THE RAPID GROWTH OF PLANT-BASED FOODS

In the past few years, the real innovation in the food market has been driven by alternative food options. Although “perfection” is still to be achieved, next-generation plant-based meat, egg and dairy products are becoming more and more competitive with animal products on taste, price and accessibility. Currently valued at USD 14.3 billion, the plant-based food market is expected to reach the value of USD 88.00 billion by 2029. Its fast, high growth rate is mainly due to three reasons: increasing consumer interest in plant-based diets, the rising consciousness for animal rights and the widespread awareness regarding benefits of plant-based meat over animal-based meat.

If plant-based meat is naturally becoming an integral part of a vegan diet, an increasing number of customers are rapidly opting for a vegetarian lifestyle that does not contemplate the consumption of animal-based foods. In this scenario, the rising incidences of lactose intolerance and milk allergies among people are expected to contribute to the increasing demand for dairy alternative. While the soy source segment accounted for a revenue share of 48.34% in 2021, due to low cost and wide availability of raw material across the world, pea source – soy-free, gluten-free, and lactose-free – is expected to experience its fastest growth in the coming years.

Good Food Institute reports that sales for plant-based foods in 2021 have grown three times faster than those for non-plant-based ones; in particular, plant-based online retail showed a 199% year-on-year increase, making it the ‘category of the year’. Since the retail segment includes also grocery stores, food & drinks specialty stores and supermarkets, it is worth remembering how the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the local demand for plant-based food products, whose global sales are expected to witness a further increase by 2030 at a CAGR of 19.9%. The increasing popularity of flexitarian and vegan diets is going to boost also the HO.RE.CA. segment, with a forecasted value of 14,054.7 USD Million by 2030.

With about 3% of its population being vegan, Europe’s figures confirm the global trend. According to a recent survey, European flexitarians have planned to go vegan or vegetarian in the near future, while meat eaters are increasingly opting for plant-based foods. As more consumers are rapidly changing their eating habits, the demand for plant-based meat food is expected to witness a significant growth in Europe in the coming years.
Frozen plant-based meat continues to be the most important category by dollar sales, representing 59% of total plant-based meat sales, followed by refrigerated plant-based meat at 40% and shelf stable plant-based meat at 1%.

Soy, seitan, tofu and textured proteins are becoming familiar names as these ingredients gain popularity among consumers. Even in Italy we have the same scenario: retail is expected to lead the growth, with an average CAGR of 19.9% by 2030.

As the industry acknowledges the staying power of plant-based alternatives, we have seized this opportunity to launch a new section dedicated to them on our website. Our range of plant-based products has been carefully selected with the double aim of contributing to improve our consumers’ health and that of the environment. In a rapidly evolving market, reshaping our offer is our way to keep meeting our customers’ needs which, in turn, must respond to the ever-changing consumers’ demand.

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