Three Key Drivers of the Global Plant-Based Meat Boom

Three Key Drivers of the Global Plant-Based Meat Boom

A considerable number of U.S. consumers are adopting a flexitarian diet, and this change is projected to drive the growth of the global plant-based meat market in the coming years. Furthermore, a notable number of consumers, especially in North America and Europe, are following a vegan diet. Thus, a growing flexitarian, vegan, and vegetarian population is projected to positively impact the global plant-based food industry. 


Growing Environmental Concerns 

Environmental concerns associated with livestock farming are some of the key reasons behind the development of plant-based meat alternatives. Raising livestock contributes to approximately 14.5% of overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As per the Down to Earth Organization, “Livestock production is the most prominent methane contributor in the world and is responsible for the emission of more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined.” Furthermore, the majority of global agricultural land (70%) is used for livestock production; that land could be utilized for the production of plant-based agricultural commodities to feed the constantly growing population without emitting greenhouse gases.


Source: Down to Earth Organization; Kline’s Plant-Based Meat: Processing Alternatives and Ingredients Assessment report

Government bodies across the world, from the United Nations to the Honolulu City Council, acknowledged the negative impact of livestock production and therefore began to support the development of alternative proteins, including plant-based meat analog. They are encouraging people to adopt a vegetarian diet for the benefit of their health and the overall environment.

Population Growth

There are over seven billion people in the world; that number is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. A growing population means more mouths to feed and greater demand for food resources. In fact, global demand for meat is projected to reach 557 million tonnes by 2050; this is not sustainable, as it negatively impacts the environment. Thus, to fulfill the food requirement of such an immense population while protecting the environment, it is most likely that there will be a huge shift toward plant-based food sources in the future.  


Source: Good Food Institute; Kline’s Plant-Based Meat: Processing Alternatives and Ingredients Assessment report

Rapid Expansion of Key Players

Plant-based meat market leaders, such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, have successfully established their businesses in North America and Europe and are now expanding their presence in Asian economies. This is due to the growing inclination of Asian consumers toward plant-based meat and because new plant-based meat players such as Zhenmeat and Starfield are receiving a positive response from Asian consumers. Moreover, Omnipork, which is a plant-based meat company, has successfully presented its products in Hong Kong and are gaining positive responses from consumers.

Beyond Meat first set foot in China in 2019 when it worked in conjunction with the service industry player Marriot, which added Beyond Meat’s products into its menu. Impossible Foods also entered the Asian market in 2019, and its products have been introduced in several restaurants such as Little Bao, Happy Paradise, Beef & Liberty in China, and Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Singapore.

Despite the accelerated growth of the global plant-based meat market, taste remains the primary barrier that prevents more consumers from purchasing such products. However, with constant innovations in terms of product development and advancement in processing technologies, plant-based meat manufacturers are expected to curb the challenges associated with the texture and taste of plant-based meat analog.

For a detailed assessment of existing and new processing techniques used for plant-based meat products, refer to Kline’s Plant-Based Meat: Processing Alternatives and Ingredients Assessment study, developed in collaboration with the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research. The report’s focus is 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 receive timely insights on the food & nutrition industry, sign up for our newsletter here.

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Forecast to 2024: The Global Plant-Based Meat Market

Forecast to 2024: The Global Plant-Based Meat Market

Forecast to 2024: The Global Plant-Based Meat Market

The rising trend of adopting nutritious and healthy food products due to factors such as rapid urbanization and lifestyle changes has been driving the growth of the plant-based meat industry globally. Plant-based meat analogs are attractive options for consumers who are willing to change their diet and consume less meat but only if proper alternatives are proposed. In the last decade, the range of plant-based meat analogs in the market, developed by the food industry, has been significantly increased, offering products ranging from burgers and chicken to pork, meatballs, and more. 

