Alternative proteins hold the key to a sustainable future for the planet. At present, the market is growing at an unprecedented pace – alternative proteins are a $2.2 billion market worldwide, poised to increase at a CAGR of 9.5 percent from 2019-2025 (Mintel).
This level of growth is currently accelerated by global turmoil. Retail prices for meat and seafood are impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic and disruptions from the war in Ukraine. The average price of ground beef has increased by 18 percent over 2021 (Bloomberg) and major suppliers expect price hikes for years to come.
The seafood supply is also impacted, especially the $27.5 billion annual U.S. sushi market. Wild Atlantic salmon is endangered in the U.S. and decades of overfishing have decimated global populations of species such as eel. Farmed seafood already accounts for 50 percent of the U.S. supply, but only a fraction is considered ‘sustainable’.
With these factors in mind, the alternative proteins market is only beginning to gain momentum. Read on to discover the three key trends affecting the market for meat, dairy, and seafood alternatives in 2022.
1. Consumers: Veggie Curious
Long gone are the days of cheap meat. In response to price hikes and reports of food safety concerns in animal farming, a growing number of consumers are embracing vegetarian or vegan alternatives. As a result, the share of alternative meat proteins grew by 317 percent on restaurant menus over the past three years (Mintel).
According to current surveys, 1 in 5 consumers report trying to limit their meat intake. Among those consumers already eating alternative meat products, those looking to increase their intake of these foods increased by 49 percent compared to one year ago (Mintel).
2. Market: Real Money in ‘Fake’ Meat Products
American grocery stores have been offering alternative protein products for decades. Today, the number of SKUs and suppliers is at an all-time high: the alternative protein market is projected to reach $17.9 billion by 2025 (Mintel). Looking ahead, every tenth portion of meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood eaten around the globe will be made from alternative proteins by 2035 (BCG).
Plus, it’s no longer just veggie burgers and ‘fake’ chicken nuggets. The alternative milk market grew by 60 percent from 2015-2020 and currently accounts for almost 15 percent of the total dairy market (Mintel). Overall, the underlying change in consumer tastes not only benefits businesses, but also the planet. By 2035, the shift to plant-based eggs and meat is expected to save more than 1 gigaton of CO2 equivalent (BCG).
3. Flavor Profiles: Better than the Real Thing?
Consumers are more conscious than ever about vegan, cruelty-free alternatives to meat. From an industry perspective, this demand has driven tremendous research and development efforts in the creation of plant-, microorganism-, and animal-cell-based alternatives.
But there’s a catch: Despite the health (and environmental) benefits associated with alternative proteins, consumers are not ready to compromise on taste.
In a recent survey, 36 percent of consumers report avoiding plant-based yogurts due to poor taste and minimal flavor options (Mintel). In a separate study, 54 percent of U.S. consumers agreed that meat alternatives should closely mimic the taste of meat.
The good news is that companies such as Bell Flavors and Fragrances are supporting companies in the alternative proteins industry with decades of experience. We offer extensive technology platforms that not only match the ‘real thing’ but hold their own ground in terms of originality and deliciousness.
Our experts create specific flavor profiles that mask bitter and unwanted flavors, boost delicious umami notes, and enhance the overall mouthfeel of alternative vegan and vegetarian proteins. As more and more consumers are ready to explore animal-free food options, our flavorists are working overtime to create the kind of taste sensations that leave them hungry for more.
About Bell Flavors & Fragrances:
Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. is a leading supplier of flavors, fragrances, botanical extracts and ingredient specialties to the food and beverage industry, as well as the household care and personal care industries, offering over 100 years of exceptional customer service and experience. Bell has nine manufacturing plants worldwide including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, and China. Bell operates sales offices in more than 40 countries. Bell’s global presence allows flexibility in the world marketplace while constantly responding to emerging industry trends with solutions that bring added value and business opportunities to our customers. bellff.wpengine.com
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