
Value (USD Billion)
By Distribution Channel
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was valued at USD 5.41 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 12.30 billion by 2029.
The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.11% during the forecast period (2022-2029).
Soy-based Ingredients could be the leading source segment in the global market.
Positive health and environmental impact caused by consumption of plant based protein foods to further propel market growth.
Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Kelloggs, Tyson Foods, and JBS SA. are a few of the top players in the global market.
Europe is expected to hold the highest market share throughout the forecast period.
The mass merchandisers segment is expected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period.
Complicated manufacturing process resulting in high product prices is one of the major market restraints.
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