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Alternative Proteins Market Evolves

June 19, 2017

Healthy lifestyle goals and food allergies are spurring innovation in plant-based proteins.

The plant-based protein alternatives market continues to evolve as customers look for healthier options. But even as the buzz around plant-based diets increases, it doesn’t mean customers are giving up meat.

In recent years there has been a lot of expansion and innovation surrounding plant-based dairy and meat alternatives in the U.S., even with dairy and animal-protein manufacturers finding ways to enter the space, but the market’s potential is still being determined. According to The NPD Group, a global information company, the market for plant-based alternatives is still evolving as consumers begin to leverage these items because of food allergies or they’re seeking what they believe to be more healthful options.

A logical conclusion to the plant-based alternatives buzz is that more people are living vegan (avoids all animal products), vegetarian (avoids meat products), or flexible vegetarian (mainly vegetarian with some exceptions) lifestyles; but, according to NPD Group’s ongoing tracking of eating attitudes and behaviors, very few follow the most restrictive vegan/ vegetarian diets. Only 1% of the population claims to be vegan or vegetarian and 8% say they are flexible vegetarians, or about 27 million actually claim to follow a plant-based diet such as vegan, vegetarian or flexible vegetarian.

The 27 million consumers claiming to follow a plant-based diet aren’t necessarily consuming plant-based dairy and meat alternatives since the number who actually consume plant-based dairy or meat alternatives is approximately 25 million. Annual eatings per capita of dairy alternatives have grown from 19 in 2013 to 21 in 2016 or 6.8 billion eatings and the consumption of plant-based meat alternatives has declined from five in 2013 to three or 972 million eatings in 2016.

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