Report Summary

Convenience and versatility pack a punch in protein. Strengthening the category means stressing protein's ability to fill bellies amidst economic uncertainty.

Julia Mills, Food & Drink Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary

    • What you need to know
    • Consumer trends: key takeaways
    • Market size and forecast
    • Market predictions
    • Opportunities
  2. market dynamics

    • Market drivers
    • Market context
    • Declining inflation in certain protein types will create growth opportunities for some segments
    • Inflated away-from-home food prices will continue to encourage at-home food consumption, especially of proteins
    • Optimistic financial outlooks egg on protein purchases
    • Graph 1: opinions on financial future, 2024
    • Protein's value equation morphs as confidence grows
    • Graph 2: headline CPI, core CPI, and shelter CPI, 2021-23
    • Graph 3: consumer sentiment index, 2021-24
    • Protein availability is threatened by the category's vulnerability
    • Demand for protein's health benefits fuels category growth
    • Graph 4: important factors in food shopping*, 2023
    • Future of plant-based meats lies in fickle hands
    • Graph 5: "Typically, how often do you limit your meat intake," by age, 2023
    • Cell meat turns heads in the category… but must hurdle barriers
    • Cooking: fun for some, yet a task for others to overcome
    • New to the kitchen, Gen Zs cooking skills are in need of a glow up
    • Graph 6: reported "basic" cooking skill level, by generation, 2022
    • Graph 7: consumers reporting cooking more than last year, by generation, 2022
    • Market size and forecast
    • Protein consumption sees steady growth
    • Retail sales and forecast of protein and protein alternatives
    • Retail sales and forecast of protein and protein alternatives, at current prices
    • Retail sales and forecast of protein and protein alternatives, at inflation-adjusted prices
    • Market segmentation
    • Protein segments "meat" moderate gains
    • Retail sales of protein and protein alternatives, by segment
    • Graph 8: total retail sales and forecast of proteins and protein alternatives, by segment, at current prices, 2018-28
    • Retail sales of protein and protein alternatives, by segment
    • Market share/brand share
    • Sales of protein and protein alternatives, by company
    • Sales of poultry, by company
    • Going au naturale may be the secret to success in poultry
    • Sales of red meat, by company
    • Convenience steaks its claim, propelling brands like Tyson to the upper cut
    • Sales of fish and shellfish, by company
    • Nippon Suisan Kaisha and Aqua Star make a splash amongst category losses
    • Sales of plant-based proteins, by company
    • Impossible and MorningStar grow amidst a wilting category
  3. Consumer Insights

    • Consumer fast facts
    • Types of protein consumed
    • Animal proteins lead, but plant-based adapts to changing consumption
    • Meat's on the menu for the long haul
    • Graph 9: dietary preferences, 2022-24
    • Versatility and nutrition power usage of protein types
    • Graph 10: types of protein consumed, 2024
    • Gen Z's protein patterns: less routine, more spontaneity
    • Graph 11: types of protein consumed, by generation, 2024
    • Gen Z vibes with diet diversity
    • Graph 12: Millennial dietary preferences, 2022-24
    • Graph 13: Gen Z dietary preferences, 2022-24
    • Staple proteins stand firm through economic turbulence
    • Graph 14: types of protein consumed, by household income, 2024
    • Plant-based protein symbolizes a social status
    • Graph 15: protein types consumed, by age and income, 2024
    • Plant-based proteins gain parental approval
    • Graph 16: types of protein consumed, by parental status, 2024
    • Anticipated change in protein consumption
    • Shifts in perception fuel growth of lesser-used proteins
    • Graph 17: anticipated change in protein consumption, 2024
    • Plant-based protein consumers come back for seconds
    • Graph 18: anticipated change in protein consumption, 2024
    • Gen Z turns to BOTH animals and plants for their protein fix
    • Graph 19: anticipated increase in types of protein consumption, by generation, 2024
    • Tight budgets strengthen reliance on staples
    • Graph 20: anticipated change in poultry consumption, by household income, 2024
    • Graph 21: anticipated change in red meat consumption, by household income, 2024
    • Limited perceptions stunt seafood and plant-based protein growth
    • Graph 22: anticipated change in seafood consumption, by household income, 2024
    • Graph 23: anticipated change in plant-based protein consumption, by household income, 2024
    • Motivations for increased plant-based protein consumption
    • Health and novelty cultivate plant-based trends
    • Graph 24: motivators for increased plant-based and meat alternatives consumption, 2024
    • Plant-based protein motivators: rooted in health, diversity and personalization
    • Graph 25: "any rank" motivators for increased plant-based and meat alternatives consumption, by generation, 2024
    • Safety wins, but nutritional concerns loom
    • Graph 26: "any rank" motivators for increased plant-based and meat alternatives consumption, by parental status, 2024
    • Deliver on nutrition in plant-based, kid-focused proteins
    • Attributes associated with protein types
    • Staple proteins have established reputations
    • Graph 27: attributes associated with types of protein, 2024
    • Perceptions may strengthen (but also limit) growth
    • Establish regular habits with lesser-used proteins
    • Graph 28: protein types associated with "good for everyday," by generation, 2024
    • Boost animal-protein perceptions through education and culinary guidance
    • Graph 29: attributes associated with red meat, by generation, 2024
    • Graph 30: attributes associated with poultry, by generation, 2024
    • Animal-based protein purchase drivers
    • Quality is #1 in animal-sourced protein purchase drivers
    • Graph 31: animal-based protein purchase drivers, 2024
    • Handhold younger consumers during the purchase process
    • Graph 32: animal-based protein purchase drivers, by generation, 2024
    • Emphasize value beyond low price
    • Graph 33: animal-based protein purchase drivers, by household income, 2024
    • Factors that make an animal-based protein healthy
    • "Steak" claims on natural
    • Graph 34: factors that make an animal-based protein healthy, 2024
    • Engage younger consumers with clear and natural protein claims
    • Graph 35: factors that make an animal-based protein healthy, by generation, 2024
    • Link claims to tangible health benefits for children
    • Graph 36: factors that make an animal-based protein healthy, by parental status, 2024
    • Protein attitudes
    • Inspire diversity in protein consumption
    • Graph 37: attitudes towards protein, 2024
    • Simplify protein benefits to combat information overload
    • Graph 38: attitudes toward protein, by generation, 2024
    • Connect protein with satiety during times of financial insecurity
    • Graph 39: attitudes toward protein, by household income, 2024
  4. Competitive Strategies

