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Meal Replacement Market Trends, Industry Overview, Business Opportunities, and Leading Players

Meal Replacement Market Trends, Industry Overview, Business Opportunities, and Leading Players

The global meal replacement market is estimated to be valued at USD 11.9 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 15.5 billion by 2026, recording a CAGR of 5.4% during the forecast period in terms of value. The demand for meal replacement products is attributed to the increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes, coupled with the increasing population of health-conscious consumers, changing consumer lifestyles, and the availability of convenient, nutritious meals in the form of meal replacement.

Meal Replacement Market Trends

  • Health and Wellness Focus: Consumers are increasingly prioritizing health and wellness, leading to a surge in demand for meal replacement products that offer balanced nutrition and support specific dietary goals such as weight management, muscle gain, or overall health improvement.
  • Convenience: Busy lifestyles and hectic schedules have propelled the demand for convenient food options. Meal replacement products provide a quick and hassle-free alternative to traditional meals, appealing to consumers seeking on-the-go nutrition solutions.
  • Personalization: With growing awareness about individual nutritional needs, there's a rising demand for personalized meal replacement options. Companies are leveraging technology, such as apps and online platforms, to offer customized meal plans tailored to consumers' dietary preferences, allergies, and health goals.
  • Plant-Based and Clean Label: The shift towards plant-based diets and clean label products has influenced the meal replacement market. Consumers are seeking products made with natural, minimally processed ingredients, free from artificial additives, preservatives, and GMOs. Plant-based meal replacements are gaining popularity due to their perceived health and sustainability benefits.
  • Functional Ingredients: Meal replacement products enriched with functional ingredients like probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are gaining traction. These ingredients offer additional health benefits, such as improved digestion, immune support, and enhanced energy levels, making meal replacements more appealing to health-conscious consumers.
  • Online Retail and Subscription Services: The rise of e-commerce and subscription-based models has transformed the distribution landscape of meal replacement products. Direct-to-consumer brands are leveraging online platforms to reach a broader audience and offer convenient delivery options, fostering customer loyalty through subscription services and personalized shopping experiences.
  • Focus on Taste and Texture: As consumer expectations evolve, there's a growing emphasis on the taste, texture, and overall sensory experience of meal replacement products. Manufacturers are investing in product innovation and flavor development to create appealing options that mimic the taste and mouthfeel of traditional meals, enhancing consumer satisfaction and acceptance.

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The emergence of plant-based and vegan meal replacement products

Meal replacements made from vegan ingredients are stocked with plant protein, fiber, good fats, and vital vitamins and minerals. A new breed of fluid meals called vegan meal replacements can perfectly substitute regular food. Some meal replacements come in single-serving bottles that are ready-to-eat (drink), making them a fantastic alternative for food on-the-go, while others are available as a powder that can be combined with milk or water to produce a shake. They are delicious and nutrient-dense. Specifically designed for patients and athletes, the US-based Vejii Holdings launched a plant-based meal replacement called Heal in 2021 that includes plant-based protein, powdered fruits and vegetables, anti-inflammatory superfood extracts, probiotics, and prebiotics.

North America dominated the meal replacement market and is projected to grow with a CAGR of 4.6% during the forecast period (2021–2026)

North America accounted for the largest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.6% during the forecast period. CDC suggests that chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke, affect six out of ten Americans. Chronic illnesses are the main contributors to health care costs as well as the major causes of death and disability in the United States.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines), provided by the US health department, offer recommendations to satisfy nutrient requirements, advance health and fend off diseases The Dietary Guidelines are updated and published every five years by the US Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA). The presence of health policies focusing on healthy eating and improved lifestyle choices, together with the willingness of consumers to spend on meal replacement products, contribute to the larger share of the US.

Top Companies in the Meal Replacement Market

Key players in this market include Abbott Laboratories (US), Glanbia (Ireland), Amway (US), Herbalife Nutrition (US), Nestle (Switzerland), Atkins (US), Huel (UK), Kellogg Co. (US), Skin Enterprises Inc. (US) and USANA Health Sciences Inc. (US).

Since meal replacement is a growing market, the existing players are fixated upon improving their market shares, while the newer startups are being established rapidly in the meal replacement segment. Meal replacement can be classified as a competitive market as it has a large number of organized players at the global level as well as unorganized players present at the local level in several countries. There are numerous existing and emerging companies across the globe.

Abbott Laboratories is an American multinational company that specializes in various fields such as nutrition, medical devices, diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals. It has over 99,000 employees and is spread across 150 countries, advancing global health. Abbott has a variety of brands through which it innovates products. Some of the brands include Ensure, Vital, and Glucerna, among others. The company has a global presence in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, North America, and South America.

Amway is a multilevel marketing company that specializes in the manufacturing of beauty, health, and home care products. It is a global community that has a presence in over 100 countries. The company is primarily focused on manufacturing macronutrient supplements that can be used as meal replacement products. It offers products worldwide through its brands, such as Nutrilite, Artistry, Attitude, XS, and Amway Queen, among others. The type of products offered by the company include BodyKey by Nutrilite Meal Replacement Shake Mix.

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