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The Protein Report: Meat Alternatives - US - January 2015

“Protein alternatives fall in two camps: eggs and everything else. Eggs are widely, almost universally, consumed and have the advantage of a host of health benefits to appeal to consumers; however, their cholesterol levels impact those health-based purchase occasions. Meat alternatives, on the other hand, remain a niche market at best and will require significant resources to grow beyond that state, as their consumption levels remain relatively low: roughly two thirds of all consumers never consume meat alternatives, and 69% of those nonconsumers indicate they simply prefer real meat.”
– William Roberts, Jr., Senior Food and Drink Analyst

This report looks at the following issues:

  • Health should drive sales of meat alternatives
  • True meatless options fail to resonate with consumers
  • An alternative to substituting for meat?

Egg sales have shown notable growth within the past two years, but other segments of the meat alternative category have not fared nearly as well and endured two years of stagnant sales.

Consumers seeking a meatless protein source have likely never had as many options to fill their plate. From eggs to bean-based products to refrigerated and frozen meat alternatives to tofu, tempeh, and seitan, the range of meat alternatives available runs the gamut from meat crumbles to fake deli slices to meatless forms of sausage, burgers, and poultry. However, this surge in options has not led to a dramatic rise in category sales; in fact, over the past two years, only eggs have shown any appreciable rise in sales.

The protein alternative market must embrace its role as a true alternative to meat by delivering options that are not necessarily intended to mimic meat but to stand in their own right. With a notable portion of meat alternative consumers regarding the products as overly processed (45% of meat alternative consumers share that opinion) or too high in sodium (42%), manufacturers have an opportunity to reach the consumer with naturally positioned products that appeal to consumers’ health demands; more than six in 10 (61%) agree that it is worth it to pay more for products that they think are good for their health.

 

 

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                        • Eggs dominate the meat alternative category
                          • Figure 1: Sales* of protein alternatives, by segment, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14, in $ millions
                        • Eggs are consumed almost universally; other meat alternatives are significantly less so
                          • Figure 2: Frequency of eating eggs, by generations, October 2014
                        • Frozen meat alternatives led by burger and poultry options
                          • Figure 3: Sales* of frozen meat alternatives, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                        • Heart health leads reasons for limiting meat consumption
                          • Figure 4: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by region, October 2014
                        • Meat alternatives not necessarily perceived as healthier
                          • Figure 5: Opinions about meat alternatives – any agree, by generations, October 2014
                        • Weight concerns factor more prominently among Millennials, cholesterol among older generations
                          • Figure 6: Health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by generations, October 2014
                        • Meat alternatives regarded as part of a healthy meal
                          • Figure 7: Usage of meat alternatives, by region, October 2014
                        • Millennials bored with meat alternatives available
                          • Figure 8: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by generations, October 2014
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                            • Health should drive sales of meat alternatives
                              • Issues
                                • Insights
                                  • True meatless options fail to resonate with consumers
                                    • Issues
                                      • Insights
                                        • An alternative to substituting for meat?
                                          • Issues
                                            • Insight
                                            • Trend Applications

                                                • Trend: Prove It
                                                  • Trend: Guiding Choice
                                                    • Trend: Fauxthenticity
                                                    • Market/Segment Size

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • Total meat alternative category sales grow 10% in two years
                                                          • Figure 9: Sales* of meat alternatives, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                        • Eggs dominate meat alternative category, the only segment posting sizable growth in the last two years
                                                          • Figure 10: Sales* of protein alternatives, by segment, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                        • Egg sales grow 18% in the last two years
                                                          • Figure 11: Sales* of eggs and liquid eggs/egg substitutes, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                        • Shelf-stable beans register strongest growth since 2012 but still far short of frozen edamame/soybeans
                                                          • Figure 12: Sales* of beans, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                        • Burgers, poultry dominate frozen meat alternatives
                                                          • Figure 13: Sales* of frozen meat alternatives, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                        • Sales declines permeate refrigerated meat alternatives
                                                          • Figure 14: Sales* of refrigerated meat alternatives, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                        • Seitan sales grow 26% since 2012
                                                          • Figure 15: Sales* of tofu, tempeh, and seitan, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                        • Millennials most likely to consume meat alternatives
                                                          • Figure 16: US population, by generation share, 2014
                                                        • Hispanic population growth could lead to category growth
                                                          • Figure 17: US population by race and Hispanic origin, 2009-19
                                                      • Competitive Context

                                                        • Fresh, unprocessed products could usurp processed meat alternatives
                                                          • Cues from meaty competition
                                                            • Figure 18: Meat, fish, poultry (fresh/frozen) consumption, Summer 2014
                                                            • Figure 19: Changing behavior: eating more, less, or the same, November 2014
                                                          • One in five say poultry healthier than plant-based protein sources
                                                            • Figure 20: Reasons for buying poultry – Any rank, by poultry purchase, August 2014
                                                        • Leading Companies and Marketing Strategies

