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Canada Plant-based Food & Drink Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Plant-based Food & Drink market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Taste, cost and the perception of being overly-processed are hurdles for plant-based alternatives
  • Vegans and vegetarians represent a relatively small slice of the broader consumer base
  • Ethical considerations are a concern for sub-set of consumers

Covered in this report

Plant-based proteins are proteins utilized in foods and have been derived from a plant or vegetable source, such as beans/legumes (eg soy, chickpeas, lentils, peas), nuts (eg almonds, cashews), seeds (eg chia, hemp, sesame) and grains (eg wheat, quinoa), as well as others.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Joel Gregoire, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

One of the biggest shifts in eating behaviours in Canada and in other markets has been the movement towards eating and drinking plant-based food and beverage alternatives. Does this represent a passing fad or a sustained, longer-term shift? Feedback gathered from Canadians for this Report suggests the latter. The base of Canadians who indicate that they are trying to add more plant-based substitutes to their diet is relatively broad (28%). That said, barriers to eating plant-based foods exist, and the ability of companies that operate in this space to overcome them will be essential to growing overall penetration and consequently, growing sales. This Report identifies what the main barriers are and uses consumer feedback to suggest potential opportunities in the space Joel Gregoire
Associate Director - Food & Drink

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Taste, cost and the perception of being overly-processed are hurdles for plant-based alternatives
            • Figure 1: Barriers to usage if plant-based products (% agree), March 2019
          • Vegans and vegetarians represent a relatively small slice of the broader consumer base
            • Figure 2: Diet preferences, March 2019
          • Ethical considerations are a concern for sub-set of consumers
            • Figure 3: Select reasons for avoiding animal-based products, by diet type, March 2019
          • The opportunities
            • Younger women are key to the growth of the segment
              • Figure 4: “Trying to add more plant-based substitutes to (their) diet”, women 18-24 vs overall population, March 2019
            • Older consumers more aware of their protein intake, but younger consumers looking to add more protein to what they eat and drink
              • Figure 5: Attitudes toward protein, by age, March 2019
            • Pasta and cereal are the most commonly accepted foods in which to include plant-based protein
              • Figure 6: Food categories eaten with plant-based protein, March 2019
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Focus on sustainability is increasingly becoming a driver in food innovation
                • Long-term trends show a softening in beef consumption
                  • Canada’s food guide places focus on protein
                  • Market Factors

                    • Focus on sustainability is increasingly becoming a driver in food innovation
                      • Figure 7: Global population by half-century (2050 forecast)
                    • Focus on health and weight management to continue
                      • Figure 8: Body mass index, self-reported rate of being overweight or obese among Canadian adults, by gender, 2010-14
                    • Long-term trends show a softening in beef consumption
                      • Figure 9: Beef, carcass by weight, 1960 - 2017
                    • Canada food guide increases focus on protein
                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                      • Meat companies are expanding to being “protein” companies
                        • Education is needed to make Canadians more comfortable with plant-based meat alternatives
                          • Plant-based ingredients continue to evolve
                          • What’s Working?

                            • Meat companies are expanding to being “protein” companies
                            • Challenges

                              • Education is needed to make Canadians more comfortable with plant-based meat alternatives
                                • Figure 10: Behind the Impossible Burger, Ep. 1: Science for the Plate & Planet, March 2018
                              • What’s in a name? War or words brewing between different interests
                              • What’s Next?

                                • The next burger wars may be plant based
                                  • Figure 11: Beyond Meat They Beyond Burger Plant Based Burger Patties (US), January 2017
                                  • Figure 12: Beyond Meat Beyond Sausage Brat Original Plant-Based Sausage (US), November 2018
                                • ‘Farm-to-fork’ may evolve from ‘lab-to-fork’
                                  • Figure 13: How to make cell-based meat, December 2016
                                • Plant-based ingredients continue to evolve
                                  • Figure 14: Oatly! The Original Oat-Milk (US), March 2019
                                  • Figure 15: Purely Elizabeth Dark Chocolate Strawberry Superfood Granola (US), January 2019
                                  • Figure 16: Convitta Linha Premium Shitake Shimeji Handmade Burger (Brazil), February 2019
                                  • Figure 17: Oh Naturel! Quinoa Mushroom Burgers (US), May 2018
                                  • Figure 18: Happy Cheeze Fresh Cheese Alternative from Cashews with Spirulina Chilli (Germany), January 2018
                                • Plant-based formats also continue to evolve
                                  • Figure 19: Gardein Fish-Free Crabless Cakes (US), April 2019
                                  • Figure 20: Trader Joe’s Vegan Jackfruit Cakes (US), January 2019
                                  • Figure 21: Gardein Meat-Free Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers (Canada), April 2019
                                  • Figure 22: PC President’s Choice Corn, Carrot & Kale Veggie Bites (Canada), March 2019
                                  • Figure 23: Daiya Mozza Style Slices (Canada), May 2019
                                  • Figure 24: Daiya Deluxe White Cheddar Style Veggie Cheezy Mac (Canada), February 2017
                                  • Figure 25: Healthy Choice Power Bowls Cauliflower Curry (US), September 2018
                                  • Figure 26: Green Giant Fresh Buddha Bowl (US), April 2019
                                  • Figure 27: Lundberg Family Farms Organic Grainspirations Korean Style Chili Rice & Quinoa Bowl (US), October 2018
                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                • A quarter of Canadians want to eat/drink more plant-based food/drinks
                                  • Three main barriers to using plant-based alternatives exist
                                    • Protein is viewed as a critical component in meals
                                      • Plant-based meat is gaining traction with Canadians
                                      • Usage of Plant-Based Foods/Drinks

