Major players in the vegan market are Amy’s Kitchen, VITASOY International Holdings Ltd., Beyond Meat, Tofutti Brands, Plamil Foods Ltd., Danone S.A., Vbites Foods Ltd., Eden Foods Inc., Whitewave Foods Company Inc, Sun Opta Inc.
The global vegan market is expected to grow from USD 14.80 billion in 2019 and to USD 15.12 billion in 2020 at a growth rate of 2.13%. The slow growth in 2020 is mainly due to the economic slowdown across countries owing to the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures to contain it. The market is then expected to grow and reach USD 20 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 9.79%.
The vegan market consists of the sale of vegan products and related services for consumption purposes. Vegan products include food and beverages produced without the use of animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients. Vegan food products include fruits and vegetables, legumes such as peas, beans, plant protein-based tofu, and plant protein-based meat.
Europe was the largest region in the vegan market in 2019. North America was the second-largest region in the vegan market in 2019.
One of the trends in the vegan market is the production of meat through cell-based technology. The cell-by -cell identical meat is produced in factories without involving the killing of animals. Production of cell-based meat involves feeding the animal cells with nutrients and proteins thus, eliminating the need for dependence on animals for meat. Following the trend, in 2019, Memphis Meats, a U.S.A based cell-based meat startup, received investments from Cargill, a U.S.A based food production company, for the production of cell-based vegan animal meat. Since 2016, other major players such as Tyson Foods, a U.S.A. based processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, are also investing in Memphis Meats in order to support the cell-based meat production.
Vegan food products lack certain nutrients. Vegan products do not contain any animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients. Vegan food doesn’t contain an adequate amount of high-quality protein and fats, vegan and vegetarian diets lack in many very important minerals, such as calcium, iron, and zinc. According to a study published in 2007 by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (EJCN) in comparative fracture risk in different diet groups., it was found that the vegan diet group has higher fracture risk as compared to meat-eaters, fish eaters, and vegetarians. This is due to inadequate calcium intake in a vegan diet. Therefore, the lack of essential nutrients factor impacts the growth of the vegan market.
In December 2018, Unilever is a British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in London acquired The Vegetarian Butcher for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition fits with Unilever’s strategy to expand its portfolio into plant-based foods that are healthier and have a lower environmental impact. The Vegetarian Butcher is a food and beverage company working towards the production of plant-based meat production and is headquartered in the Netherlands.
An increase in the concern about the environment among the population is driving the growth of the vegan market. Rearing and breeding of livestock such as pigs, hens, cows, goats in farms contribute to the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases are released from agriculture of livestock such as cows and the gases released to block the atmospheric heat from escaping which increases the overall temperature. The demand for animal meat requires the excess practice of animal farming. Thus, an increase in the number of consumers for vegan food, eliminates the demand for excessive animal farming, following a decrease in emission of greenhouse gases in the environment. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in 2017, animal agriculture contributes to 9% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Thus, an increase in the concern about the environment among the population is driving the growth of the vegan market.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications