Market for plant-based foods continues to grow

Every year the market for plant-based foods continues to grow.  Globally, the market for products is expected to grow by about 18% per year to reach almost $92 billion by 2027, according to a new report by market research firm “Research and Markets”. 

The report says that consumer interest is driven by several different factors, including the rising support from medical professionals recognizing the health benefits of plant-based diets. They point to the reduced risk of diseases transmitted by animals and antibiotic resistance, and the ability to feed more people with fewer resources by producing meat from plants, fermentation, or cultivation from animal cells.  They also note that consumers can help to minimize air and water pollution, slow biodiversity loss, and protect the oceans by choosing plant-based options.

Sales of plant-based products in the US are growing three times as fast as overall food sales.  Grocery sales of plant-based foods that directly replace animal products grew 6% last year, and 54% over the past three years, reaching $7.4 billion. “As appetites grow for different plant-based meat types and formats, the category continues to expand and diversify,” the report says. “The plant-based meat market today is, in ways, reminiscent of the plant-based milk market when it was in its early stages.”

While plant-based milk currently accounts for 16 percent of all dollar sales for retail milk, the study says that with continued product innovation the vegan meat category has the potential to earn a similar share of the total meat market.

The market for vegan seafood is late to the party, but is also growing rapidly. This will help alleviate the pressure on both wild fisheries and aquaculture systems, while helping to meet the demand for an important source of food.

“Every year, we see advancements in the alternative protein industry that are opening the door for a global shift to a far more sustainable, secure, and just food system than the one we have today,” the report update notes. “Like 2019 and 2020 before it, 2021 was the most active year yet for growth in the alternative protein industry, and many signs indicate that the world is on the cusp of a global race for alternative protein innovation.”