Breaking Down the Global Industry by Region 

The plant-based meat analog industry has shown remarkable successes in North America and Europe, with the former being the largest region in the global plant-based meat analog market. The presence of established plant-based meat companies such as Beyond Meat, Gardein, Field Roast, and Impossible Foods and their constant product innovations have been the key driving factors of the North American plant-based meat market. Moreover, the government bodies supporting the development and growth of this industry also contributed significantly to its expansion. 

Meanwhile, plant-based meat analog producers are gradually establishing their roots in Asian markets, where they are projected to achieve notable performances in terms of revenue. However, there are obstacles. Several conventional soy-based meat alternatives, such as tofu and tempeh, have been widely consumed by the Asian population for decades.

Choosing the Right Protein Source

Plant-based meat analogs are derived from plant sources such as soy, wheat, pea, and quinoa; hence, they are becoming the preference of millions of flexitarians and vegetarians around the world. The soy segment dominates the global industry, and it is the most conventional and widely used plant-based source adopted by meat analog producers for its high nutritional value. Demand is expected to rise in the coming years.  

Pea proteins are increasingly used as an alternative to soy protein since pea plants can be grown in more moderate climates than soy. In addition, pea proteins are less connected to GMO concerns and are not listed as allergenic. Peas are projected to become one of the key sources of plant-based meat production and are projected to acquire a significant share of the overall plant-based meat market in the coming years, although the shortage of pea protein could be an issue in the near future.  

Major Product Categories and Analog Types 

Burgers are the most popular and easily available plant-based meat analogs. Several major plant-based meat analog players developed their business with burgers as the first and only plant-based meat product in their portfolio. For instance, Beyond Meat (U.S.) and Impossible Foods (U.S.) initially started their plant-based meat business with burger products; this segment is projected to grow at a considerable growth rate in the coming years, as these players are consistently developing and introducing an innovative range of burger products. Nowthe majority of plant-based meat manufacturers are focusing on producing a variety of plant-based chicken analog products. 


Source: Kline’s Plant-Based Meat: Processing Alternatives and Ingredients Assessment report



Source: Kline’s Plant-Based Meat: Processing Alternatives and Ingredients Assessment report


The Future of the Plant-Based Meat Global Industry with Scenario Forecasts

The global plant-based meat market is forecast based on three different scenarios: conservative, moderate, and optimistic. 

The conservative scenario is based on the retail sales growth trends of plant-based meat analog products. The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 20% during the forecast period to reach a market value of USD 5.60 billion by 2024. The rising demand for analogs free of GMOs, allergens, and gluten, combined with the limited supply of some protein ingredients, might impact market growth. Consumers’ negative perception toward highly processed food might also restrict the outlooks in the near future. 

The moderate scenario of plant-based meat analogs is based on sales growth trends, consumer trends, and insights from key industry experts who predict market growth to be around 30% in the next few years. Sourcing challenges could also be mitigated by ongoing actions from suppliers. At this CAGR, the market is projected to reach a value of USD 8.35 billion by 2024. The market growth is driven by an increasing global flexitarian population and current companies’ market expansions in terms of geographical footprints, sales channels, and expanding their product portfolios according to regional taste demands. 

The optimistic market forecast is based on the plant-based meat revenue performances of leading market players such as Beyond Meat, Tyson Foods, and the Vegetarian Butcher. For instance, the net revenue of Beyond Meat increased by 250% compared to that of previous years due to wide consumer acceptance of plant-based meat analog products based on their benefits, taste improvements, nutritional profile, and high accessibility.  

Moreover, enormous investments in the plant-based meat analog market in recent years are also considered while forecasting the accelerated plant-based meat analog market scenario. Considering the significant number of investments taking place, industry experts’ insights, and the revenue growth of the players, the plant-based meat market is projected to grow at a rate of 50% during the forecast period to reach a market value of USD 17.08 billion by 2024. 

To deep-dive into the market dynamics and ingredients behind plant-based meat from a global perspectiveread Kline’s Plant-Based Meat Global report, and watch out for our next article covering market dynamics with drivers and challenges. To receive timely insights on the food nutrition industry, sign up for our newsletter here.  

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