                                        • A quarter of Canadians want to eat/drink more plant-based food/drinks
                                          • Figure 28: Statements about diets, March 2019
                                          • Figure 29: “I plan to start eating more plant-based alternatives” (% agree), March 2019
                                        • Age and income impact usage of plant-based food substitutes
                                          • Figure 30: “Trying to add more plant-based food to diet”, by age and income, March 2019
                                          • Figure 31: “Trying to add more plant-based food to diet”, by parental status, March 2019
                                          • Figure 32: “Trying to add more plant-based food to diet”, by region, March 2019
                                          • Figure 33: Diet preferences, March 2019
                                          • Figure 34: Trying to add more plant-based food substitutes into diet – by diet preference, March 2019
                                        • Canadians avoid meat for three main reasons
                                          • Figure 35: Reasons for limiting or avoiding animal products, March 2019
                                          • Figure 36: Reasons for limiting or avoiding animal products, by age and gender, March 2019
                                        • Motivations for avoiding animal products vary by diet followed
                                          • Figure 37: Reasons for limiting or avoiding animal products, by diet type, March 2019
                                      • Barriers to Using Plant-Based Alternatives

                                        • Three main barriers to using plant-based alternatives
                                          • Figure 38: Barriers to using plant-base alternatives (% agree), March 2019
                                        • Over-processing is a concern for most Canadians
                                          • Figure 39: “Plant-based meat alternatives that mimic the taste and texture of real meat are overly-processed” (% agree), women 18-24 vs overall, March 2019
                                        • For Canadians, plant-based foods are not just for vegetarians
                                          • Figure 40: “Plant-based foods are just for vegetarian/vegans” (% agree), by age and gender, March 2019
                                      • Attitudes toward Protein

                                        • Protein is viewed as a critical component in meals
                                          • Figure 41: Statements about protein, March 2019
                                          • Figure 42: Statements about protein, by gender, March 2019
                                          • Figure 43: Statements about protein, by age, March 2019
                                          • Figure 44: Statements about protein, by parental status, March 2019
                                        • Plants are well-positioned to meet the protein needs of Canadians
                                          • Figure 45: “Plant-based foods can provide all the protein I need” (% agree), by age, March 2019
                                          • Figure 46: Plant-based protein is healthier than animal protein (% agree), by generation, March 2019
                                        • Nuts are the most common non-meat protein Canadians use
                                          • Figure 47: Type of plant-based protein – any use or interest, March 2019
                                          • Figure 48: Type of plant-based protein, current usage vs interest, March 2019
                                          • Figure 49: Biosteel Sports Nutrition Sport Greens Acai Lemonade High Performance Superfood Powder, March 2019 (Canada)
                                          • Figure 50: Simple Truth Vanilla Flavor Plant Based Protein Powder, February 2019 (US)
                                          • Figure 51: Quorn Southern Fried Bites, November 2018 (UK)
                                          • Figure 52: Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza Pesto with Quorn, December 2018 (UK)
                                          • Figure 53: Type of plant-based protein – any use or interest, by age, March 2019
                                          • Figure 54: Type of plant-based protein (select) – any use or interest, 18-44s by gender, March 2019
                                      • Category-Based Opportunities

                                        • Pasta and cereal are the most common foods eaten containing plant-based protein
                                          • Figure 55: Food categories eaten with plant-based protein, March 2019
                                          • Figure 56: Food categories eaten with plant-based protein, by diet type, March 2019
                                        • Plant-based energy bars and drinks proves more popular with young men
                                          • Figure 57: Energy bars and drinks used with plant-based protein, men 18-34 vs overall, March 2019
                                          • Figure 58: KronoBar Performance Snacks Chocolate Avocado Protein Bar, April 2019 (Canada)
                                          • Figure 59: Simply Protein Bar Snacks Lemon Coconut Protein Bar, April 2019 (Canada)
                                        • Plant-based meat is gaining traction with Canadians
                                          • Figure 60: Population segments who are more likely to eat meat substitutes, March 2019
                                      • Appendix

                                        • Data sources
                                          • Consumer survey data
                                            • Consumer qualitative research
                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                • Abbreviations
                                                  • Terms