In 2021, the global plant-based food market was valued at US$39.42 billion and is anticipated to grow to US$103.56 billion by 2027. Plant-based food refers to a wide range of food products derived from natural plant ingredients. Plant-based food items have long been known for their importance in vital nutrition and human health. These products are typically prepared from fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils, whole grains, and legumes, with no animal ingredients. A plant-based diet has less cholesterol and saturated fat, is an excellent source of the vitamins B1, C, and E, folic acid, magnesium, and iron, and may help lower the risk of having certain types of cancer, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and metabolic disorders.

Food manufacturers ranging from startups to leading CPG companies are innovating rapidly in the plant-based food market. Next-generation plant-based meat, eggs, and dairy products are increasingly competitive with animal products on taste, price, and accessibility. Some of the major reasons why consumers are shifting their preference towards plant-based foods are the fear of an increase in animal-borne diseases, rising health concerns, and demand for clean label products & natural products. The plant-based food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.52% over the forecast period of 2022-2027.

Market Segmentation Analysis:

By Type: The report provides the bifurcation of the plant-based food market into four segments based on type: Dairy, Meat, Egg, and Others. In 2021, the dairy segment lead the plant-based food market, accounting for more than 60% share of the market, owing to the increase in occurrences of milk allergies and lactose intolerance cases. The plant-based egg market is expected to grow at the highest CAGR as plant-based eggs are cholesterol-free, and allergen-free due to which they are largely accepted by consumers suffering from health-related issues. The plant-based dairy market is further segmented into six types: Milk, Cheese, Icecream, Butter, Yogurt and Others. The milk category dominates the plant-based dairy market, acquiring more than 40% share of the market in 2021.

Furthermore, the milk section of the plant-based dairy industry is divided into four product segments: almond, soy, rice, and others. And, the plant-based meat market is classified into six segments based on product: burgers, sausages, crumbles, nuggets, meatballs, and others.

By Distribution Channel: In the report, the global plant-based food market is divided into four segments based on the distribution channel: Supermarkets & Hypermarkets, Online, Convenience Stores, and Other store-based. Supermarkets & Hypermarkets dominated the market in 2021 with almost 46% share of the global market. The online segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period since it saves time for both buyers and retailers while also providing a high level of comfort to consumers, as they don’t have to bear the hassles of traffic or getting ready while shopping online.

By Region: The global plant-based food market can be divided into four regions: Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, and the Rest of the World. The Asia Pacific dominated the market in 2021 with more than 40% share of the global market. The increased use of innovative technologies for product innovation, partnerships between domestic and international food companies, and rising government R&D expenditures in the food sector are the key factors driving the Asia Pacific plant-based food market.

North America plant-based food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 18%. The US is the leading plant-based food market within the North America region, because of growing concern about the environmental impacts of livestock production and meat availability. In the report, the US plant-based food market is further divided into eight segments: Milk, Meat, Creamer, Icecream, Butter, Cheese, Eggs, and Others.

Global Plant-based Food Market Dynamics:

Growth Drivers: One of the most important factors impacting plant-based food market dynamics is favorable government initiatives. Governments around the world have set a variety of rules and restrictions in order to boost the consumption of plant-based diets. Seven international plant-based food associations have joined forces to form the New International Plant Based Foods Working Group in order to encourage the expansion of plant-based foods and to promote the creation of a level playing field for plant-based foods. Furthermore, the market has been growing over the past few years, due to factors such as rapid urbanization, growing vegan population, growing grocery e-commerce sales, increase in diabetic patients, emergence of flexitarians, growing environmental concerns, rise in number of lactose-intolerant people, increase in plant-based food investments, etc.

Challenges: However, the market has been confronted with some challenges specifically, comparatively higher price range, significant preference for animal based products, etc. Despite the fact that many consumers are shifting toward plant-based diets, many others still favour animal-based items. Taste, nutritional profile, and protein content are some of the reasons they continue to prefer animal-based products. Taste appears to be a contentious issue for producers. People find it challenging to switch to plant-based diets due to a lack of similarity in taste and feel.

Trends: The market is projected to grow at a fast pace during the forecast period, due to various latest trends such as increasing usage of Artificial Intelligence, rise in social media marketing, rising popularity of plant-based meat and seafood, emergence of 3D printing plant-based meat, increased focus on taste & texture of plant-based food, increased raw material diversity & category expansion, etc. 3D printing enables the upscaling of low-value items (such as vegetable rejects and meat offcuts) as well as the use of novel ingredients to create appealing and healthy food products. This can be both healthful and environmentally beneficial because it can aid in the conversion of alternative ingredients. This also allows for dietary customization, which aligns with individual needs and preferences. As a result, with the advent of 3D food printing, the market for plant-based foods would expand.

Impact Analysis of COVID-19 and Way Forward:

The pandemic disrupted global plant-based food supply chains in the early months of 2020, reducing access to attractive, safe, and diverse diets. However, consumers’ concern for their health intensified as the pandemic developed. As a result of rising health awareness, the adoption of vegan diets has increased dramatically, directly increasing the global plant-based foods market in 2020. The market is predicted to grow as firms shift production to plant-based foods and consumer preferences evolve, owing to an increased emphasis on health and well-being fueled by pandemic-related concerns.

Competitive Landscape:

The global plant-based food market is fragmented, with the presence of large number of small- and medium-sized suppliers in the market.

The key players of the global plant-based food market are

Nestl? S.A.
Archer Daniel’s Midland Company
Beyond Meat Inc.
Danone S.A.
Unilever PLC
The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
Conagra Brands (Garden Protein International Inc.)
Otsuka Holdings (Daiya Foods Inc.)
Impossible Foods Inc.
Atlantic Natural Foods LLC
Plamil Foods Ltd.
Tofutti Brands, Inc.
Eden Foods, Inc.
Amy’s Kitchen Inc.

Some of the strategies among key players in the market for plant-based food are product launches, mergers, acquisitions, and collaborations. In 2022, Beyond Meat Inc. has launched the Beyond Burger And Beyond Meatballs at approximately 2,000 stores nationwide. Whereas, Beyond Meat’s chief competitor Impossible Foods Inc. launched the company’s latest food concept in the frozen aisle with a new lineup of single-serve frozen entrees: Impossible Bowls - delicious plant-based meals ready in minutes. Danone SA announced the launch of the first dairy and plants blend baby formula on July 5, 2022, in response to parents’ desire for vegetarian and flexitarian options for their kid. Danone created the new Dairy & Plants Blend baby formula, which is a nutritionally complete formula that combines the finest of dairy and plants.