“Whether it is due to health, ethics or sustainability reasons, North American consumers’ interest in plant-based protein foods is growing,” says Jeewani Fernando, provincial consumer market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
She says that a recent survey showed that 39% of Americans and 43% of Canadians are actively trying to incorporate more plant-based proteins into their diet.
“We are also seeing an increased number of investment deals in plant-based food companies such as new start-ups, new product offerings and partnership across the sector.”
“It shows that plant-based proteins are no longer just a meat replacement but is evolving into its own category.”
The market data shows that the demand for plant-based proteins in both retail and food service has increased.
Using Nielsen data, Fernando says that the retail market for plant-based protein products in Canada grew 4% to $1.7 billion in 2018. It made up about 7% of the total protein sales as well.
“Several categories were driving bigger gains, including soy cheese, meat alternatives, tofu and plant-based beverages.”
Consumers are also looking for plant-based protein on restaurant menus. “A recent U.S. study found a 19% growth in plant-based protein cases shipped from broad line distributors to restaurants. Of those shipments, 44% were meat or beef alternatives.”
As for Canadian data, year-over-year growth in plant-based burgers was about 6% in 2017.
“This trend will present many opportunities for our food manufacturers, brand developers and retailers looking for ways to capitalize on specific protein needs of consumers who are opting for plant-based proteins,” she adds.
Read Consumer Corner’s Demand for plant-based protein.
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