Foodservice’s Plant-Based Moneymaking Potential

Photo courtesy of Hormel Happy Little Plants

Future Market Insights, a Pune, India-based company with offices in Dubai and Newark, Delaware, recently released a white paper on the plant-based food market called “The Plant Based Revolution: Growth Opportunities and Winning Strategies in the Global Plant-Based Food Market,” in collaboration with the Plant Based Food Industry Association (PBFIA). The report is based on analysis of the plant-based food market and interviews with key industry players around the world.

The company notes that the plant-based food market has been growing exponentially since 2019, thanks to consumers’ changing food consuming choices, driven in part by millennials and Gen Z becoming conscious of the impact their food consumption choices have on the environment. In addition, according to Sentient Media, about 79 million people in the world are vegans. “Between 2020 and 2021, the number of vegans worldwide doubled from 0.5% of the global population to 3%,” the company reports. “The COVID-19 pandemic also played a key role in altering the food-consuming choices of people, as more people focused on boosting immunity through organic food.” Here are some additional key findings.

The Plant-Based Revolution

Future Market Insights’ report “The Plant Based Revolution: Growth Opportunities and Winning Strategies in the Global Plant-Based Food Market” reports that in the coming decade, it is predicted that approximately 20% of meat, eggs and dairy eaten around the world is expected to be plant-based. Investments in the plant-based market are at a record high, with $4 to $5 billion raised in investments in 2021 and 2020—three times more than in any other single year in the industry’s history. Plant-based meat remains the largest segment, but global investments in plant-based seafood soared by nearly double in 2021, compared to 2020. Finally, more than 50% of global food and beverage brand owners are believed to be likely to invest some of their new product development and R&D budgets in plant-based products.

What’s behind the shift? Nearly 70% of global consumers believe that environmental health and how their choices influence the planet are among the primary reasons for trying plant-based foods. Almost one-third of all Americans have reduced their meat and dairy consumption and consider themselves flexitarians—a consumer base expected to grow by another 44% over the next few years.

Some other key stats from this Future Market Insights report:

  • The global market for plant-based foods that replace animal products, including meat, eggs and dairy, was valued at well over $25 billion in 2020, with the U.S. market contributing more than $7 to $8 billion.
  • The global market for plant-based meat was valued at $5.6 billion in 2021 and is likely to surpass $34 billion by 2030, experiencing strong and sustained double-digit growth, at over 22% CAGR. The most prominent plant-based meat category was beef alternatives, which accounted for more than two-fifth of the global market share—followed by plant-based chicken, at 30.7% market share in 2021.
  • There remains a significant growth opportunity for plant-based seafood, with an anticipated CAGR of 31.3% from 2022 to 2032 globally.
  • Although meat substitutes make up less than 5% of the total meat market, plant-based is growing four to seven times as fast as the traditional meat market.
  • Existing trend analysis suggests that the foodservice market is the largest and the most profitable channel for sales of plant-based foods.
  • While vegan customers are less concerned about the texture and appearance of meat alternatives, flexitarians make their purchasing choices based on appearance, taste and texture, which has set the bar high for plant-based food companies to make items that can mimic animal products.
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