The consumption of plant-based meat as simply a novelty is a thing of the past. As new health and sustainability-conscious generation of people grow older and play a bigger role in the global economy, the demand for plant-based meat is quickly increasing. Concerns about the substantial greenhouse gas emissions produced by the meat industry, recognition of animal cruelty, and knowledge of the long-term health risks of traditional meat consumption are all contributing factors. In 2020, as more people embraced flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan diets, the market value of plant-based meat worldwide grew to 6.67 billion dollars. This figure is estimated to steadily increase over the next few years and reach 16.7 billion in 2026.
Currently, Europe is the continent with the largest market share and is projected to account for the largest market share for the next 3-4 years. Europe’s plant-based food industry has grown 49% in the past two years, with the most considerable growth coming from Germany (226%), followed by Austria (82%). While Europe will likely continue to dominate the plant-based meat market, for the time being, analysts expect Asia to be the leading consumer in the long run due to a rapidly growing population and environmental restrictions. China, for example, has pledged to see carbon emissions peak by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060, an effort that will require a significant decrease in traditional livestock farming and will ultimately prompt the production and consumption of alternative protein sources.
Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Oatly are among the many market players bringing plant-based meat to an increasing number of restaurants and grocery stores. Beyond Meat is currently making the most noise in the industry, as it has recently contracted deals with KFC and Pizza Hut. This Monday, KFC restaurants nationwide will add Beyond Meat’s plant-based fried chicken to menus, a launch that comes after years of testing to create a meat substitute that mimics the taste and texture of whole-muscle chicken rather than the ground up the consistency of chicken nuggets. In Canada, Pizza Hut will permanently add Beyond Meat’s plant-based sausage to its menus starting Monday.