Plant based meat industry – the facts
The burning question for small business owners and entrepreneurs considering venturing into the vegan meat industry is this: is there potential to grow?
The answer is yes, and these statistics explain why:
– Going meatless is becoming more popular every year, with vegans and vegetarians set to make up a quarter of the British population by 2025.
– Consumer demand is changing, and as concerns grow for the negative impact the meat industry is having on the environment, so do the number of households drastically reducing their meat intake. Nielsen data from March 2021 revealed that over 27% of British households have replaced meals containing meat with vegan or vegetarian alternatives, at least once per week.
– Research by Mintel revealed that since 2014, sales of meat-free foods across the UK have grown an impressive 40% from £582 million to an estimated £816 million in 2019.
– Food delivery company Deliveroo’s vegan orders spiked by 163% over twelve months in 2020, hitting an all-time high in January 2021, when over 500,000 Brits signed up to Veganuary.
– 7.2 million British adults currently follow a meat-free diet, with that number expected to rise to 13 million by the end of 2021.
– In Europe, 40% of people are already reducing the amount of meat they eat (Source: BEUC, 2020).
– It is evident that younger generations are more concerned about the environment, and the health benefits of reducing their meat intake. Over a fifth of Gen Z (20%) already follow a meat-free diet, with a further 26% planning to drop meat altogether by the end of 2021, according to a report conducted by finder.com.
The future of the plant-based meat industry
When speaking to Startups, Shani Wright, Head of Global Media Relations at plant-based meat producers Heura Foods, offered exciting insight into the future of the vegan meat industry. She said:
The current global population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, according to the United Nations, and a plant-based diet is the most practical and sustainable solution to address feeding the world. In terms of competition, no matter what side of the fence you're on today, over the next few years, the plant-based meat category will continue to grow and eventually become meat´s successor. Leaders in the food system of tomorrow will need to stay focused on the ultimate goal - feeding the people of the world with healthy, sustainable meats. We're already seeing major players like Unilever and Tesco invest millions in plant-based meats, and it won't stop there. And like they say, rising tides raise all ships.
Another fundamental factor to consider when contemplating the potential of starting a plant-based meat business is – how satisfied consumers currently are with the products available to them.
There is a correlation between vegan meat becoming more popular, products becoming tastier, and brands being more inventive.
So, for further insight, we asked two consumer experts to explain their opinions on plant-based meat:
Dr Sunni Patel – gut health influencer and clinician-scientist, who creates plant-based food recipes to share on his website Dishdashdeets:
Why do you like plant-based meat?
For me its a combination of factors:
- From an environmental perspective, it requires less square footage of land to produce than it does to make meat products
- From a food perspective, it allows people to still experience the umami flavours associated with meat and still have a similar taste profile to meat
- From a health perspective, some products if eaten in moderation are healthier and less inflammatory than eating meat products and a good source of protein
Do you believe plant-based meat is healthier than meat?
Some would say they are unhealthy as they are ‘processed’ and inherently have more ingredients than their meat counterpart.
However, we need to remember that most ingredients are included to fortify the product so it can be a source of B-vitamins and Iron. There is also research showing that a plant-based alternative to an 80g lean beef burger is lower in calories, has less saturated fat, cholesterol free, and can also have twice as much iron, and considerably more B12, Zinc and Calcium.
It is worth noting, though that the plant-based burger did have higher Sodium levels than the beef burger. There has also been evidence of better cholesterol levels in those eating plant-based compared to beef. So are they healthier, some of the evidence suggests it can be, but it is limited to date so I would say healthy if eaten in moderation.
What inspired you to start eating plant-based products? Are you vegetarian/vegan?
I am plant-based and having been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease for over 7 years and suffering quite badly with the symptoms I felt that a change in my diet was necessary in order for me to better manage my conditions and symptoms.
18 months on, since going plant based I feel better, more energetic, and have been able to have a better handle of my flare-ups and condition. Mentally it has also helped me as it allows me to be more creative in the kitchen and experiment with fruits and vegetables.
