(Food-Beverage-News.Com, August 04, 2022 ) According to a new market research report titled, “Plant-based Food Market by Type (Dairy Alternatives, Plant-based Meat, Meals, Confectionery, Beverages, Egg Substitutes, Seafood), Source (Soy, Wheat, Pea, Rice), Distribution Channel (B2B, B2C [Convenience Store, Online Retail]) - Global Forecast to 2029”, the global plant-based food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.4% from 2022–2029 to reach $95.52 billion by 2029.
The plant-based food sector has been growing rapidly due to factors such as the increasing concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions and the increased pressure on land and water usage during animal protein production. These factors have provided significant growth opportunities for plant-based food products, such as meat substitutes, dairy alternatives, plant-based meals, plant-based eggs, and plant-based seafood, which have the capability to satisfy food needs with high nutrition and environmental sustainability. The shift towards plant-based diets has been predominantly driven by consumer concern surrounding health, desire for variety in food consumption, flexibility, and increased ethical awareness fueling the need to incorporate new products, such as vegan meat, egg, milk, seafood, bakery, and confectionery.
In the past 4-5 years, the plant-based food industry has attracted investments from venture capital firms and major established meat supply companies. In recent years, investments in plant-based food manufacturing companies have witnessed a considerable rise as numerous start-ups have started selling plant-based food and experimenting with various vegan products.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Plant-based Food Market
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped everything from global economies to product categories, pricing, stock availability, and consumer behavior. This crisis caused people to re-evaluate their diets as it underlined the link between food, health, and immune responses. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have provided an unexpected boost for the plant-based food industry. Medical studies show that COVID-19 infection has an overwhelming impact on people with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. From a manufacturing and distributing point of view, this industry has faced unprecedented demand from manufacturers as well as consumers, particularly for products such as meat analogues and plant-based milk. In addition, plant-based food is generated with less dependence on labor, making it less prone to staffing scarcity as opposed to red meat, which is relatively labor-intensive, encouraging the production of plant-based food products.
The COVID-19 pandemic also led to some best practice models for the plant-based food industry. Governments across various countries announced relaxations on some of the competition law requirements placed on alternative proteins, mainly for meat alternatives. For instance, the FDA relaxed its guidelines for selling plant-based meat products. Earlier, due to labeling concerns, the FDA did not allow direct-to-consumer sales of the Impossible raw plant-based meat burgers.
The COVID-19 epidemic has highlighted the connection between public health and animal meat consumption, which has resulted in consumers switching to a plant-based diet; hence, many companies in the plant-based food space have already started changing their strategies to meet the increased demand from consumers. For instance, companies such as Beyond Meat Inc., Impossible Foods Inc., and Tofukry Co. are ramping up their production, discounting their plant-based alternative products to appeal to more consumers, expanding into more stores, and partnering with stakeholders. Furthermore, to further capitalize on the increasing opportunities in the plant-based food sector, leading manufacturers, such as Cargill, PepsiCo, Smithfield, and Tyson are implementing various growth strategies, including expansions, new product launches, diversifications, and acquisitions.
The global plant-based food market is segmented based on type, source, distribution channel, and geography. The study also evaluates industry competitors and analyses the market at a country level.
Based on type, the plant-based food market is segmented into dairy alternatives, meat substitutes, meals, baked goods, confectionery, RTD beverages, eggs substitutes, seafood substitutes, and others. In 2022, the dairy alternatives segment is expected to account for the largest share of the plant-based food market. The large market share of this segment is attributed to factors such as the increasing number of lactose intolerant people, the growing ethical concerns amongst consumers about animal abuse in modern dairy farming practices, and the nutritional benefits offered by plant-based dairy products. However, the seafood substitute segment is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period due to the increasing consumer demand for vegan seafood, the rising number of investments and food innovations in species-specific seafood alternatives, and the increasing number of new product launches.
Based on source, the plant-based food market is segmented into soy, almond, wheat, pea, rice protein, and others. In 2022, the soy segment is expected to account for the largest share of the plant-based food market. The large share of this segment is attributed to factors such as the easy and wide availability of raw materials, lower cost compared to other sources, significant demand from meat alternatives manufacturers, higher consumer acceptance level, and its wide range of applications in numerous food & beverage sectors, including meat, dairy alternative, and bakery. However, the pea segment is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period due to the increasing desire amongst consumers to find sustainable and good tasting alternatives to animal-based proteins and the rising number of investments from leading manufacturers to increase pea protein production.
Based on distribution channel, the plant-based food market is segmented into business to business (B2B) and business to customers (B2C). In 2022, the B2C distribution channel segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the plant-based food market. The large share of this segment is attributed to factors such as the increased sales of plant-based food in well-established supermarkets and hypermarkets chains; consumers prefer shopping from brick-and-mortar grocers due to easy access and availability, and the increasing consumer expenses on vegan food products. This segment is also expected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period due to the rapidly growing online retail sector.
Based on geography, the plant-based food market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa. In 2022, North America is expected to account for the major share of the plant-based food market. The leading position of North America in the plant-based food market is attributed to factors such as the high awareness regarding the importance of protein-rich diets, increased health consciousness amongst consumers, a well-established food sector, higher adoption of technological advancements in the food & beverage industry, and significant investments in the plant-based sector. However, the Asia-Pacific plant-based food market is developing and expanding significantly. The market in Asia-Pacific is demonstrating signs of strong growth in the future.
Some of the key players operating in the global plant-based food market are Beyond Meat Inc. (U.S.), Impossible Foods Inc. (U.S.), Danone SA (France), Garden Protein International, Inc. (Canada), Amy’s Kitchen Inc. (U.S.), Plamil Foods Ltd. (U.K.), The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (U.S.), Sahmyook Foods (South Korea), Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company (Australia), Axiom Foods (U.S.), Daiya Foods Inc. (Canada), Earth's Own Food Company Inc. (Canada), Lightlife Foods, Inc. (U.S.), Marlow Foods Ltd. (U.K.), Taifun –Tofu GmbH (Germany), Atlantic Natural Foods LLC (U.S.), VBIte Food Ltd (U.K.), Nutrisoy Pty Ltd. (Australia), Nestlé S.A. (Switzerland), and Unilever PLC (U.K.).