In 2020, the plant-based food alternative market reached $29.4 billion and the Bloomberg Intelligence projects this value to reach an astounding $162 billion by 2030. The two biggest categories of plant-based food alternatives are plant-based alternative milk or dairy products and alternative meat. The plant-based alternative meat market is expected to grow to $28 billion by 2025 worldwide. There are already even new products such as plant-based alternative cheese, sour cream, butter and ice cream.
Here are several reasons why natural plant-based food alternative products are on the rise:
1) Disease Prevention
Several studies have found that a plant-based diet lowers high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes. Plant-based foods contain lower saturated fats than animal-based foods. This reduces cholesterol levels and decreases insulin resistance which lowers the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Lower cholesterol means fewer fatty deposits in the blood that does not occlude blood flow, lowering the risk of heart diseases.
2) Weight Management
Plants have a lower glycemic index which means they get digested slower. They also contain antioxidants and fibre which help the body to stay full longer and eat less frequently. Having a healthy plant-based diet with high-quality plant-based foods is effective in losing or managing weight.
3) Solution for Lactose Intolerant people
The plant-based alternative milk category is the largest pie of the plant-based dairy products market. It is responsible for an estimated 75% of sales. Out of the world’s total population, 75% are lactose intolerant which is the main reason for the popularity of plant-based milk which is naturally free of lactose.
According to the Plant-Based Foods Association, health benefits are the primary reason for older people to buy and consume plant-based foods. On the other hand, younger people, the Millennials and Gen Zs are influenced to consume more plant-based foods due to their rising concern for animal welfare and the environmental impacts.
Plant-based foods are very easy to prepare and cook faster than meat. Currently, more than 25% of households cook vegetarian meals for dinner due to their convenience and simplicity.
5) Less Expensive
Research has found that reducing meat intake can save more than $600 every year. During the 2020 pandemic lockdown when many folks lost their jobs, consuming less meat and switching to a plant-based alternative is a good bet to take care of their physical health, financial health and mental health.
6) Plant-based Food and the Climate
8 billion animals are slaughtered for meat consumption annually. 91% of the destruction of the once majestic Amazon rainforest is due to animal agriculture and commodity production. 37% of people who choose a plant-based diet say they prefer it to meat due to its sustainability. Studies have also shown that plant-based foods are more sustainable than meat-based diets as they use fewer natural resources and put less stress and pressure on the environment.
Clearing away rainforests for the purpose of breeding animals for animal products and consumption leads to climate change and global warming. When the trees in the forests are cut down, the stored carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. It traps heat and warms up the earth, causing global temperatures to rise continuously. In addition, the United National Food and Agriculture Organization published a report that found that total livestock globally emitted more greenhouse gas than the entire transportation sector, including cars, trains, ships and planes.
Consumers and businesses have become aware of the negative impact animal-based diets have on the planet and support sustainability to improve the state of the climate crisis with plant-based alternative foods.