Plant-based, Vegetarian, and Vegan Trends: A Closer Look

There has been a noticeable shift towards plant-based diets, with more and more people adopting vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. Aside from the potential health benefits, plant-based diets can also be a more sustainable and ethical choice. And, as these diets become more mainstream, they are likely to continue to attract more and more people.

One of the main advantages of a plant-based diet is the potential for improved health outcomes, as these have been associated with lower rates of chronic diseases. Studies have shown that vegetarians and vegans tend to have lower BMIs, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels than meat-eaters. This is because plant-based diets are typically lower in saturated fats and higher in fiber, which can promote healthy digestion and reduce inflammation. Moreover, plant-based diets are often more nutrient-dense than diets that rely heavily on animal products. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that support overall health and wellbeing. Many are also rich in antioxidants, which can help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation. Vegetarianism and veganism take plant-based diets a step further by eliminating animal products entirely. Vegetarians typically avoid meat, poultry, and fish, while vegans avoid all animal products, including dairy and eggs.

While these diets can be more challenging to follow, they offer additional benefits. Many retailers now have dedicated plant-based sections, which makes it easy to find plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy, and other animal products. These sections often include a variety of options, including plant-based meats, cheeses, milks, and yogurts. Some stores even carry plant-based versions of traditionally meat-based products like burgers, sausages, and hot dogs. In addition to dedicated plant-based sections, many grocery stores have also started to label their products as “plant-based” or “vegan.” This makes it easy to quickly identify which products are suitable for a plant-based diet without having to read the ingredient list carefully.

A Fast-growing Market

According to a Bloomberg Intelligence analysis, the market for plant-based meals could account for up to 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030 and reach a value of over USD162bn, up from USD29.4bn in 2020. (BI). The demand for animal and dairy proteins worldwide is predicted to exceed $1.2 trillion by 2030, according to the report Plant-Based Foods Poised for Explosive Growth, which details growth predictions for the market for plant-based meals throughout that year. The study claims that as they work with restaurants and large chains, industry behemoths Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Oatly are promoting an increase in plant-based food options. Competitors who are more traditional and well-established, like Kellogg and Nestlé, are stepping up their distribution of plant-based goods and creating marketing campaigns that highlight their diversity of options to gain an advantage. During the next ten years, BI expects consumer behaviors to change as people get more familiar with plant-based products and projects.

According to BI, the need for resources brought on by population increase will encourage the growth of plant-based foods. With a projected population of 4.6 billion people by 2030, the Asia-Pacific area is particularly vulnerable to a lack of food supplies, the report states. As a result, the region is projected to dominate the market for plant-based proteins, which is expected to grow from USD13.5bn in 2020 to USD64.8bn by 2030. By 2030, alternative dairy products in Asia-Pacific will account for 57% of the market there.

Comparatively, sales in North America and Europe will total about USD40bn, while those in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa would total USD8 to USD9bn each. Through 2030, a sizable portion of all plant-based food prospects will be occupied by meat substitutes. According to BI, the alternative meat market will increase from USD4.2bn to USD74bn in the following ten years if its development path is comparable to that of plant-based milk. Growing public awareness of the health and environmental advantages of plant-based meat, as well as ongoing price declines, are major growth drivers. In a more ambitious but still plausible scenario, sales of plant-based meat could surpass USD74bn and reach as much as USD118bn by 2030.

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