In recent years, there has been an evident shift towards incorporating more plant-based products in restaurants, supermarkets, and all around the food sector. The growing awareness of the benefits that come from adhering to a vegan diet appear to be growing exponentially, as more individuals and organizations take a turn towards a 100% plant-based lifestyle.
Most stores now are stocked with multiple plant-based protein options such as vegan burgers that mimic the look, taste, and feel of a regular beef or chicken patty. It is the same case when searching for a protein supplement. It is no longer an issue to find the only plant-based protein powder or bar, options are so abundant that the real question today is which kind of plant-based protein would you truly prefer.
But how did we get to this point? Looking back just a few years ago, plant-based products didn’t have the hype that they have in our food industry today.
In fact, consumption of animal products has been rising exponentially for the past six decades. However, it appears that the coronavirus pandemic changed that trajectory.
The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report last year where they noted that per capita consumption of meat had reached its lowest level in over 9 years – falling an approximate of 3% from 2019, representing the biggest change in consumption of meat since the year 2000.
Major organizations have taken notice of this growing industry trend, so much that Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat processor took 5% stake in plant-based startup Beyond Meat – moreover, Tyson Foods invested $150 USD million towards its venture capital fund, Tyson New Ventures LLC, in an effort to broaden their exposure to innovative new forms of protein and methods of producing food.
Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company, expanded its offerings by acquiring The Vegetarian Butcher in 2018 and introducing it into 30 markets – they later partnered with Burger King to launch an even greater range of plant-based menu alternatives. The brand even projects a $1.2 billion USD sales target for its plant-based products, goal to be accomplished over the next 5 to 7 years.
M&S, a major British multinational retailer, feels very confident about the outlook of the plant-based market that it established an ‘innovation hub’ 100% focused on the innovation of its food business. In 2019, the brand introduced a new branch under its business, Plant Kitchen, which exceeded initial expectations and is currently a major private label vegan brand with nearly 19% of market share. Via this hub, they intend to continue to raise awareness on the benefits that come from a vegan diet.
With so many large meat companies shifting towards offering vegan options, the growing demand for plant-based products, and the rise of health and environment trends, the prospect of our food industry is clear – the future of meat is vegan.