The global research firm MarketsandMarkets recently published its Meat Substitutes Global Forecast through 2020, concluding that the future is bright for the growing industry. We are happy to share this summary of the findings for the US market.

US Comparison

The United States is expected to continue long term and steady growth for the foreseeable future, with growth of 4.1% projected through 2020:

  • The U.S. is the top meat substitutes market in the world, valued at $854 million in 2014, and expected to grow to $1.1 billion by 2020;
  • The U.S. accounted for 24% of the world’s meat substitutes market;
  • As the U.S. is a leading global soybean producer, the consumption and future growth potential for the U.S. meat substitutes market is substantial;
  • 16 million vegetarians live in the U.S. alone, providing stable purchasing power for meat substitutes market.

Key Factors Driving U.S. Industry Growth

Driving elements for growth primarily center on health and the environment:

  • Increased awareness of the health risks of meat consumption, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes;
  • Heightened understanding of the environmental impacts of industrial meat, including higher rates of greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, negative impacts on farmland and oceans, and increased water use;
  • Public concerns over animal welfare abuses and industrial meat scandals, including foodborne illness outbreaks.

As awareness surrounding these issues has increased, the meat substitutes industry has benefited from consumer movement away from a meat-centric diet. Rates of vegetarianism continue to rise as well, broadening the opportunity for meat substitutes to reach the center of the plate. The strongest growth is in the frozen market segment, as consumers are driven by convenience, busy lifestyles, and food safety concerns.

Industry Challenges

While the meat substitute industry is projected to grow steadily through 2020, the study did note challenges such as perception of taste, increased soy allergies and gluten intolerance, and price fluctuations of raw materials, such as soy and wheat driving demand and impact sales when prices rise.

To overcome these challenges in the US, meat substitute producers will continue to focus on product innovation and consumer trends away from meat products. These important factors will drive the industry through 2020 and beyond.

(Many thanks to volunteer Suzannah Koilpillai for drafting and posting this summary for us.)