Description

“COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of plant-based alternatives. Growth in this area won’t stop when the pandemic does. Consumer demand is being met with investments in innovation across a range of categories from both established consumer packaged goods companies and nascent start-ups. As products continue to better mimic the foods and drinks they aim to replicate, plant-based foods and drinks will continue to become more mainstream.”

– Joel Gregoire, Associate Director for Food & Drink

This report covers the following issues:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour and plant-based food and drinks.
  • Stated consumption and interest in plant-based alternatives across a range of categories.
  • Types of proteins consumers express interest in when it comes to plant-based foods and/or drinks (eg pea protein).
  • Drivers of and barriers to consumption of plant-based alternatives.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • Plant-based meat alternatives
            • Plant-based dairy alternatives
              • Other plant-based alternatives
              • Executive Summary

                  • Top takeaways
                    • Market overview
                      • Impact of COVID-19 on plant-based food and drink
                        • Figure 1: Short, medium and long term impact of COVID-19 on plant-based food and drink, August 2021
                      • Opportunities
                        • The pandemic has accelerated adoption of plant-based alternatives
                          • Young men are ‘catching on’
                            • Plant-based alternatives can support retail and restaurant traffic
                              • Less ‘popular’ meat and dairy alternative categories can follow burgers’ and milk’s lead
                                • Challenges
                                  • Despite best efforts, many consumers will likely never be open to plant-based alternatives
                                    • Older Canadians are the hardest to convert to consuming plant-based alternatives
                                    • The Market – Key Takeaways

                                      • Innovative solutions are needed to sustainably feed the world’s growing population
                                        • Canada’s aging population is a headwind for plant-based alternatives
                                        • Market Factors

                                          • Innovative solutions are needed to sustainably feed the world’s growing population
                                            • Figure 2: Growth in global meat production vs global population, 1961-2018
                                          • Climate change will dominate the discussion over the next decade and beyond
                                            • Figure 3: Sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, 2018
                                            • Figure 4: McCain Foods I Farms of the Future, June 2021
                                          • Immigration is fuelling Canada’s long-term population growth …
                                            • Figure 5: Location of birth, by age, 2021
                                          • … and Asia is the primary source
                                            • Figure 6: Distribution of immigrants living in Canada, by region of birth, 1996-2036
                                          • Canada’s aging population is a headwind for plant-based alternatives
                                            • Figure 7: Percentage of Canada’s population aged 0-14 and 65+, 1988-2068*
                                        • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                          • Plant-based alternatives remain a long-term growth opportunity
                                            • Partnerships can leverage growing demand for plant-based alternatives
                                              • Online’s growth provides opportunity to make following a plant-based diet easier
                                              • Competitive Strategies

                                                • Plant-based alternatives remain a long-term growth opportunity
                                                  • Figure 8: Retail US sales of plant-based meat substitutes, 2015-20
                                                • Plant-based meat alternatives are covering an increasingly wide array of options
                                                  • Figure 9: Beyond Meat Beyond Burger Plant-Based Burgers (Canada), May 2020
                                                  • Figure 10: Ecoideas Organic Teriyaki Jackfruit Cubes (Canada), June 2019
                                                  • Figure 11: Vegetarian Plus Kung Pao Chicken (Canada), January 2020
                                                  • Figure 12: Loma Linda Taco Filling (US), October 2020
                                                  • Figure 13: OmniFoods Instagram post, August 2021
                                                  • Figure 14: PC President’s Choice Chickenless Breasts (Canada), February 2020
                                                  • Figure 15: Great Value Plant Based Chick’n Tenders (US), November 2020
                                                  • Figure 16: Good Catch Thai Style Plant-Based Fishless Cakes (US), December 2020
                                                  • Figure 17: Good Catch Oils & Herbs Fish-Free Tuna (US), December 2020
                                                  • Figure 18: Tofurky Plant-Based Beer Brat Sausage (US), February 2020
                                                  • Figure 19: Yves Veggie Cuisine Kale & Quinoa Bites (Canada), September 2020
                                                  • Figure 20: Lightlife Smart Dogs Plant-Based Hot Dogs (Canada), June 2021
                                                • Plant-based dairy alternatives are extending well beyond milk
                                                  • Figure 21: Daiya Cheddar Flavoured Slices (Canada), July 2021
                                                  • Figure 22: Miyoko’s Creamery Fish Free Lox Cultured Vegan Cream Cheese (US), September 2020
                                                  • Figure 23: Daiya New York Cheezecake (Canada), July 2021
                                                  • Figure 24: Oatly! The Original Salted Caramel Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (US), May 2021
                                                  • Figure 25: Daiya Classic Vanilla Bean Flavored Coconut Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (US), December 2020
                                                  • Figure 26: Plant-Based Mango Mochi Frozen Dessert (Canada), October 2020
                                                  • Figure 27: Dah! India Style Alphonso Mango Almond Yogurt (US), June 2020
                                                  • Figure 28: Avocadomilk Chocolate Flavored Avocado Drink (US), November 2020
                                                  • Figure 29: Kite Hill Dips Tzatziki Dip (US), August 2020
                                                  • Figure 30: Nabati Foods Instagram post, August 2021
                                                • The war of words between different interests persists
                                                • Market Opportunities

                                                  • Are plant-based claims the new ‘all-natural’ in ‘the next normal’?
                                                    • Partnerships can leverage growing demand for plant-based alternatives
                                                      • The Canadian government’s investment in plant-based protein is a vote of confidence in the industry’s growth
                                                        • Online’s growth provides opportunity to make following a plant-based diet easier
                                                          • Cultured meat is slated to be another innovative option for those looking to easily alter their diet
                                                          • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                            • The vast majority of Canadians eat/drink meat and dairy
                                                              • COVID-19 has had a positive impact on the consumption of plant-based alternatives
                                                                • Health is the main usage driver, but it’s far from being the only factor
                                                                  • Traditional sources of plant-based protein continue to get the most interest
                                                                    • There’s room for both plant-based alternatives and meat in many people’s diets
                                                                      • Plant-based alternatives can help support traffic at stores and restaurants
                                                                      • Dietary Preferences

