Market for Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Market for Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Anusha Thakur (University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7350-0.ch012


Shifting consumer preferences towards meat alternatives can be attributed to the factors such as health and ecological benefits, as well as meat adulteration. Increasing consumer demand for better grade of meat alternatives is also expected to boost the market growth in the near future. Protein sources from maize, peas, rice, and chickpeas are anticipated to witness significant growth and new developments. Alternatives such as bean curd or wheat gluten are expected to be the beneficial source of protein and phosphorous. This can be attributed to the fact that 50 g of vital wheat gluten in combination with water produces 2 ounces of gluten in a solid form, which further comprises of nearly 38 g of protein in each serving. However, factors such as the higher cost of meat substitutes inhibit the market growth, particularly in developing economies, wherein the dietary awareness is expected to be lower. Further factors, related to gluten intolerance and soy allergy, are also anticipated to restrain the market growth. This chapter includes a market study of meat alternatives across the world based on analyzing, estimating, and forecasting for the 2015-2025 period. Market determinants of the meat alternatives market are also explored to analyze market drivers, restraints, challenges, opportunities, trends, and developments. The competitive landscape section includes information related to key market players with an overview of product portfolio and strategic initiatives.
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Traditional vegetarian and vegan options as well as lab-grown or cultured meat and insect-based food products as discussed in other sections of this book are also part of the emerging new markets for alternatives to livestock meat. This chapter however deals only with plant-based meat alternatives. These meat alternatives, also known as meat substitutes, meat analogues or mock meat, comprise of plant-based proteins, with nearly the same flavors, as well as aesthetic appearance, to resemble beef, poultry or other meat products.

In general, a meat based diet uses a substantially larger amount of environmental resources per calorie in comparison to a grain based diet – it takes around 2 kg to 15 kg of plant food products to produce 1 kg of meat (Joshi, 2015). Meat alternative products include textured vegetable protein (TVP), gluten-free vegan meat, seitan, the use of lentils, tempeh and tofu, with some of these foods having been used for a long time. For example, tempeh and tofu have been traditionally used in the Asian countries and are made from soybeans, which are rich in calcium and proteins. Soy based protein meat substitutes are preferred more on account of the facts that they are the cheapest source and also that they have protein digestibility corrected amino acid score equivalent to animal proteins (Hoffman, 2004). Furthermore, lentils and beans are very low in fat content while containing significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein, unlike the meat products. Seitan or wheat gluten has a higher protein content and is very much similar to meat in texture and taste. Such plant-based meat alternatives have low cholesterol as well as low saturated fat content, and are rich sources of proteins, minerals and vitamins.

Consumption of meat products by the group of “flexitarians” or people who are deliberately reducing their meat intake (Dagevos & Voordouw, 2013; Raphaely & Marinova, 2014; Raphaely, Marinova, Crisp, & Panayotov, 2013), is gradually decreasing (Euromonitor International, 2011; Hosie, 2017). This change among the consumers requires equivalent tasty and healthier products which act as substitute to meat products. With the growing health awareness among consumers and their shifting preferences towards plant based proteins, the plant-based meat alternatives are expected to witness surging demand over the coming years (Kenward, 2017). Moreover, factors such as growing demand for religious and wholesome foods, coupled with the rising number of animal diseases such as swine flu and bird flu are expected to increase the consumption of vegetable proteins, and in turn, bolster the market interest in meat alternatives. Increasing consciousness among the consumers for the health benefits of the vegan diet and plant-based protein products is expected to favorably impact the market demand. Continuing consumption of meat products is expected to reinforce concerns related to environmental risks, and animal welfare, which thereby increases the market for substitutes.

Furthermore, there are the health concerns associated with excessive consumption of meat leading to non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancers. Unease about cholesterol levels and fat related problems also contributes to the boost in consumer demand towards vegan products. According to the German Nutrition Society, the consumption of meat should be reduced to 2 to 3 servings a week, which is approximately 300 g to 600 g of meat a week (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung, 2018).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Meat: Flesh of an animal.

Market: A location where the buyers and sellers meet to exchange the goods and services at prices determined by the forces of demand and supply.

Proteins: Any of the various naturally occurring extremely complex substances that consist of amino-acid residues joined by peptide bonds, contain the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, usually sulfur, and occasionally other elements (such as phosphorous or iron), and include many essential biological compounds (such as enzymes, hormones, or antibodies).

Plant-Based Diet: A diet based on food products derived from plants, which includes vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, legumes, and seeds, with very few or no animal products.

Alternative: (Of one or more things) Available as another possibility or choice.

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