Alternative Meats are now on the Menu in the Global Marketplace14 Oct, 2021
Have you noticed all the new meat alternatives products on the market? Today, “meat” may no longer come from livestock as advanced technologies make it possible for “meat” to be made with only plant-based or lab-grown ingredients. This present trend is creating new and diverse business opportunities in the food industry.
In recent years the global vegetarian population has steadily increased due in part to the public’s awareness about the many benefits of healthy food consumption, and also for various ethical and environmental reasons. According to statistics provided by Euromonitor International, in March 2021, around 42% of the world’s population has converted into what is now being called “flexitarians”; people who have reduced or eliminated their intake of meats and animal products in their diet. Additionally, about 54% of these individuals are also being identified as “Gen Z’s” which represent people born after 1995 and often spend a considerate amount of time on social media; they tend to share information about their food choices, social values and have made great impacts on their diets and the way they consume.
Meat Analogue - Redefining “Meat” with the Plant-based to Cultured Alternatives
Well before the term “Meat Analog” was introduced, vegetarians have been consuming legumes, tofu, tempe (Indonesian fermented bean curds), grains and various vegetables that are rich in protein; however, new types of meat alternatives have been invented and even “cultured” in the recent years to cater to a wider base of consumers. According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, there will be an estimated growth of 14.45% in the global market for meat alternative foods from 2020 to 2024 which could contribute to 24.1 billion US Dollars in revenue. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are the two leading brands that have been producing plant-based meat products while constantly improving the technologies and techniques in search of the best meat analogues. These two companies have been supplying their products to supermarkets, small retails, as well as major international fast-food brands such as KFC and Starbucks for their vegetarian and vegan items.
Other than plant-based meat analogs, scientists have been working on developing microbial or cell-cultured proteins. According to the American consulting firm AT Kearney, cultured meat and meat substitutes will replace about 35% of the conventional meat market by the year 2040. This new marketplace will feature products that have meat-like textures and juiciness without involving any living animals.
A promising market but still have obstacles overcome:
Affordability: The advanced technologies used for plant-based and cultured meats are more costly than those used in traditional meat products. This expense is reflected in the retail pricing of those products thus making it more difficult for the average person to afford.
Nutrition and health concerns: Meat alternatives may have similar protein and caloric contents as traditional meat, however, the amount of naturally occurring iron is lower and sodium is higher. Both factors need to be carefully monitored and controlled in order to maintain a well-balanced diet.
Taste and Texture:Meat analogue may look and taste similar to conventional meat, but there is still substantial room for improvements since producers are often catering to people who are used to and enjoy the qualities of traditional meat products.
The Asian Markets’ Potential
Plant-based meats have been sold primarily to North America and European countries in the past, however, there’s great potential in the Asian markets which account for about 44% of the global meat consumption. China alone is currently consuming approximately 28% of the world’s meat production and that market is expanding. Worldwide interests in plant-based meats are on the rise especially after the 2018 African swine fever and the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020. These dramatic occurrences have made Asian consumers become even more aware about their health, diets and the environment.
While Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have collaborated with various chain restaurants and global retail establishments to penetrate the Asian markets, there are also new companies such as “Zhenmeat” which is dedicated to producing traditional Asian food products with new plant-based food technologies, eliminating the typical heavy and pungent soy flavors in vegetarian and vegan products to please the more sophisticated consumers.
ANKO has been a leader in the automated Food Machine business for more than four decades. ANKO can customize production lines, provide recipes for different ethnic food products created for our customers specific requirements using both conventional and plant-based meats and other vegetarian ingredients. If you’re considering joining the Meat Analogue business, ANKO is the company that can provide you with powerful tools and knowledge to be successful. We invite you to explore the possibilities of meat alternatives which will reach well beyond the limits of traditional food manufacturing.
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