EATING VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN MEALS IS ON THE RISE, AND IS ALSO BECOMING MORE POPULAR IN THE MAINSTREAM.
In a recent article on food trends of 2022, we discussed how consumers are increasingly embracing a more sustainable diet by eating more plant-based foods. Here are five pieces of evidence outlining how this trend is also making itself felt in the food industry:
Fast-food chains increasingly offer vegetarian snacks
From Burger King launching vegan chicken nuggets to McDonald's coming up with an MCPlant burger for the first time, most of the fast food chains that are now offering plant-based alternatives are speaking of an amazing success. KFC even reported that their vegan burgers are now selling more than their regular hamburgers, and Subway, too, has already significantly expanded its range of vegan sandwiches. This leads to a positive feedback cycle.
The demand for plant-based food is rising, so the market is also becoming more interesting for restaurants and catering businesses. The range of vegetarian or vegan meals on offer is expanding at lower prices, so more people are tempted to try them.
The data show a clear upward trend
According to Barclays, the alternative meat market could be worth as much as £100 billion by 2029. This is about 10% of the international meat industry. It is estimated that by 2050 this figure could rise to as much as $1.4 trillion.
The company Oatly (which sells vegetable milk) recently went public with a value of no less than 1.4 billion. In some countries things are moving very fast at the moment. In the United States, for example, sales of meat alternatives, dairy and eggs are currently rising faster than those of products of animal origin. Research conducted by Mintel shows that more than one in ten meat, fish and poultry food start-ups in the United Kingdom now wants to position itself in the market with meat alternatives.
Consumption of popular media is influencing people's food choices more and more
As a result, people are quicker to make the connection not only between plant-based food and their own health, but also with the consequences for the rest of the planet. Popular Netflix documentaries such as 'Game Changers' or 'Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret' have played their part in this.
When consumers search for vegan recipes or meals online, this largely correlates with the dates on which these documentaries are also released on streaming platforms. Studies show that there is a strong link between eating a plant-based diet and reducing cardiovascular disease and the link between a vegan diet and reducing your carbon footprint.
In addition to plant-based meat, other innovations are also emerging
For example, there are currently plenty of experiments with cultured meat, in which meat is produced in laboratories from animal cells. It is then no longer a requirement to raise and kill animals for the production of animal meat. According to recent polls, consumers worldwide are increasingly open to this idea.
Will this be the most important new development in the evolution towards a global sustainable diet? Only time will tell. But that 'green eating' is more than just a hype and will become more widespread is already a fact.