Plant-Based Cheese and Meat Sectors on the Rise

Plant-Based Meat and Cheese on the Rise
iStock/Todor Tsvetkov

The global plant-based cheese and meat sectors are showing marked growth, according to two recent market reports.

The first report, released by Market Research Future, notes that lactose intolerance is a significant factor driving marketplace growth, but it also credits “substantial innovation” with the rise of the sector.

“It’s an exciting time for innovation,” explains Michele Simon, Executive Director of the Plant Based Foods Association. “And we’re seeing so many great-tasting options that it’s easier than ever to make the switch from dairy to plant-based.”

A survey conducted this summer by Comax Flavors found that 48 percent of consumers who choose plant-based dairy alternatives do so for reasons related to taste. Just 4 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed by Comax described themselves as vegan.

The plant-based meat industry is also on the rise, according to a new report from Markets and Markets. The report notes that the meat substitutes market is expected to reach $4.63 billion this year and to rise to $6.43 billion by 2023.

The report found that tofu and tofu-based products accounted for the largest share of the market last year, followed by textured vegetable protein.

Both reports note that Europe is showing the largest market growth in the plant-based foods sector, due in large part to the increasing popularity of plant-based diets in this region. France even saw the recent development of a vegan “Camembert” by French entrepreneur Anne Guth. The “Camembert,” which is made with cashew milk, is aged one month before sale.

However, this growth is far from limited to Europe. Market Research Future’s report found that the North American plant-based cheese market is projected to grow 7.79 percent by 2023, and during a recent webinar, SPINS predicted that 2018 would see a rise in plant-based proteins such as hemp and moringa.

Last year, the dairy milk and cheese industry proposed the Dairy Pride Act which would forbid the plant-based sector’s use of words like milk, yogurt, and cheese on plant-based dairy products. While ostensibly developed to reduce consumer confusion, many plant-based dairy proponents believe that the Act was developed to fight the growing popularity of plant-based cheese, milk, and yogurt among consumers.

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Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.