                                                                        • The vast majority of Canadians eat/drink meat and dairy
                                                                          • Figure 31: Dietary preferences, 2021
                                                                          • Figure 32: Dietary preferences, by age, 2021
                                                                      • Consumption of Plant-based Alternatives by Category

                                                                        • Half of Canadians consume plant-based alternatives
                                                                          • Figure 33: Plant-based food and drink alternatives eaten and/or drunk, 2021
                                                                        • Young adults are more receptive to plant-based alternatives
                                                                          • Figure 34: Plant-based food and drink alternatives eaten and/or drunk by category, by age, 2021
                                                                        • South Asians and Chinese Canadians are important to plant-based alternatives’ success in Canada
                                                                          • Figure 35: Plant-based food and drink alternatives eaten and/or drunk, South Asians vs Chinese Canadians vs overall, 2021
                                                                          • Figure 36: Plant-based food and drink alternatives eaten and/or drunk, by region, 2021
                                                                        • There’s room to expand the consumer base for different plant-based alternatives
                                                                          • Figure 37: Interest in eating or drinking plant-based alternatives, 2001
                                                                      • Impact of COVID-19 on Consumption of Plant-based Food and Drink

                                                                        • COVID-19 has had a positive impact on the consumption of plant-based alternatives …
                                                                          • Figure 38: Change in eating or drinking habits around plant-based foods/drinks compared to before COVID-19, 2021
                                                                          • Figure 39: Change in eating or drinking habits around plant-based foods/drinks compared to before COVID-19 by age, 2021
                                                                          • Figure 40: Percentage of consumers who are eating/drinking more plant-based foods/drinks compared to before COVID-19, by parental status & fathers vs mothers, 2021
                                                                        • … with concerns over animal-based products prevalent
                                                                          • Figure 41: Attitudes toward animal and plant-based meat during COVID-19, 2021
                                                                          • Figure 42: Attitudes toward animal and plant-based meat during COVID-19 (% agree), by age, 2021
                                                                      • Reasons for Consuming or Not Consuming Plant-based Alternatives

                                                                        • Health is the main usage driver, but it’s far from being the only factor
                                                                          • Figure 43: Reasons for eating/drinking plant-based food/drink alternatives, 2021
                                                                          • Figure 44: Reasons for eating/drinking plant-based food/drink alternatives, by age, 2021
                                                                          • Figure 45: Reasons for eating/drinking plant-based food/drink alternatives, by region, 2021
                                                                        • Concern over taste remains the biggest barrier to winning over new consumers
                                                                            • Figure 46: Reasons for not eating/drinking plant-based food/drink alternatives, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 47: Reasons for not eating/drinking plant-based food/drink alternatives, by age, 2021
                                                                        • Protein Sources of Interest in Plant-based Foods and Drinks

                                                                          • Traditional sources of plant-based protein continue to get the most interest
                                                                            • Figure 48: Interest in protein sources of interest in plant-based food/drinks, 2021
                                                                          • Familiar proteins hold greater appeal with older consumers
                                                                            • Figure 49: Protein sources of interest in plant-based food/drinks, 18-44s vs over-45s, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 50: Protein sources of interest in plant-based food/drinks, women vs men, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 51: Protein sources of interest in plant-based food/drinks, South Asians vs Chinese Canadians vs overall, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 52: Interest in soy in plant-based foods/drinks, British Columbians vs overall, 2021
                                                                        • Statements About Plant-based Alternatives

                                                                          • There’s room for both plant-based alternatives and meat in many people’s diets
                                                                            • Figure 53: Statements about plant-based alternatives that apply, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 54: Maple Leaf 50/50 Beef Plant-Based Burger (Canada), May 2020
                                                                          • Plant-based alternatives can help support traffic at stores and restaurants
                                                                            • Figure 55: Select statements about plant-based alternatives that apply, by age, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 56: Statements related to plant-based alternatives being a traffic driver and restaurants being a good venue for trial (% agree), 2021
                                                                            • Figure 57: Statements related to plant-based alternatives being a traffic driver and restaurants being a good venue for trial (% agree), by age, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 58: Statements related to plant-based alternatives being a traffic driver and restaurants being a good venue for trial (% agree), South Asians vs Chinese Canadians vs overall, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 59: “I look for restaurants with plant-based options”, by region (select), 2021
                                                                        • Attitudes Toward Plant-based Alternatives

                                                                          • Plant-based alternatives allow individuals to adjust their diets without changing their habits
                                                                            • Figure 60: Select attitudes toward plant-based food/drinks, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 61: Attitudes toward moderating consumption of meat and dairy and plans to consume more plant-based food/drinks (% agree), by age, 2021
                                                                          • Most consumers don’t believe plant-based alternatives are as good as ‘the real thing’
                                                                            • Figure 62: Attitudes toward taste and protein content, plant-based alternatives vs animal-based food/drink, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 63: Attitudes toward protein content, plant-based alternatives vs animal-based food/drink (% agree), Chinese Canadians vs overall, 2021
                                                                          • Exposure and trial are central to driving growth of plant-based alternatives
                                                                            • Figure 64: Attitudes toward cross-category experiences and merchandizing for plant-based alternatives, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 65: Attitudes toward cross-category experiences and merchandizing for plant-based alternatives (% agree), by age, 2021
                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

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

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