Innova Market Insights says its research has shown that the number of people eating meatless meals is increasing, leading to the rise of the ‘flexitarian’ customer.
The Innova data reveals a 60 per cent rise in global food and beverage launches using a vegetarian claim between 2011 and 2015. Launches featuring the term ‘vegan’ also grew to 4.3 per cent of total introductions in 2015, up from 1.5 per cent in 2012.
The company says the trend towards reducing meat intake in the diet has led to the emergence of new opportunities to target vegans, vegetarians, non-meat eaters and non-red-meat eaters. New opportunities are emerging, too, for so-called ‘flexitarians’, who mainly eat a plant-based diet, but occasionally eat meat.
Plant-based proteins being used as meat substitutes are a potentially massive new market, according to Innova. While most replacements are still wheat or soy-based, Innova expects egg, pea and nuts protein alternatives to grow.
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“This trend represents a growing opportunity for high-quality meat alternatives, which is also being reflected in the 24 per cent average annual growth in global meat-substitute launches recorded between 2011 and 2015,” Innova Market Insights Director of Innovation Lu Ann Williams said.
“Paradoxically, another key area of opportunity in meat substitutes may be in targeting meat eaters as much as vegetarians. While many vegetarians may opt for a diet rich in vegetables and beans, meat eaters may turn to meat substitutes if the product is right.
“Instead of just finding alternatives, technological solutions also need to be focusing on the development of meat substitutes closely mimicking the taste and texture of meat products.”