Plant-based alternative meat products are experiencing a rapid rise in popularity in the modern marketplace due to consumer demand and corporate competition.
The plant-based alternatives market was valued at $29.4 billion in 2020, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence (BI) report. The report estimates that number could skyrocket to $162 billion by 2030. BI also predicts that plant-based meat sales could outpace traditional foods, pass 2020’s $74 billion grocery retail sale of meat, and hit $118 billion by 2030.
Companies such as Impossible Food, Just Eat, Oatly, and Beyond Meat are the largest producers of alternative meats.
Chain restaurants such as Taco Bell, Jamba Juice, Chipotle, and Starbucks are now collaborating with these plant-based food producers to offer alternative meat products, namely burgers and sausages. Starbucks already offers the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich made from plant-based meats from Impossible Food. Last year, Taco Bell tested Beyond Meat’s plant-based meat at certain locations, catering their marketing to vegan customers.
Consumers are driving the trend towards plant-based meats. As many as a third of the U.S. population identifies as flexitarian, a group that primarily eats vegetarian but occasionally indulges in meat or fish, BI said. Additionally, 53% of consumers prefer the taste of plant products to animal products. However, the price gap between traditional meats and plant-based products remains a concern for consumers, and only 34% find that their alternative meat products actually taste like meat.
Businesses have seen the plant-based meat trend gain steam, increasing competition. This market movement has caught the attention of other food producers who seek to provide private-label versions of these products to compete against large manufacturers. Tyson, Kellogg, Nestle, Hormel, and Kraft Heinz are looking to expand into the plant-based space, and Kroger recently released the Simple Truth brand, which manufactures and distributes plant-based consumables.