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Meat Substitutes Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Source (Soy-based Ingredients, Wheat-based Ingredients, Textured Vegetable Proteins, and Other grain-based Ingredients), Distribution Channel (Mass Merchandisers, Specialty Stores, Online Retail, Other Retail Channels, and Foodservice), and Regional Forecasts, 2021 – 2028

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI100239



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The global meat substitutes market size was USD 4.98 billion in 2020. Although COVID-19 had a huge impact on most industries, it benefitted plant-based food products, especially these substitutes for meat. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited an increase of 7.30% in 2020 compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The market is projected to grow from USD 5.37 billion in 2021 to USD 10.80 billion by 2028, exhibiting a CAGR of 10.48% during the forecast period (2021-2028). The rise in CAGR is attributable to an increase in awareness about the benefits of plant-based food and a decrease in the availability of meat owing to disruptions in the supply chain.

Meat substitutes are the products designed and developed as a direct replacement for animal meat – they mimic sensory traits of meat products viz. flavor, texture, and appearance. They are exclusively labeled as alternatives or substitutes for animal meat. A wide variety of raw materials are increasingly being utilized for the manufacturing of alternative meat products, indicating the exponential growth trajectory of the market. Additionally, such products are considered healthier, sustainable, and eco-friendly. 

The market is driven by the growing popularity of practicing the vegan diet, especially in the western markets of the U.S. and Europe. The rising prevalence of lifestyle disorders, such as coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), which are linked to the consumption of high cholesterol diets, has encouraged consumers worldwide to opt for healthy indulgence in the form of substitutes products for meat.

Healthier Alternatives to Animal Origin Food Supported the Demand for Meat Substitutes amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has enhanced the meat substitutes industry growth. This growth can be attributed to the low availability of fresh meat due to the disruption in the supply chain and the absence of employees in meat-processing plants. Furthermore, people seek healthier alternatives to animal-sourced food, as according to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s report, many new human diseases are directly linked to food derived from animal origin. This further reduced meat consumption in many nations.


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Robust Popularity of Veganism is a Prominent Trend

The global market is fueled by the growing inclination of consumers towards plant-based (vegan) dietary patterns. Meat consumption in the developed markets of Western Europe and North America is gradually declining amidst the publication of various studies linking the overconsumption of red, processed meat to a variety of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, liver disease, lung disease, and kidney disease.

The plant-based meat market has also witnessed popularity among ‘flexitarian’ consumers who still consume meat and dairy but seek to reduce the levels of animal meat. Such consumers are often driven to meat substitute products because of ethical, environmental, and health concerns.


Rising Demand for Plant-based Protein to Fuel the Growth of Market

Along with meat-like texture, plant-based protein-infused food and ingredients have high protein value. Additionally, sources such as soy and peas have high protein content, and hence, these are used as a substitute for pork, beef, and chicken. The rising trend of health and fitness, along with the growing vegetarian population, would boost the consumption of plant-based protein foods, such as meat analogs.

In recent years, health-conscious consumers are increasingly demanding allergen-free alternatives, such as chickpeas. Thus, meat substitute manufacturers are focusing on the development of meat products containing pea protein. For instance, in April 2020, a chickpea company based in Israel– InnovoPro, raised US$ 15 million from Jerusalem Venture Partners, CPT Capital, and others.

Thus, these aforementioned factors have contributed to the high adoption of meat analogs as a sustainable source of protein.

Ability to Provide Food Security, Food Safety, and Sustainability will Favor Growth

The other important rationale in favor of meat analogs is the growing concern of food security – the global population is projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, according to a United Nations report, and sustaining such an enormous population on animal meat is not feasible as the production of meat is highly resource-intensive, as well as it has a seriously detrimental effect on the environment. According to FAO, approximately 15% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock production. The livestock industry is the single largest driver of habitat loss worldwide. Moreover, according to Compassion in World Farming International (CIWF), 73% of all antibiotics are used in factory farming, which can have serious repercussions in the form of drug-resistant superbugs.

Meat substitutes are thus emerging as a sustainable option for consumers that not only address food security but also ensure food safety. Globally, companies operating in this sector are putting robust checks and controls in the production and processing of these novel offerings.