Alina Gromova-Jones, nutritional therapist and founder of plant-based restaurant Kojo:
What do you like about plant-based meat?
When you think about plant-based meat you’re expecting something with a similar texture, taste and colour as meat. That includes the way you cook it. This is the quirk about these alternatives. There are so many brands to choose from, making it easier for people to find a product that fits them and their tastes. It’s nice to know that I can enjoy similar meals with friends & family, in a plant-based way, without feeling like I’m missing out.
Plant-based meats nowadays are more palatable. It’s a better alternative for the planet, our environment and health. If you are making the switch to plant-based, please make sure to speak to a nutritional therapist who can better advise where you can get zinc and iron if you’re removing meat from your diet.
What are your favourite products and brands?
There are plenty of new products and brands to choose from. As the Co-Founder of KOJO, a plant-based eatery, we are doing a lot for the plant-based movement. Our dishes are inspired by popular favourites made plant-based, and still remain accessible to every type of customer.
I have enjoyed trying and tasting different products. There is a really great tofu sausage I love, with a fantastic peppery taste to it. The tofu sausage is from Taifun. When you fry it, it develops a really crispy and beautiful texture on the outside. It’s a great size and really substantial.
My go to plant-based burger is from Neat Burger. I haven’t found a patty yet that I can cook at home, but I have a list of products that I am excited to try. Anything made from jackfruit I feel like you can’t go wrong. If you cook it right you can get a really great meaty texture.
Meet the vegan meat, plant-based pros
Now you’ve got the insight, the best thing you can do is take advice from the entrepreneurs who’ve been dominating the plant-based industry over the last few years. Especially as the market grows more competitive every day…
With demand increasing and popularity rising, it’s not just smaller companies who’ve thrown their hat into the plant-based food ring. Big-name brands such as Richmonds, Papa Johns, and Greggs (how can anyone forget the uproar caused by the vegan sausage roll) all offer a vegan range.
Businesses excelling in this space have been innovative, with imaginative marketing campaigns and creative branding. The Vegetarian Butcher is a perfect example of this, using a clever play on words to name their range of products, including their plant-based ‘Little Willies’ sausages – a Startups favourite.
Other, larger companies, with real grasps on the vegan meat market, are American giants Beyond Meat, and direct competitors Impossible Burger.
In Europe, Netherlands based Vivera has the furthest outreach and success than any other plant-based meat producer in Europe. Whilst the Linda McCartney range of vegetarian and vegan products has been manufactured since 1991, making it the oldest plant-based meat company in the UK.
In terms of the businesses making a real name for themselves in the industry, there are a fair few to choose from. We spoke to two of the most successful, both of them kindly offering their own insight and experience of working in the plant-based meat industry.
Launched in Brazil in 2019 and expanding to the UK in January 2020, Future Farm, known as Fazenda Futuro in Brazil, is an independent food company that uses cutting-edge technology to create the best plant-based meat on the market.
We spoke to Marketing Director Pedro Zuim about Future Farm, and its success in the plant based food industry.
What values/reasons drove you to start a business in the vegan meat industry?
The founders’ environmental concerns drove the creation of the brand. Co-founders, Marcos Leta and Alfredo Strechinsky, united in concern for the world population’s rate of meat consumption and launched the brand with an aim to improve the world’s nutrition and to build a safer future for our planet, and those in it.
How did you grow your business?
There’s been a gap in the market for plant-based products which really are indistinguishable from meat when it comes to taste and texture… that’s how the company grew, word of taste. In Brazil, the Future Farm Burger accounts for a staggering 23% of all meat and non-meat burger sales.
In January 2020, we struck an exclusive deal with Sainsbury’s, as a part of their Future Brands programme, both online and across 400 stores nationwide. Our sales are strong and our consumer base is growing rapidly… and this is down to a few factors, taste, and our ethical and sustainable goals.
What do you predict the future holds for the plant-based food industry?
This category is booming, and the demand for meatless ‘meat’ alternatives has never been so wanted. Red and white meat is only the start, this category is growing fast and evolving into multiple areas.
