EDMONTON - Oct 8/19 - SNS -- The North American plant based protein market is growing and becoming its own category, believes 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," she said.Â
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.ÂSeveral categories were driving bigger gains, including soy cheese, meat alternatives, tofu and plant-based beverages.Â
Consumers are also looking for plant-based protein on restaurant menus. ÂA 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.Â
As for Canadian data, year-over-year growth in plant-based burgers was about 6% in 2017. However, the experience of some companies suggests the greatest potential for this product is in Ontario and British Columbia, with consumers in the Prairie provinces showing less interest in plant-based burgers.
Some observers think plant based meat substitutes represent a fad rather than a fundamental shift in eating patterns, with future growth more likely to happen at the expense of other protein substitutes rather than meat. However, future growth projections for the sector are not based solely on replacing meat, but rather incorporation in a wider range of food and nutritional products.
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