Europe plant-based food and beverage market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.87% during the forecast period (2020-2025).
- The gaining popularity of vegan diet and incidences of lactose intolerance are driving the market for plant-based food and beverages in Europe. - The rising consumer awareness regarding the negative impact of the consumption of meat on health is leading to a shift toward vegan diet. Additionally, benefits of cholesterol-free protein, with meat-like texture, are one of those key factors promoting the growth of plant-based food and beverages. - Increased launch of unconventional dairy alternative products, such as hemp, pea, and cashew milk, is an optimistic development for the market, and this is expected to drive the market in the future, as most of the manufacturers are making developments in the sector. Furthermore, there is a significant improvement, in terms of media coverage, which is primarily in line with the increase in new product developments and the demand for products. - The comparatively high prices of dairy alternatives, however, pose a challenge to the market. The presence of nutritionally equivalent alternatives for a lower price affects the consumer behavior and refrains the purchase of dairy alternatives.
Key Market Trends Rising Popularity of Vegan and Vegetarian Diets
Companies are appealing to a growing base of flexitarians who are striving to introduce more plant-based foods into their diets. According to the European Vegetarian Union, as of 2017, 10% of German consumers (7.8 million individuals) were vegetarians, and 1.1% were vegans (900,000 individuals). In the study, “Prevalence of Persons Following a Vegetarian Diet in Germany,” conducted in 2016, 6.1% of women were vegetarian/vegan compared to only 2.5% of men. Among 18 to 29-year-olds, 9.2% of women and 5.0% were vegetarian/vegan. Another segment is the lactose-intolerant consumers, who demand dairy alternatives due to their "impaired ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products," as per the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Lactose tolerance is exceptionally widespread in Northern European countries such as Sweden and Finland. Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain were also recorded to have some of the highest numbers of lactose-intolerant consumers. Thus, the target market for plant-based food and beverage is not limited to vegans but includes a vast majority of consumers, including flexitarians, lactose-intolerant consumers, and even consumers looking for clean-label food and beverage options.
Germany is the Largest Market
Germany has a growing vegan and vegetarian population, with nearly 10% of the population sticking to a vegetarian diet– one of the highest rates in Europe. Germany has gone so far as to create legal definitions of vegan and vegetarian for food labeling. To be defined as vegan, foods must not be of animal origin or contain ingredients, processing aids, or other substances of any animal origin. Vegetarian goods have the same restrictions as vegan ones except that they may contain milk, colostrum, eggs, honey, beeswax, propolis, or wool grease. For instance, at the end of 2018, the German food book Commission published new guidelines for vegan and vegetarian food. These new principles reflect manufacturing, commercial practices, and consumer expectations with respect to vegan and vegetarian food products that have a sensory similarity to products of animal origin. Thus, contributing to the market studied.
Competitive Landscape The European plant-based food and beverages market is a fragmented market with a dominance of players, such as Nestle SA, Hain Celestial, Conagra Brands, and Danone SA among others are key players in the market studied. Whereas, the other players, that are mostly domestic start-ups, are using the latest of innovation to have a strong hold in the market. Companies like Upfield, AMIDORI Food Company GmbH & Co. KG, among others are few leading private regional players offering vast product portfolio of meat substitute products which make them significant in the Europe plant-based foods market.
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