What is the product you are most proud of and why?
We’ve just launched our 2030 range, which is an ‘upgraded’ version of our plant-based mince, burgers, and meatballs. These have been specifically produced to correspond to Goal 12 and Goal 15 of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. They’ve been ‘upgraded’ with a unique mix of natural extracts to ensure a lighter flavour and we’ve also used canola oil and coconut fat for added nutritious benefits.
It’s our healthiest yet but trust me, it’s still very indulgent and ‘meat’ like. The coconut fat soaks into the Future Burger to give it a juicier and meatier taste than previously, and it’s the first in our range to perfectly emulate rare, medium, and well-done cooking points.
Heura is a plant-based startup founded in April 2017. The company's mission is to create solutions that will leave the current food system obsolete and accelerate the transition to a world where animals are out of the equation. The Barcelona-based start-up closed 2020 with a turnover of €8 million, triple the previous year, making it one of the fastest-growing companies in the European plant-based industry.
We spoke to Shani Wright, Head of Global Media Relations, about Heura Foods and its success in the plant based food industry.
What values/reasons drove you to start a business in the vegan meat industry?
Social justice is our drive. Many people in the team have long been involved in activism and view the technology Heura has created as a tool to further our movement to protect the things we love most: the planet, people, animals and our cultural heritage.
How did you grow your business?
We have been fortunate to be embraced by the community early on, which has really helped to grow Heura as a business. We're building a global movement of not only followers, but partners in our mission. From a marketing standpoint, this has translated to organic engagement and content creation from our community of Good Rebels – people who are genuinely passionate about accelerating the transition to a plant-based food system.
What do you predict the future holds for the plant-based food industry?
It's an exciting time for the plant-based food movement. The original plant-based products of tofu and seitan were healthy but lacked the sensorial experience that was sought-after. From there, we saw Silicon Valley developing delicious plant-based meats that offered great experience but weren't always good for a healthy lifestyle.
Now, Heura is leading the plant-based meat 2.0 movement. Through cutting edge technology we've been able to create new products that offer all the amazing benefits of eating animal meat, without all the problems.
Any tips on starting a plant-based meat/food company?
I encourage entrepreneurs to do what they love. I always say, Heura is a purpose with a brand vs. a brand with a purpose. It's with this passion for pursuing social justice that started Heura. And, don't get discouraged if you get some rejections.
When Heura first started out, people called us crazy dreamers. Now, just four years in, we were able to close 2020 with a turnover of €8 million, triple the previous year. The plant-based protein transition will happen, and it's our job to accelerate this movement.
What is the product you are most proud of and why?
We're really proud of our R&D team for their breakthrough in creating a new solid fat analog that gives the texture and bite of beef from extra virgin olive oil, which is healthier and more sustainable than any other oil. The fat analog brings the sensorial experience of meat, helps reduce the environmental impact of livestock consumption, and improves cardiovascular health. We've already incorporated this into our Heura Burger 2.0 and will continue to leverage this new technology in new product rollouts throughout the year.
Using this knowledge to grow your own plant-based meat business
Reading insight from successful businesses should leave you excited, and inspired, about starting your own plant based food company.
The potential of the market is huge, and the stats don’t lie… veganism and vegetarianism are on the rise!
Before jumping straight in however, consider your motivation behind starting a business in the plant-based industry. Running a business that is built on sustainability, environmental awareness, and ethical practices is the best route to success. Without these values, your plant-based business venture could simply wither away.
Want more sustainable business ideas? Check out our article on starting a sustainable transport business.
Who is the target market for plant based meat? ›
Sixty-one percent of respondents aged 18-29 reported that they are either likely or very likely to purchase a plant-based meat alternative product in the near future, compared to just 38 percent of 60-69 year olds and 50 percent of 50-59 year olds.What is the biggest plant based meat company? ›
- Boca Foods Company (Kraft Foods, Inc.)
- Gardein Protein International, Inc. (Conagra Brands, Inc.)
- Impossible Foods, Inc.
- Maple Leaf Foods.
- MorningStar Farms (Kellogg Na Co.)
- Quorn Foods.
- The Vegetarian Butcher (Unilever PLC)
- Vbites Food Limited.
In U.S. retail in 2021, plant-based meat made up 1.4 percent of the dollar share of total meat market, while plant-based seafood composed an estimated 0.1 percent of the retail dollar share amount of all seafood products—IRI data suggests that 2021 U.S. retail sales of all seafood products were $16.9 billion.Who owns this meat free? ›
One brand that's helping to accelerate the behavioural change is THIS™. Founded in 2019 by Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman, the vegan food company is currently storming the supermarkets with its products, which are largely targeted at meat lovers looking for familiar tastes and textures.Will plant-based meat be the future? ›
The new food future
Indeed, Lux Research predicts that by 2054, plant-based meat will command one-third of the global meat market. There are multiple ways to help animals and create a more sustainable food supply.
- Amy's Kitchen. Amy's Kitchen is known for its frozen entrees and prepared foods, many of which are fully plant-based and contain vegan meats. ...
- Beyond Meat. ...
- Impossible Foods. ...
- Kellogg. ...
- Maple Leaf Foods. ...
- Pinnacle Foods. ...
- Quorn Foods. ...
While a large percentage of people choose to eat plant-based meats for animal welfare or environmental reasons, many people choose these protein sources because they believe it is healthier than eating a piece of chicken, steak or other meat.Is plant-based better than real meat? ›
Though plant-based meats still contain saturated fat, they contain far less saturated fat than animal meat on average. Plant-based meats also contain some fiber and plenty of protein, if not just as much protein as animal-based meats.Is the plant-based meat market growing? ›
“According to the latest research study, the demand of global Plant Based Meat Market size & share in terms of revenue was valued at USD 7.5 billion in 2021 and it is expected to surpass around USD 15.8 billion mark by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 15% during the forecast period ...Is plant-based meat becoming more popular? ›
With the growing popularity of veganism comes the growing popularity of vegan food products. According to the Good Food Institute, vegan products grew 27% in sales this past year. Among these products are plant-based meats that companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat sell.
How does plant-based meat impact the meat industry? ›
They're hardly making dent. A new study showed that increased demand for plant-based meat only drove a 1.2% decline in ground beef production—which amounts to a 0.15% decline in US cattle production.How many plant-based meat companies are there? ›
Around the world, more than 800 companies and brands either primarily focus on plant-based foods that directly replace animal products or have a business unit or product line focused on such products.Who owns Mcdonald's meat? ›
OSI Group is an American privately owned holding company of meat processors that service the retail and food service industries with international headquarters in Aurora, Illinois. It operates over 65 facilities in 17 countries. Sheldon Lavin is the owner, CEO and chairman.How many animals are saved from meat free Monday? ›
If every American stopped eating meat for just one day a week for a year, the eco-friendly effects would be staggering. For starters, the blog Counting Animals found that following Meatless Monday for one year would spare an average of 3.5 animals a year per person.Why are people switching to plant-based meat? ›
To Blaustein-Rejto, the data suggests that most people are using plant-based meats as an extra source of protein rather than a direct replacement for meat. “It seems that it's people who aren't eating much meat who are turning to these products,” he says.Can plants fully replace meat? ›
Professor Louise Fresco says plant-based and meat substitutes will not replace meat consumption in future global diets.What is the main ingredient in plant-based meat? ›
Store-bought plant-based meats are usually made of some combination of soy or pea protein, spices, vegetables, and natural flavors. Ingredients may vary depending on the product. For example, tofu and tempeh are made from soybeans. Jackfruit is, well, a fruit.What is the new fake meat called? ›
Big names include New Wave Foods, which makes faux shrimp with seaweed- and mung bean-based ingredients; Good Catch, whose plant-based seafood products range from fish sticks to crab cakes and rely on a mix of pea, soy, chickpea, lentil, fava bean, navy bean protein; and Ocean Hugger, which specializes in tomato-based ...What is the fake meat called? ›
Vegan meat — also called faux, fake, mock, meat analogs, or plant proteins — are products that mimic certain qualities of animal-based meat-like textures, flavor, or appearance, for example. They are made from various ingredients such as soy, textured vegetable protein, or wheat gluten, to name a few.What are the three main reasons for eating plant-based meats? ›
According to a study by the Good Food Institute, it was shown that plant-based meat uses 47%-99% less land, emits 30%-90% less greenhouse gas, causes 51%-91% less aquatic pollution and uses 72%-99% less water.
