The plant-based food market could reach $74.2 billion by the year 2027 according to a new report by AI-driven consumer insights platform Tastewise.
The report, titled “Plant-Based Eating: A Bird’s Eye View of the $42B Market,” indicates that personal health remains a driving force for rising vegan food sales.
Tastewise identified an increasing emphasis on weight loss, in particular, which increased by 21 percent year-over-year (YoY). It also highlighted interest in gut health and improving overall energy as key factors driving purchases. Some consumers are also eating plant-based food to aid fertility with a 43 percent increase YoY.
Vegan Food and Health
According to a study from Harvard Medical School, ditching meat could prevent approximately one-third of early deaths. The study authors said that around 200,000 lives could be saved per year by swapping animal products for plants.
Research shows consuming animal products—particularly processed and red meat—increases the risk of health issues. These include heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
Tastewise’s report indicated that other factors—such as animal rights (-28 percent YoY) and sustainability (-5 percent YoY)—are not significant motivators for new consumers in the plant-based food market when compared to personal health.
Preserving the environment and animal rights are still regularly cited by those adopting a fully vegan diet, particularly amongst young people. But it is overwhelmingly flexitarian diets and meat-eaters who are driving sales within the plant-based food market.
In 2019, a study revealed that 80 percent of American consumers aim to swap meat with vegan food. While 48 percent of Americans regularly purchase plant-based milk, according to a 2018 IPSOS survey.
Vegan Demand and Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic severely disrupted traditional meat production around the world. Analysts predict that overall, the pandemic could cause a 3 percent drop in global meat consumption—approximately 9.5 billion tons.
A number of factors are contributing to this decrease, including disruptions to production, and an increased overall awareness of the risk of zoonotic diseases from animal agriculture.
In contrast, oat milk sales increased by 476.7 percent during the week ending March 14. While vegan meat sales nearly tripled during the same timeframe. During the previous week, ending on March 7, vegan meat sales increased by 206.4 percent.