    • Launch activity and innovation
    • Brands put the "plant" back in "plant-based"
    • Fuel the day with on-the-go proteins
    • Downsize packaging to maximize convenience
    • Graph 40: [no title]
    • Smaller formats inspire experimentation and create new snacking occasions
    • New product launches "meat" demand for ease and convenience
    • Graph 41: percent of protein launches with convenience-related claims, 2019-23
    • Brands strengthen convenience with pre-cooked and ready-to-heat
    • Brands ramp up accessibility to ease cooking time hassles
    • Graph 42: Giant Eagle Peruvian-style Marinated Chicken Breast performance, 2024
    • Brands egg-splore the three S's of flavor: sweet, spicy & smoky
    • Brands embrace global flavors
    • Nutrition labels get cleaned up with all-natural claims
    • Graph 43: launches of protein products by claim, 2019-23
    • Meat and veggies: a fusion of both flavor and nutrition
    • Marketing and advertising
    • Make mealtimes less high-steak
    • "Less is more" when it comes to usage ideas
    • Help consumers "sea" through the weeds
    • Sustainability means nothing without beefed-up claims & storytelling
    • Brands proactively develop eco-friendly proteins for Earth's benefit
    • Brands provide serving sizes for ridin' solo consumers
    • Opportunities
    • Tackle cooking dilemmas with a variety of meaty methods
    • No cap, Gen Z's need help in the kitchen
    • Promote plant-based proteins without using fear or shame tactics
    • Plant-based proteins: complimentary options, not animal-protein rivals
    • Take notes from the beauty industry
    • Prove that plant-powered proteins are nothing to veg out about
  5. Appendix

    • Market definition
    • Consumer research methodology
    • Correspondence analysis methodology
    • Generations
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Forecast
    • Forecast fan chart
    • The market
    • Retail sales and forecast of protein and protein alternatives, at current prices
    • Retail sales and forecast of protein and protein alternatives, at inflation-adjusted prices
    • Retail sales of protein and protein alternatives, by segment
    • Average annual household spending on proteins and protein alternatives
    • Total retail sales of proteins and protein alternatives, by segment, at current prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of poultry, at current prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of poultry, at inflation-adjusted prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of red meat, at current prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of red meat, at inflation-adjusted prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of fish & shellfish, at current prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of fish & shellfish, at inflation-adjusted prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of plant-based proteins, at current prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of plant-based proteins, at inflation-adjusted prices
    • Total retail sales of proteins and protein alternatives, by channel, at current prices
    • Sales of protein and protein alternatives, by company
    • Sales of poultry, by company
    • Sales of red meat, by company
    • Sales of fish and shellfish, by company
    • Sales of plant-based proteins, by company

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