What problem does plant-based meat solve? ›
Plant-based meat solves both problems. It requires a fraction of the cropland and proportionately less fertilizer. It also produces no manure, eliminating both the eutrophication and the direct human health risks associated with massive amounts of untreated animal waste.Why is plant-based better than meat? ›
The health factor
A plant-based diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. And people who don't eat meat — vegetarians — generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than nonvegetarians do.
|Headquarters||El Segundo, California, U.S.|
|Revenue||US$406.8 million (2020)|
|Number of employees||472 (31 December 2019)|
The cost of plant-based meat is projected to reach parity with conventional animal meat by 2023, according to new information from nonprofit organization Good Food Institute (GFI).Can you eat plant-based meat everyday? ›
The answer is yes, according to new research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It found the imitation meats to be a good source of fiber, folate and iron while containing less saturated fat than ground beef. But the researchers said they also have less protein, zinc and vitamin B12 — and lots of salt.Why is it called plant-based meat? ›
A meat alternative or meat substitute (also called plant-based meat or fake meat, sometimes pejoratively) is a food product made from vegetarian or vegan ingredients, eaten as a replacement for meat.Are plant-based meat more environmentally friendly? ›
Plant-based meat emits 30%–90% less greenhouse gas than conventional meat (kg-CO2-eq/kg-meat). Worldwide, animal agriculture contributes more to climate change than exhaust emissions from the entire transportation sector.How big is the plant-based meat industry? ›
Most alternative meat products are formulated in factories, and their demand for plant proteins and other ingredients favors Big Agriculture, with its well-documented problems of monoculture, pesticide use, soil erosion and water pollution from fertilizer runoff.Should plant-based meat be called meat? ›
Plant-based food products should not use words like "beef" and "chicken", nor use images of animals on packaging, according to recommendations from a Senate inquiry.
What technology is used for plant-based meat? ›
Bioprinting: Similar to 3D printing, bioprinting is an idea for how to bypass growing cultures to create plant proteins. This technology is in its early stages, and there are no food products on the market created using bioprinting.Is plant-based meat actually healthy? ›
“Some of those products, even though they contain high amounts of plant-based protein, may also contain unhealthy ingredients, such as high amounts of sodium or unhealthy fats,” he said. “Being plant-based doesn't necessarily mean it's healthier.”Who are the top plant-based food companies? ›
- Amy's Kitchen Inc. Amy's Kitchen has been producing nourishing and satisfying plant-based foods since 1987. ...
- Archer-Daniels-Midland Company. ...
- Daiya Food, Inc. ...
- Tofutti Brands, Inc. ...
- Plamil Foods Ltd. ...
- Danone SA. ...
- Eden Foods, Inc. ...
- Vbites Food Ltd.
Whole Foods Market
It carries an extensive array of both own- and name-brand plant-based products. From its selection of dairy-free cheese to its meatless grab-and-go foods—this supermarket is a one-stop-shop for all things vegan. In its report, the GFI ranked Whole Foods in a first-place tie with King Soopers.