High Processing Cost and Low Acceptance to Hinder Growth

The price of meat substitutes remains one of the key barriers to their widespread adoption. Many consumers claim that the prices of most products are higher when compared with farmed or real meat. This high cost is due to the surging investment in R&D and fluctuation in raw material price and availability.

Countries consuming a higher amount of meat per day still have relatively lesser acceptance. This low acceptance is mainly due to the lack of similarity in taste to traditional meat products.


By Source Analysis

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Soy-based Ingredients Segment to Dominate the Global Marketplace

Globally, soy-based ingredients are the leading source of substitutes for meat owing to their easy availability, economical production, and favorable organoleptic properties. The majority of soy-based products are further processed to resemble meats, poultry, or fish products in taste, texture, color, and form. Moreover, such ingredients are a high-quality complete protein source containing all essential amino acids. The advanced processing technologies have led to the development of soy concentrates and soy protein isolates, which are in close resemblance to the organoleptic properties of animal meat products.

The textured vegetable proteins (TVP) segment is expected to witness the fastest growth as it closely mimics the texture of ground beef, which is one of the leading types of animal meat consumed globally. Furthermore, the foodservice sector is rapidly embracing textured vegetable protein in the development of a variety of vegan and meat-alternative recipes. The absorption of spices and flavoring by TVP is also very efficient in making them an ideal source of raw materials for meat analogs.

By Distribution Channel Analysis

Mass Merchandisers Segment is Currently Leading the Distribution Criterion in Market

Mass merchandisers are the leading distribution channels in the meat substitutes sector owing to their wider reach, greater shelf-space, attractive discounts, and bundling strategies. The future growth trajectory is, however, expected to be driven by specialty stores that can cater to customized and specific requirements of consumers. Additionally, the robust growth in online retail owing to their enhanced convenience is also expected to benefit e-commerce as one of the fastest-growing distribution channels in the global market.


Europe Meat Substitutes Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)

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The Asia Pacific market will register the fastest compound annual growth rate of 11.18% during 2021-2028 owing to the well-established consumption patterns of soy-based products and the rising popularity of novel plant-based diets, especially in the markets of India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Western Markets, on the other hand, are also experiencing promising growth, which is propelled by “enlightened” consumers that are gradually reducing their reliance on animal-based food products.

The emergence of flexitarian consumers, high demand from millennial populations, and increased ethical focus of consumers would drive the growth of the European market. Regulatory complexities in Asia and few European countries regarding the lack of widely accepted definitions and scope of meat substitutes is clearly hampering the growth of the market. Countries should take a cue from Germany, where terms, such as "Fleischersatz" (meat substitute) and "Fleischimitat" (meat imitation), are widespread. The Federal Ministry for food and agriculture, Germany, went ahead and published recommendations in late 2018 that packaging should clearly indicate "vegetarian" or "vegan" when applicable, as well as what substitutes are used.

The meat substitutes market share in North America is witnessing a distinct trend of consumers adopting these plant-based options by not eliminating meat-based products. But by partially replacing them. Consumers are increasingly trying out various meat alternatives, the full-scale adaptation of which will rely on the eating experience mimicking the meat products.

The United States market is witnessing a strong year-on-year growth rate with the exceptional sales performance put up by brands, such as Beyond Meat, Field Roast, and Gardein. Consumers are intensively cutting down their meat consumption. The meat substitute category is expected to witness a high growth trajectory akin to this type of milk in the United States by strongly emerging as substitutes for household staples.

Rising concerns regarding animal welfare and the increasing number of health-conscious consumers would boost the adoption of meat type of substitute products in South America. In addition, a rise in the number of vegetarians and reducetarians (reducing the intake of animal products)  would propel the market growth in the upcoming years. Most consumers in the region buy from big retailers.

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The market has high growth prospects in countries such as South Africa and UAE due to their perceived healthfulness. Furthermore, the ongoing global campaigns and promotions for becoming vegetarian are set to influence countries in the Middle East and Africa, thereby driving the adoption of these products.


