All over the world we are seeing the meat and dairy sectors coming up against more competition due to the growth of viable plant-based alternatives. With an increasing amount of the population now seeking out these alternatives and options becoming more readily available there are multiple factors that will drive the growth of these substitutes going forward.
The growth in the plant-based sector has mainly been driven by the majority appearance of the ‘flexitarian’ consumer (people who still eat products that contain meat and dairy but want to reduce the amount of each they are consuming), as well as increased numbers of vegetarians and vegans. The main driver behind these increased numbers seems to have come as a response to a mixture of ethical, environmental and health concerns.
Although this trend has been slowing gathering momentum for a while now, the media coverage significantly increased in 2019. With lots of restaurants, and fast food chains starting to have a dedicated “meat free” sections on their menus, the popularity of a vegan or, in some cases, flexitarian diet really started to build and still continues to increase today.
As well as the increase in ‘meat free’ options available at restaurants, many retailers have swiftly increased the shelf space they have dedicated for plant-based products as well as increasing their own label NPD. With companies now investing greatly in obtaining and producing new products and brands which appeal to the rising consumer demand for plant-based products, growth in this sector can only continue.
A vital component to ensure growth in this market is definitely further product innovation in meat and dairy alternatives, one of the main obstacles for ‘flexitarian’ consumers is the taste and texture of traditional meat and dairy products that the plant-based alternatives lack.
In January 2020 over 400,000 people decided to go Vegan for the month, that is a massive 150,000 more people than in January 2019. Veganuary 2020 saw fast-food giants KFC, Burger King and McDonald’s offering Vegan options on their menus, and even Greggs added to their range of Vegan offerings with the creation of their Vegan Steak Bake.
During January 2020 Deliveroo estimated that the requests for vegan dishes had almost doubled when compared the previous year and Hellman’s saw a growth of nearly 400% in sales of their Vegan Mayo in Tesco.