Asked generally about the quality of its meat, McDonald's USA says "Our burgers are made only with 100% USDA inspected beef. There are no preservatives or fillers in our patties and the only thing ever added is a touch of salt and pepper on the grill.Does McDonald's use real eggs? ›
How are McDonald's Eggs Prepared? Good question. Our breakfast menu items are all made with real eggs—they're just prepared a little differently for each sandwich.Does McDonald's buy meat from China? ›
Chinese poultry-focused Sunner Development Group has celebrated with much fanfare its first dispatch this week of value-added and pre-cooked chicken products to McDonald's.What happens if all humans stop eating meat? ›
If people no longer ate inflammatory animal-based foods, cholesterol and blood pressure could lower, acne could become less frequent, people could experience better digestion, and the rate of disease could decrease.What would happen if everyone stopped eating meat for a day? ›
Lowering your intake of meat makes a notable environmental impact. According to extensive research, if everyone went vegetarian for just one day, the U.S would save 100 billion gallons of water, and we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Can you eat fish on a meat free day? ›
Is it OK to eat fish? Despite the campaign name, Meat Free Monday encourages supporters to go fish free too.Who is the target market for Beyond Meat? ›
Plant-based burgers have existed for decades before Beyond Meat. Why did it work for them? CEO and founder Ethan Brown understood that the target audience was not only vegetarians and vegans, but also flexitarians, or meat-eaters who occasionally want a healthier, high-quality option.What is the market for plant-based food? ›
Plant-Based Food Market Outlook (2022-2032)
|Plant-based Food Market Size (2022E)||USD 10.9 Bn|
|Value CAGR (2022-2032)||12.2%|
|Top 3 Countries Market Share||35.8%|
Impossible Foods' main audience segment is millennials, who are most likely to be interested in a plant-based diet. That's why it's thought Impossible Foods could also attract far more millennial investors who are also more likely to base their portfolio choices on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.Who buys plant-based? ›
Who is the Plant-Based Shopper? One-third of Americans are actively reducing their meat and dairy consumption. While a small number of Americans identify as vegetarian or vegan, flexitarians represent the largest growth opportunity for plant-based foods.When did plant-based meat become popular? ›
Americans looking to cut back on meat are following a movement forged by a groundbreaking book, 'Diet for a Small Planet.Is Beyond Meat a good long term investment? ›
Until that happens, Beyond Meat will just be a yo-yo for day and swing traders. Long-term investors should avoid it and buy more promising growth stocks instead.What is the future of Beyond Meat? ›
He's projecting a 16% compound annual growth rate for plant-based protein through 2027, up to $14.3 billion from about $6 billion last year. That said, that estimate is a deceleration from his previous 2019 estimate for a 30% CAGR through 2025.Why plant-based foods are the future? ›
Sustainability takes the front seat
Research indicates that greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods2. As consumers become more aware of this fact, they are making a larger effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
“According to the latest research study, the demand of global Plant Based Meat Market size & share in terms of revenue was valued at USD 7.5 billion in 2021 and it is expected to surpass around USD 15.8 billion mark by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 15% during the forecast period ...
Why plant-based is popular? ›
A plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the risk of some diseases. A plant-based diet is also healthier for the wallet and watch too, with fruit, vegetables, and legumes typically more affordable than meat and dairy products.Who is the supplier for Beyond Meat? ›
The agricultural and food production company Cargill has invested $75 million into Puris which, in turn, is the biggest pea protein producer in North American and is the supplier for Beyond Meat.What companies are invested in Beyond Meat? ›
In November, blue horizon invested in the alternative food company Beyond Meat. With this investment, blue horizon hopes that Beyond Meat will be able to develop their existing line of products and make plant-based protein more available and affordable than ever.Why people choose plant-based meat? ›
42% of participants, who said they tend to buy vegetable-based proteins, claimed they do so because they are "healthier than meat." Another 35% said that they choose to go meatless because they "prefer the taste." Notably, according to additional information provided to Tasting Table from Veylinx, only 29% stated they ...Is plant-based Really Better? ›
Yes. A plant-based diet is considered to be nutrient-dense and packed with fiber, healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is a very healthy way of eating and can meet all of your nutrient needs.Does plant-based Really Work? ›
Are plant-based diets healthy? Research reflects that following a plant-based diet has significant health benefits as long as you do it correctly. “No matter when you start, a diet that is focused on plant foods will help you work toward the prevention of many illnesses and feeling better overall,” Zumpano says.