14 Nov 2018 --- Meat alternatives are becoming more widely available, with Tesco branches in both the UK and Ireland soon to be stocking new plant-based products from Netherlands-based Vivera and the US-based Beyond Meat. Innova Market Insights has hotly tipped “The Plant Kingdom” as its number two top trend for 2019, reflecting how vegan inspired eating continues to go mainstream.
As part of its The Plant Kingdom trend prediction, Innova Market Insights states that “the plant-based market shows no signs of slowing down and companies and brands are greening up their portfolios to attract mainstream consumers who want to add more plant-based options to their diets. For the mainstream consumer, going plant-based is about achieving a healthy and sustainable balance between meat and vegetables, rather than adopting an all-or-nothing way of eating.”
Indeed, 2018 has seen a flurry of plant-based activity and the number of vegans and vegetarians is snowballing. Many more people, particularly among the younger generations, are also reducing their meat intake, leading to a jump in the number of flexitarians. Innova Market Insights data reports that plant-based product claims increased by 62 percent globally (CAGR, 2013-2017) with growth occurring on platforms such as plant proteins and active botanicals.
Vivera, the fastest growing producer of plant-based meat alternatives in Europe, will be stocked in 42 Irish Tesco stores from this week. The supermarket will stock the company’s Veggie Steak product. Earlier this year, the steak alternative was introduced to UK Tesco stores and since then, more than 1 million pieces in Europe have been sold. Sainsbury’s also stock the brand and was the first supermarket to debut its Veggie Quarter Pounder product last month.
Tesco UK this week also launched its first vegan burger made by California-based protein brand Beyond Meat. The burger is 100 percent plant-based but is famously said to “bleed.” Tesco plans to launch the product in Ireland after Christmas, the Irish Times reports.
Beyond Meat, which counts Bill Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio among its investors, is working to change the meat we eat by replacing animal protein with plant-based proteins. The company’s mission is “to perfectly build meat from plants, delivering all of its benefits without the downside.”
Catering to consumers evolving eating habits
A recent DuPont Nutrition & Health study, conducted with HealthFocus International, highlights the significant market opportunity in plant-based food and the connection to many of the important trends shaping US consumers’ diet.
The research reveals that 52 percent of US consumers say that they are eating more plant-based foods and beverages, while the number rises to two-thirds, 65 percent, globally. It is important to make a distinction between those who are also reducing their intake of animal protein and those keeping animal protein consumption the same as the market becomes more complex and fragmented.
“Most important, our research reveals that for most consumers, this has moved beyond experimentation into a permanent change brought on by health, lifestyle and social factors, says says Greg Paul, Ph.D., MBA, Marketing Leader, Beverage Industry at DuPont Nutrition & Health.
As the world’s meat production is projected to double by 2050 according to UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) the availability of meat alternatives becomes more relevant than ever before. Consumption of plant-based meat alternatives could significantly reduce the environmental impact and the use of scarce resources including water and farmland.
As a University of Guelph study has noted, as the global population is expected to reach 9.8 billion, consumers need to eat less meat and the agri-food sector has to produce more plant proteins.
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