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Growing Demand for Plant-Based Proteins to Drive Growth of the Meat Substitute Market

Gauri Cmi

The meat substitute market has been growing rapidly owing to the rising demand for plant-based proteins. Meat substitutes provide vegetarian and vegan consumers with alternatives to meat-based products while offering similar texture and flavor. These products are made from plant-based ingredients like soy, wheat, and pea protein. Soy-based meat substitutes have been around for decades and are widely accepted. However, newer products made from wheat and pea protein are gaining popularity due to fewer allergens and flavors that mimic meat more closely.

The global meat substitute market is estimated to be valued at US$ 2.48 billion in 2024 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 4.2% over the forecast period of 2024 to 2030.

Rising health and environmental concerns, coupled with increasing vegan and vegetarian demographics, are fueling the demand for meat substitutes globally. Manufacturers are investing in new product launches and marketing strategies to capture the large Global Meat Substitute Market Size opportunity.

Key Takeaways

Key players: Key players operating in the meat substitute market include Sanofi, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Taro Pharmaceuticals, Mylan N.V., and Perrigo Company PLC among others. These companies are introducing new formulations and line extensions to strengthen their market position.

Growing demand: The global meat substitute market is witnessing strong demand due to the rising preference for plant-based protein diets. Millennials and generation Z consumers are inclined towards veganism and sustainability which is driving the sales of meat alternatives. Developing nations are also contributing to the market growth through increasing health consciousness

Technological advancement: Product innovations in terms of mouthfeel, taste, and nutrition are boosting the demand for meat substitutes. Companies are developing new formulations using pea, wheat, legumes, and mycoprotein to more closely mimic the sensory qualities of animal meat. Technologies like 3D printing are also being explored for structuring plant-based meat substitutes.

Market Trends

Flexitarian trend: More people are reducing their meat consumption and following semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diets. This has increased the adoption of meat alternatives which can be used as substitutes on non-vegetarian days.

Focus on sustainability: Consumers today prefer brands that are environmentally sustainable. Meat alternatives have lower carbon footprint and water usage compared to animal meat which is driving the ‘green’ trend in the market.

Market Opportunities

Product innovation: Developing new formulations across protein types, flavors and formats presents lucrative opportunities. There is scope to differentiate products for specific diets like keto, paleo etc.

Global expansion: The alternative meat industry in western markets is matured while developing countries offer high growth potential. Localizing products based on regional taste preferences will aid international expansion.

Impact of COVID-19 on Meat Substitute Market Growth

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of the meat substitute market on a global level. During the initial phases of the pandemic when lockdowns were imposed worldwide, supply chains were disrupted massively. This led to shortages and inflated prices of animal-based meat products. As people avoided meat consumption due to safety concerns, the demand for plant-based meat substitutes surged exponentially. Companies engaged in the manufacturing of meat substitutes like veggie burgers, sausages, nuggets etc witnessed a boom in their sales. Even post lockdown, the trend of reduced meat intake has continued among health-conscious consumers.

Although supply constraints were faced initially by meat substitute producers in obtaining raw materials, production soon scaled up to cater to the rising demand. Many new companies also entered the market seeing lucrative prospects. The health benefit perception of plant-based diets as opposed to animal meat got further reinforced during the pandemic. The focus on immunity boosting nutrition prompted more experimentation with vegetarian options. The COVID-19 disruption has accelerated the transition towards sustainable meat alternatives on a long-term basis. Investments continue to flow into this area for innovation and geographical expansion.

North America Region Holds Highest Value Share in Meat Substitute Market

The North American region, led by the US and Canada, accounts for the largest share of the global meat substitute market in terms of value. Strong health awareness levels, focus on animal welfare and flexitarian dietary trends have propelled the demand highly here. Companies based in America have pioneered innovations in this space over the years. Food chains and restaurants actively promote plant-based meat choices. With rising environmental concerns, the vegan and vegetarian population is also growing steadily. All these factors have cemented North America's leadership position in the meat substitutes industry.

Asia Pacific Emerging as Fastest Growing Region for Meat Substitute Market

The Asia Pacific region has been witnessing doubledigit growth rates in the meat substitute industry over recent years and is emerging as the fastest expanding market globally. With developing nations like China and India having huge populations and rapid urbanization underway, lifestyle changes are noticeably visible. Younger consumers are adopting more globally influenced diets here. At the same time, concerns around animal welfare and sustainability are also raising. Local production of meat substitutes is witnessing sizeable investments to cater to the burgeoning demand. As disposable incomes rise across Asia, the market sees promising prospects with widespread popularity of vegetarian cuisines as well.

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Gauri Cmi
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