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Meat alternative brands in a crowded field where few stand out from the pack
                                                              • Figure 21: Household volume usage of meat alternatives, by gender, by brand
                                                            • Boca
                                                              • Amy’s Kitchen
                                                                • Figure 22: Amy’s Kitchen, “Why we love family farmers,” TV Commercial, December 2014
                                                              • MorningStar Farms
                                                                • Figure 23: MorningStar Farms, “When you want feeling good to feel simple,” YouTube video, October 2014
                                                              • Private labels lead the pack in egg sales
                                                                • Figure 24: Household usage of eggs, by race/Hispanic origin, by brand
                                                              • Eggland’s Best
                                                                • Figure 25: Eggland’s Best series of videos on cooking eggs: “How to make an omelet,” YouTube video, October 2014
                                                                • Figure 26: Eggland’s Best series of videos on cooking eggs: “How to poach an egg,” YouTube video, October 2014
                                                                • Figure 27: Eggland’s Best series of videos on cooking eggs: “Classic quiche Lorraine,” YouTube video, October 2014
                                                            • Innovations and Innovators

                                                              • Convenience, allergens spur more meatless launches
                                                                • Figure 28: Claims appearing on meat alternative launches in the US, by product claim, 2010-14
                                                                • Figure 29: Meat alternative launches in the US, by allergen presence, 2010-14
                                                              • Allergen-free launches gain strength in meat alternatives
                                                                • Ethnic flavors inspire meatless launches
                                                                  • Eggs promote protein content, healthier chicken attributes
                                                                  • The Consumer – Meat Alternative Consumption

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Eggs used by nearly all consumers; burgers lead meatless options
                                                                          • Figure 30: Frequency of eating meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                          • Figure 31: Frequency of eating meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                        • More than half of all consumers eat eggs at least a few times a week
                                                                            • Figure 32: Frequency of eating meat alternatives, by generations, October 2014
                                                                          • Millennials consume most meat alternatives
                                                                            • Figure 33: Frequency of eating meat alternatives, by generations, October 2014
                                                                        • The Consumer – Reasons for Limiting Meat

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Consumers reducing meat consumption for heart health
                                                                              • Figure 34: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by generations, October 2014
                                                                            • Heart health leads to meat limitations in Northeast and South
                                                                                • Figure 35: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by region, October 2014
                                                                              • Price factors prominently in households with children
                                                                                • Figure 36: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by presence of children in household, October 2014
                                                                            • The Consumer – Reasons for Eating Meat Alternatives

                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • Saturated fat concerns compel one in five users of meat alternatives
                                                                                  • Figure 37: Health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                  • Figure 38: Health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                • Protein from other sources factors most heavily in consumers also avoiding eggs
                                                                                  • Figure 39: Reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                  • Figure 40: Reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                • Weight, cholesterol, saturated fat lead health reasons for consuming meat alternatives
                                                                                    • Figure 41: Health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                  • Cholesterol issues strongly impact meat alternative consumers who exclude eggs
                                                                                      • Figure 42: Health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                  • The Consumer – Use of Meat Alternatives

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Just over a third serve meat alternatives as a main entrée
                                                                                          • Figure 43: Usage of meat alternatives, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                        • Meatless burgers, poultry serve as a main entrée for only a quarter of respondents
                                                                                          • Figure 44: Frequency of eating meat alternatives – High-frequency consumption, by usage of meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                                        • Excluding egg consumers, meatless poultry leads consumer usage
                                                                                            • Figure 45: Frequency of eating meat alternatives – High-frequency consumption, by usage of meat alternatives, excluding eggs, October 2014
                                                                                          • Main entrée tops the meal usage of meat alternatives
                                                                                            • Figure 46: Usage of meat alternatives, by region, October 2014
                                                                                        • The Consumer – Opinions of Meat Alternatives

