Plant-based meat refers to vegan alternatives, resembling meat products in texture, color, appearance, and flavor and sometimes without any other animal or dairy products. These alternatives act as a meat substitute but have the same amount of protein content is known as a plant-based meat product. This meat is curated to taste like conventional meat and involves the usage of the only vegan, sustainable, and environmentally friendly ingredients. These products are designed to counter the significant consumption of meat, which has a drastic impact on the environment.
The plant-based meat products help in reducing the meat intake, which minimizes the risks of cardiovascular diseases, lowers blood cholesterol, maintains calories, and increases protein consumption. Since this meat variant is considered to be ecologically sustainable, it is widely available across restaurants, cafes, fast food joints, hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience specialty stores, and other catering platforms.
This demand for this meat is driven by the rising vegan and flexitarian population across the world, rising incidence of health disorders, which is boosting health and fitness consciousness among consumers and is helping to increase awareness about the health benefits of plant-based meat over animal meat.
Therefore, owing to such health benefits, the global plant-based meat market is expected to grow at a rapid rate during the forecast period. However, allergies or sensitivity related to this meat, leading to increased intestinal permeability and gut inflammation may restrict the growth of this market.
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Due to the increasing reach of social media across the globe, and growing concerns about the food industry transparency regarding the efficacy, ill effects, and sustainability of animal-based protein foods, consumer buying decisions are greatly influenced. The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, which is suspected to be originated from an animal, the shift of consumers from meat products to plant-based meat, is increasing rapidly. Consumers across the globe are reducing animal meat, owing to the increasing awareness of the link between high meat consumption along with the spread of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as supported continuously by scientific evidence over the years.
As per the research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), related elevated rates of red meat intake is leading to 26% chances of developing more than nine NCDs, including obesity, diabetes, strokes, and Alzheimer's. The World Health Organization (WHO) also listed red and processed meat as carcinogenic and harmful for health. Adulteration and infections in meat can cause brain disorder, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, muscle pain, fever, and other kinds of diseases. Therefore, the rising prevalence of such diseases associated with meat consumption is projected to augment the growth of the plant-based meat market over the forecast period.
Furthermore, the potential advantages of plant-based foods providing better health outcomes and higher nutritional value are expected to further increase the demand for plant-based meat. These products help consumers with the daily protein supply required for better health equally like animal meat. As per the study conducted by Oxford University, it was found that a 'healthy' diet that contains less meat could prevent 5.1 million deaths worldwide by 2050, which will boost the demand for plant-based meat products.
The growing popularity of the vegan diet among consumers is one of the key plant-based meat market trends. Rising awareness regarding the welfare of animals is also helping the consumers to shift their focus towards veganism. Consumers are preferring a vegan diet as it is rich in fiber and antioxidants and has other beneficial plant compounds.
Additionally, it helps in improving kidney functions and lowering blood sugar levels as well as the risk of heart diseases. Furthermore, the increasing vegan population across the world, especially in countries like the U.S., the U.K., etc. will also positively impact the demand for plant-based meat in the market.
Based on geography, the plant-based meat market is categorized into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central, and South America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa. North America is expected to have the largest share in the global plant-based meat market. The growth can be attributed to adverse COVID outcomes. The retail chains in the U.S. have started making more shelf and storage space for plant-based meat products to meet its growing demand.
Additionally, Canada's Food Guide focuses on plant-based foods over animal proteins, which is also anticipated to increase the demand for these products and drive market growth. Moreover, growing health consciousness among consumers due to changes in lifestyle and less physical activities have increased the concerns of people about overweight issues and obesity. Therefore, consumers are becoming conscious about their food consumption, which is anticipated to increase the demand for plant-based meat products.
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Furthermore, the rising number of new product launches due to the presence of major players will also significantly influence the growth of the plant-based meat market in the region. For instance, since the launch of the first plant-based burger by Beyond Meat in 2016, the market has been highly consolidated by the U.S.-based startups Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods Inc. in North America.
The growing number of the vegan population in the region due to changes in consumer preferences will also boost the demand for plant-based meat. According to a series of at least 24 different studies conducted by polling services, world-renowned publications, the federal government, and animal advocacy platforms, it was estimated that there are around 6.5 million Americans who self-identified themselves as vegans in the U.S. in 2019 which shows that the demand for vegan products like plant-based meat will observe a surge in demand.
Europe is anticipated to hold the second-largest share in the global plant-based meat market owing to the increasing demand for plant-based food in the region. The growing preferences of consumers towards organic and genetically modified (GM) free products along with a rising number of flexitarians, vegetarian,s and the increasing trend of veganism are expected to propel the demand for the plant-based meat market.
As per Vegan Life Magazine, the number of vegans in the U.K. has risen by a whopping 350% over the past decade, with veganism becoming one of the fastest-growing lifestyle choices among the population. The increasing demand for vegan products from the U.K. and Germany will support the consumption of plant-based meat in the region. In addition to this, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the total vegan market was worth 1.96 USD billion in the year 2018, with Germany leading the market, which shows the rising preference of consumers towards veganism, therefore boosting the demand for plant-based meat.
The ongoing pandemic and adverse comparisons of animal-based food are also expected to enhance the demand in the region. In addition to this, the dietary guidelines to reduce the consumption of animal meat consumption and the imposition of taxes on meat consumption is also anticipated to increase the demand for plant-based meat products. For instance, Denmark is considering proposals for imposing a red meat tax to encourage people to consume plant-based meat products.
Furthermore, the rise of the ethical and health-conscious consumer segment and the growth of animal welfare rights groups have gained significant traction and has caused a significant switch in consumer preferences, which is expected to further boost the demand for plant-based meat.
The global plant-based meat market comprises several players. The key players of the market are focusing on strategies such as partnerships, acquisitions, expansion of product portfolios, research and development activities, and investments to cater to the increasing demand for meat substitutes and increase their market share to sustain in the market. For instance, Beyond Meat launched new types of plant-based meat burgers that are similar to meat-based burgers in taste, look, and smell in July 2018.