A report making claims about plant-based alternative foods being in decline is deeply flawed and inaccurate.

The Chicago-based research intelligence firm PreScout recently conducted a study that regards the landscape of meat, dairy and egg alternatives and addresses the growth of plant-based categories. The report finds that the global market for plant-based proteins is projected to increase by 7.2% between 2020 and 2026, reaching a total value of $15.6 billion.

The authors claim however that two factors are currently hindering the growth of the market:

“Lack of price parity”

A disparity in prices between plant-based proteins and animal-based products is cited as the foremost reason why growth is not taking place at a faster rate. However, progress is being made around the world to close this gap. For example, JUST Egg reached price parity with premium chicken eggs last August, when the price for a 12 oz bottle of liquid JUST Egg dropped to $3.99, which is roughly the same as the average cost of a premium 12-count poultry egg product.

Vivera’s vegan salmon fillet rolled out into Tesco stores in the UK last spring at £3 for two fillets, whereas the cheapest price for conventional salmon was found to be £3.79 for the same quantity.

In terms of vegan meat products, Rebellyous Foods announced last April that it had produced what it says are the first restaurant-quality vegan nuggets at price parity to poultry. In June, a ProVeg International study revealed that many plant protein products had in fact become cheaper than their animal counterparts in the Netherlands. And, most recently, vegan bacon producer Hooray Foods revealed that it is quickly approaching price parity with conventional bacon.

“Less nutritious”

The second factor as cited by the report is “the fact that plant-based meat is not more nutritious than animal meat”, however, this widely-held notion has been recently discredited.

A peer-reviewed paper published last July in the Future Foods journal, as authored by Chris Bryant of Bath University, revealed that plant-based meat is in fact healthier and more sustainable than animal products. The paper concluded that plant-based meat and dairy “offer a healthier and more environmentally sustainable solution which takes into account consumer preferences and behaviour”.

Speaking to vegconomist upon the publication of the paper, Dr Bryant stated: “As well as favourable nutritional profiles, plant-based animal product alternatives have benefits for weight loss, muscle synthesis, gut health, and specific health conditions. Moreover, there are clear benefits over animal products in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and a range of other environmental outcomes.”

Further highlights from the report include

  • In the US, plant-based milk is the most developed category with the greatest dollar sales in 2021.
  • Plant-based egg is the least developed but the fastest growing category.
  • The IP analysis indicated a great amount of patenting activity in the plant-based meat space, followed by plant-based dairy and egg. Texturizing ingredients or methods, and clean labeling is where the greatest focus is.

“Plant-based protein is not only staying in the market but is expected to expand rapidly in the next few years,” comments Victoria Yeung, PreScouter Project Architect and report co-author.

Analyst and report co-author, Jorge Hurtado, adds: “Customers are looking for products that offer limited environmental impact during production and with nutritional benefits comparable to animal protein with less fat and cholesterol, which translates into consumers’ healthy choices. As the demand for meat substitutes has surged, we are even witnessing traditional food companies financially supporting emerging plant-based companies. That is the relevance of today’s plant-based market.”

Original source: https://vegconomist.com


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