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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