One of the greatest challenges the world is facing today is ensuring that the growing population has access to adequate, nutritious, and sustainable food. The global food system is under pressure to address this challenge, and this pressure is particularly high in the livestock production segment. The global consumption of beef, veal, poultry, and pork has grown by 30% in the last 15 years, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The demand for meat will continue to grow more than 13% in the next 10 years. Plant-based meat analog is an attractive option to address some of these challenges and provide a sustainable and nutritious alternative to meat.
Demand for plant-based meat alternatives is quickly growing globally, owing to the rising environmental concerns associated with livestock production, the increasing demand for plant-based and natural food products, and the perceived negative health impacts of red meat. Some government bodies across the world are supporting the plant-based meat analog industry to reduce meat consumption, estimated to have reached more than 34Kg per capita on a global basis. All these elements are echoed by the surge in flexitarian and vegetarian trends. So far, the crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic does not seem to have deeply impacted this fast-growing market. For example, earlier in April, Starbucks, the world’s biggest coffee chain, revealed that it is partnering with global plant-based leaders Beyond Meat, Omnipork, and Oatly to launch a brand new plant-based menu in China as the country continues to recover from COVID–19.
How can plant-based meat analogs “behave” like meat? Appearance, texture, juiciness, and flavor are some elements of meat that the new vegan alternatives are trying to capture with varying degrees of success. Processing and ingredients are obviously critical in reaching these goals. Soy, wheat, and pea are the most common and widely used proteins, along with other ingredients such as dietary fibers (or hydrocolloids), oil, flavor, salt, and color. Extrusion processes (low/high moisture) have been established, along with highly versatile production techniques that can be complemented by post-processing steps such as boiling, marinating, seasoning, and freezing to better improve the meat analog structure after extrusion.
Upcoming technologies like the shear cell, 3D printing might also change the dynamic of this emerging market. Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Garden Protein International, Morningstar Farms, Quorn Foods, The Vegetarian Butcher (acquired by Unilever), and Tofurky are some of the leading producers to be followed. Innovation and expansion are clearly their two key strategic pillars, adopted to grow and sustain in this promising global market.
Kline’s Plant-Based Meat: Processing Alternatives and Ingredients Assessment report focuses on the aforementioned trends in detail and presents data on the science and technology of plant-based meat, coupled with an overview of market dynamics and an ingredients assessment, as well as an analysis of current market participants. To preview what is inside the report, Kline also offers a concise but informative fact sheet that can be downloaded here.