A five-year growth pattern could see alternative proteins lead the way for consumer choice.
The growth of alternative proteins is becoming a contender for sought after analogue products in its rise to rival that of traditional meat products.
A recently-released global research paper suggested growth of alternative proteins, including plant-based meat substitutes, emerging insect or algae-based products and lab-grown meat products, had started to compete for the ‘centre of the plate’ and was stealing growth from its traditional counterparts.
Authors of the Rabobank report ‘Watch out…or they will steal your growth’ warned a five-year trend could offer the chance for alternative proteins to capture a material share of animal protein demand growth in the EU and an increased market share in the US and Canada.
Report author, Rabobank global sector strategist for animal protein Justin Sherrard also said increasing momentum of the trend would see a move towards a growth in other established markets, such as Australia and New Zealand.
He said: “Three of the strongest demand drivers for alternative protein products are essentially those that are ‘pushing’ consumers away from regular animal protein consumption, namely concerns around health, animal welfare and sustainability.
“That said, there is also a number of ‘pull drivers’, such as curiosity to try new products, convenience and personal nutrition.
“Alternative proteins are not the only answer to the question the market is asking right now. But right now they are the answer that is attracting the most attention.”
Based on a prediction of annual growth rates of about 8 per cent in the EU – and the outlook for a relatively flat consumption growth of traditional meat products – Mr Sherrard said alternative proteins could represent one-third of total EU protein demand growth in the next five years.
But Rabobank’s general manager of Food and Agribusiness Research in Australia and New Zealand Tim Hunt said domestic market penetration of alternative proteins would lag that in the EU and US because local food industries were ‘not at the pointy end of the trend towards substitute food’.
“That said, the trends in Australia and NZ often eventually follow what unfolds in the EU and US, and it would be a waste not to learn from the experiences of producers in these markets,” he added.
“In line with their processing partners, meat producers need to recognise what is driving these substitutes, and do what they can to tap into the desire for healthy, sustainable and novel products delivered through a supply chain that consumers trust.”