Key Players Focus on Broadening Their Portfolios to Compete in Market

The market is fragmented, with the presence of large and small enterprises operating globally. The increasing popularity of the product has significantly led to its high demand. Companies such as BASF, Bayer, Corteva, and Rizobacter are concentrating on new product launches and strategic expansions for portfolio broadening and meeting the demands. For instance, in August 2020, Lallemand Plant Care Canada launched LALFIX PROYIELD LIQUID SOYBEAN, a new inoculant that combines two unique strains of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Private label brands, such as Beyond Meat and Just, and Impossible Foods in this market, have set new standards for innovation, quality, and aesthetic appeal that have nudged well-established players to follow suit.

Key giants in the U.S. meat and meat products sector are also entering the plant-protein market. In 2019, Tyson Foods, Inc. introduced its first plant-based and blended products, along with its new Raised & Rooted brand, making it the largest U.S. meat producer to enter the growing alternative protein segment with its products. The focus on strengthening its distribution network is ever-increasing. In June 2019, Tyson Foods, Inc., for instance, rolled out its plant protein products through multiple customers and sales channels.


  • Tyson Foods, Inc. (Arkansas, United States)

  • Greggs plc (Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom)

  • Marlow Foods Ltd (Middlesbrough, United Kingdom)

  • Conagra Brands, Inc. (Illinois, United States)

  • Unilever NV (London, United Kingdom)

  • Hilton Food Group plc (Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom)

  • Kerry Group Plc (Tralee, Ireland)

  • Savage River Inc. (California, United States)

  • JUST, Inc. (California, United States)

  • Impossible Foods Inc. (California, United States)


  • February 2019: The Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) India and The Good Food Institute, a global non-profit organization engaged in promoting the plant and cell-based meat sector through research and commercialization, agreed to set up a ‘Centre of Excellence in Cellular Agriculture’ in Maharashtra, India.

  • May 2019: Beyond Meat, Inc. expanded its partnership with Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat to produce the brand’s innovative plant-based meat products at a new manufacturing facility being constructed by Zandbergen in Zoeterwoude, the Netherlands.


An Infographic Representation of Meat Substitutes Market

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The global meat substitutes market research report provides qualitative and quantitative insights into the market. It also offers a detailed analysis of the market size and growth rate for all possible market segments. Various key insights presented in the report are an overview of related markets, recent industry developments, such as mergers & acquisitions, regulatory scenarios in critical countries, and key industry trends.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



 Value (USD Billion)

By Source

  • Soy-based Ingredients

  • Wheat-based Ingredients

  • Other grain-based Ingredients

  • Textured Vegetable Proteins

By Distribution Channel

  • Mass Merchandisers

  • Specialty Stores

  • Online Retail

  • Other Retail Channels

  • Foodservice

 By Geography

  • North America (By Source, Distribution Channel, and By Country)

    • U.S. (By Source)

    • Canada (By Source)

    • Mexico (By Source)

  • Europe (By Source, Distribution Channel, and By Country)

    • France (By Source)

    • Spain (By Source)

    • Italy (By Source)

    • Germany (By Source)

    • U.K. (By Source)

    • Russia (By Source)

    • Rest of Europe (By Source)

  • Asia Pacific (By Source, Distribution Channel, and By Country)

    • China (By Source)

    • India (By Source)

    • Japan (By Source)

    • Australia (By Source)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Source)

  • South America (By Source, Distribution Channel, and By Country)

    • Argentina (By Source)

    • Brazil (By Source)

    • Rest of South America (By Source)

  • The Middle East and Africa (By Source, Distribution Channel, and By Country)

    • South Africa (By Source)

    • UAE (By Source)

    • Rest of ME&A (By Source)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 4.98 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 10.80 billion by 2028.

Registering a CAGR of 10.48%, the market will exhibit promising growth during the forecast period (2021-2028).

The soy-based ingredients segment is expected to lead based on source during the forecast period.

Favorable consumption patterns of a plant-based diet and ethical consumerism are driving the growth of the market.

Tyson Foods, Inc., Conagra Brands, Inc., Unilever NV, and Kerry Group Plc are a few of the top players in the market.

Europe held the highest market share in 2020.

The online distribution channel is expected to witness the fastest growth in the global market.

The robust popularity of veganism, increased investments by key players of the meat processing industry in the meat substitutes sector, and implementation of policies & regulatory frameworks are the key market trends.

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Meat Substitutes Market Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
  • Aug, 2021
  • 2020
  • 2017-2019
  • 156


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