The UK meat substitutes industry will grow by 25% by 2021, according to research from Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence.
Changing consumer habits, and the rise of the flexitarian diet, has led to a trend towards vegetables and meat alternatives. By 2021, the UK milk alternative sector is predicted to rise by 43%.
The growth in the market for meat substitutes also includes new products being brought to market at both the cellular and acellular level.
Informa said that the change in eating habits reflects increasing concerns amongst UK consumers around health, animal welfare, and the environmental impact.
Earlier this year the country’s biggest chicken supplier, 2 Sisters Food Group, suspended operations at some of its plants after employees were reportedly changing use-by dates on poultry products.
While total sales of milk alternatives was $280 million in 2016, sales are expected to reach $400 million by 2021.
Over the same period, UK sales of milk are predicted to rise by just 5.2%, from $3.87 billion in 2016 to $4.07 billion in 2021.
While UK demand for meat alternatives is growing rapidly, there is much greater growth predicted in the US (up 43%), Australia (46%), and China (46%).
When it comes to milk alternatives, 43% growth predicted in the US and 47% in Australia. In China, where the market is already much higher, growth is predicted to be 19% by 2021.
Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence special reports and projects director Alan Bullion said: “As consumers in the UK and around the world begin making tentative steps away from milk and meat due to animal welfare, environmental, or health concerns, we’re expecting to see continuing strong growth in sales of alternative protein products.
“While milk and meat alternatives are still a long way from impacting on the massive global meat and milk markets, they will continue to capture a slice of the growing worldwide protein market.”
Data released last year from Innova Market Insights showed a 60% rise in the number of global food and beverage launches using a vegetarian claim between 2011 and 2015. Launches featuring the term vegan also rose to account for 4.3% of total introductions in 2015 – up from 2.8% in 2014 and just 1.5% in 2012.
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