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Four in 10 say meat alternatives do not taste like real meat
                                                                                              • Figure 47: Opinions about meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                                            • Cooking instructions guide meat alternative consumers
                                                                                              • Figure 48: Opinions about meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                                            • Millennials much more likely to be bored with current options, say they all taste the same
                                                                                                • Figure 49: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                            • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Some 59% of consumers – and 72% of Hispanics – eat a meat alternative (including eggs) at least a few times a week
                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Frequency of eating meat alternatives, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                                • Almost half of Hispanics consume tofu
                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Frequency of eating meat alternatives – tofu, tempeh, seitan, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                                • More than 90% of all consumers eat eggs
                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Frequency of eating meat alternatives – eggs/egg substitutes, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                                • Hispanic consumers of meat alternatives watching cholesterol, attempting to lose weight
                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                                • Hispanics more likely to use meat alternatives in a side dish
                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Usage of meat alternatives, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                                • More than a third of Hispanics say they are bored with the selection of meat alternatives
                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                              • Appendix – Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Sales* of eggs, by free-range status, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Sales* of shelf-stable beans, by type, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Sales* of dried beans, by type, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Sales* of frozen meatless poultry, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Sales* of frozen meatless breakfast alternatives, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Sales* of frozen meatless dogs, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Sales* of "other" refrigerated meat alternatives, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Sales* of meat alternative dishes/entrées, by category, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks 2012-14
                                                                                                • Types of diets
                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Diets consumers are following, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Diets consumers are following, by region, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 66: Diets consumers are following, by area, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 67: Diets consumers are following, by household income, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 68: Diets consumers are following, by presence of children in household, October 2014
                                                                                                • Consuming meat alternatives
                                                                                                  • Figure 69: Frequency of eating meat alternatives, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 70: Frequency of eating meat alternatives, by region, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 71: Frequency of eating meat alternatives, by area, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 72: Frequency of eating meat alternatives, by household income, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 73: Frequency of eating meat alternatives, by presence of children in household, October 2014
                                                                                                • Reasons for limiting meat consumption
                                                                                                  • Figure 74: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 75: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 76: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by area, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 77: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by household income, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 78: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by presence of children in household, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 79: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 80: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 81: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by region, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 82: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by household income, October 2014
                                                                                                • Reasons for consuming meat alternatives
                                                                                                  • Figure 83: Health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 84: Reasons for parents’ consuming meat alternatives, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 85: Reasons for parents’ using meat alternatives, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 86: Reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 87: Reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 88: Health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by area, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 89: Health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by area, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 90: Reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by area, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 91: Reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by area, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 92: Reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by area, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 93: Health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by household income, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 94: Reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by household income, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 95: Health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by presence of children in household, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 96: Reasons for consuming meat alternatives, by presence of children in household, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 97: Frequency of eating meat alternatives – High-frequency consumption, by reasons for consuming meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 98: Frequency of eating meat alternatives – High-frequency consumption, by reasons for consuming meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 99: Frequency of eating meat alternatives – High-frequency consumption, by health reasons for consuming meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 100: Frequency of eating meat alternatives – High-frequency consumption, by reasons for consuming meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                                                • How meat alternatives are used
                                                                                                  • Figure 101: Usage of meat alternatives, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 102: Usage of meat alternatives, by gender, October 2014 (continued)
                                                                                                  • Figure 103: Usage of meat alternatives, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 104: Usage of meat alternatives, by region, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 105: Usage of meat alternatives, by household income, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 106: Usage of meat alternatives, by presence of children in household, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 107: Usage of meat alternatives, by presence of children in household, October 2014 (continued)
                                                                                                • Opinions about meat alternatives
                                                                                                  • Figure 108: Opinions about meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 109: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 110: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by gender, October 2014 (continued)
                                                                                                  • Figure 111: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by gender, October 2014 (continued)
                                                                                                  • Figure 112: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 113: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by generations, October 2014 (continued)
                                                                                                  • Figure 114: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by generations, October 2014 (continued)
                                                                                                  • Figure 115: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by region, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 116: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by area, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 117: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by household income, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 118: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by presence of children in household, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 119: Diets consumers are following, by opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree – Flavor/format/delivery, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 120: Diets consumers are following, by opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree – Familiarity, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 121: Diets consumers are following, by opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree – Health, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 122: Diets consumers are following, by opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree – Price, October 2014
                                                                                                • Reasons consumers do not eat meat alternatives
                                                                                                  • Figure 123: Reasons for not eating meat alternatives, October 2014
                                                                                                • Dishes for proteins
                                                                                                  • Figure 124: Meal items in which meats/meat alternatives would be used, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 125: Meal items in which meats/meat alternatives would be used, October 2014 (continued)
                                                                                                  • Figure 126: Meal items in which meats/meat alternatives would be used, by gender, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 127: Meal items in which meats/meat alternatives would be used, by generations, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 128: Meal items in which meats/meat alternatives would be used, by area, October 2014
                                                                                                • Race/Hispanic origin
                                                                                                  • Figure 129: Diets consumers are following, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 130: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 131: Reasons for limiting meat consumption, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014 (continued)
                                                                                                  • Figure 132: Usage of meat alternatives, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 133: Opinions about meat alternatives – Any agree, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                                  • Figure 134: Meal items in which meats/meat alternatives would be used, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014
                                                                                              • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                  • American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI)
                                                                                                    • American Soybean Association (ASA)
                                                                                                      • Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)
                                                                                                        • National Frozen & Refrigerated Food Association (NFRA)
                                                                                                          • Organic Trade Association (OTA)
                                                                                                            • United Soybean Board (USB)

                                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                                            • American Soybean Association
                                                                                                            • Amy's Kitchen Inc.
                                                                                                            • Boca Foods Company
                                                                                                            • Eggland's Best, Inc.
                                                                                                            • Land O'Lakes Inc.
                                                                                                            • Morningstar, Inc.
                                                                                                            • Organic Trade Association
                                                                                                            • United Soybean Board (USB)
                                                                                                            • Weight Watchers International Inc.
                                                                                                            • White Wave, Inc.

                                                                                                            The Protein Report: Meat Alternatives - US - January 2015

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