Description

This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the US Plant-based Proteins market including US Plant-based Proteins market size, plant based protein market share, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the Plant-based Proteins market in the US.

Current market landscape

Plant-based meat alternatives (PBMAs) sales have stalled following phenomenal growth in 2020, which indicates there are some key challenges brands must overcome. While trendy, PBMAs are primarily occasional purchases rather than household staples, and meat remains a mainstay in consumers’ diets. 77% of consumers agree that meat is a key component of an American diet, and 62% agree that meat is a component of a healthy diet.

Future trends in the plant based protein market

Rising inflation will dampen the PBMA market, as consumers generally gravitate toward familiar foods during periods of economic uncertainty. Consumers perceive PBMAs as a poor value, signaling possible short-term sales stagnation or decline if consumers feel uncertain of their economic situation. Nevertheless, more affluent consumers are the core purchasers of PBMAs, indicating a need for PBMA brands to expand and diversify their customer base. Conversely, natural plant-based proteins (PBPs) such as beans will benefit from rising inflation as more consumers seek healthy, affordable protein options.

Brands must overcome lingering negative perceptions of the PBMA category, particularly around attributes such as taste, value and versatility. Position PBMAs as options for consumers interested in occasionally reducing their meat consumption and highlight how PBMAs provide variety to consumers’ diets and helps consumers reduce their personal carbon footprints.

Though the PBMA market faces short-term challenges, the long-term market outlook remains bright. The development of better tasting, less-expensive PBMAs will allow brands to capture more mass market consumers, and the creation of new PBMA formats will bring PBMAs into new consumption occasions. Interest in reduced meat diets such as flexitarianism will increase over time as consumers consider the climate implications of their food choices, which in turn will drive demand for both PBMA and natural PBP products.

Read on to discover more about the US Plant-based Proteins consumer market, read our U.S Plant-based Proteins Market Report 2021, or take a look at our other Food research reports.

Quickly understand plant based protein market trends

  • Consumer attitudes toward PBPs.
  • Impact of rising inflation on the PBMA market.
  • PBMA product innovation.
  • Reasons for PBP consumption.

Covered in this plant based protein market report

Brands include: Wholesome Meats, Helpful Hens, Seemore, Volpi, Kellogg, Beyond Meat, Conagra Brands, Impossible Foods, Maple Leaf Foods, Turtle Island Foods, MorningStar Farms, Gardein, BOCA, Dr. Praeger’s, Lightlife, Field Roast, Tofurky, Meati, Sundial Foods, Juicy Marbles, Plantish, Burger King, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Beyond Pepperoni, LesserEvil, Biena, HTY, Nuttee Bean Co, Parm Crisps, Pig Out, Trader Joe’s, It’s Jerky Y’all, Eat the Change, Gotcha! Plant-Based!, Country Archer Provisions, Engine 2 Plantstrong, Tattooed Chef, Saffron Road, A Dozen Cousins, Gerber Organic, Enfamil, Disney Table Scraps, Wild One, Because it’s Better, Halo, Spring & Sprout, JUSTEgg.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Caleb Bryant, a leading analyst in the Food and Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis on the plant based protein market in the US to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

PBMA sales are slowing following the market’s pandemic-driven growth in 2020, as initial trial of PBMA products has not translated to sustained category engagement. The PBMA market faces a positive long-term outlook; the development of better tasting, less-expensive products along with increased interest in climate-friendly diets will propel future sales of PBMAs. However, consumers’ desire for familiar foods due to high inflation will challenge the category in the short term. Conversely, natural plant-based proteins such as legumes face a key opportunity to promote their value and versatility during a time when budget-conscious consumers are interested in cooking healthy, inexpensive meals at home.
Caleb Bryant, Associate Director of Food and Drink Reports
Caleb Bryant
Associate Director of Food and Drink Reports

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • PBMA market stalls following pandemic gains
      • Figure 1: Total US retail sales and forecast of plant-based meat alternatives, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 2: Category outlook, 2022-27
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Meat garners high praise
      • Figure 3: Protein perceptions, 2022
    • Promote PBP BFY claims
      • Figure 4: Reasons for eating plant-based proteins, 2022
    • Varying attitudes toward PBPs signals long-term growth but short-term challenges
      • Figure 5: Plant-based protein attitudes, any agree, dietary preference, 2022
    • Rising inflation will dampen PBMA consumption
      • Figure 6: Protein consumption, by household financial situation, 2022
    • Target young parents and the next generation of PBP consumers
      • Figure 7: Meat alternative behaviors, by parental status* and age, 2022
    • PBMAs expand in foodservice, but dishes must be more than just a novelty
      • Figure 8: Change in incidence of PBMAs and semi-processed PBPs as a menued ingredient, Q4 2018-Q4 2021
  3. Market Size and Forecast

    • Market retains COVID boost but faces a slowdown
      • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of plant-based meat alternatives, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 10: Total US retail sales and forecast of plant-based meat alternatives, at current prices, 2017-27
  4. Segment Performance

    • Refrigerated meat substitute segment stalls following a flurry of new product launches
      • Figure 11: Total US retail sales and forecast of plant-based meat alternatives, by segment, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 12: Total US retail sales and forecast of plant-based meat substitutes, by segment, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 13: share of meat alternative product launches by storage type, 2013-21
  5. Market Factors

    • Consumers look to reduce their carbon footprints…
    • But consumers would rather adopt other sustainable behaviors than cut back on meat
      • Figure 14: Interest in adopting sustainable behaviors, 2022
    • Inflation presents the PBP market with challenges and opportunities…but mostly challenges
      • Figure 15: Changes in Consumer Price Indexes for food
      • Figure 16: Protein consumption, by household financial situation, 2022
    • Meat companies mitigate their environmental impact
    • Consumers honed their cooking skills during the pandemic
    • Population changes benefit plant-based proteins
      • Figure 17: Population, by generation, 2016-26
  6. Market Share

    • Private label brands cash in on the meat alternative trend
      • Figure 18: Multi-outlet sales of plant-based meat alternatives, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2021 and 2022
      • Figure 19: Meat alternative product launches, branded vs private label, 2018-21
    • Brands struggle to maintain momentum gained during the pandemic
      • Figure 20: Multi-outlet sales of frozen meat substitutes, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2021 and 2022
    • Impossible emerges as the winner in the crowded refrigerated meat alternative segment
      • Figure 21: Multi-outlet sales of refrigerated meat substitutes, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2021 and 2022
  7. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Market contraction signals a need to go back to basics
      • Figure 22: Purchase Intelligence – attribute score, PBMAs vs meat products, January 2020-April 2022
    • Meat alternatives move beyond the burger and nugget format
    • PBMAs expand on menus but brands must target new accounts
      • Figure 23: Change in incidence of PBMAs and semi-processed PBPs as a menued ingredient, Q4 2018-Q4 2021
      • Figure 24: Penetration of PBMAs and semi-processed PBPs as an ingredient, by segment, Q4 2018-Q4 2021
    • Legumes lose out as operators simplify menus
      • Figure 25: Change in incidence of legumes as a menued ingredient, Q4 2018-Q4 2021
    • PBMA menu items receive mediocre response at major QSR chains
    • Plant proteins expand to the snacking occasion
    • Lean on legumes’ value and celebrate plants as plants
      • Figure 26: Sources of cooking inspiration, by generation, 2021
    • Gen Alpha is growing up with plant-based proteins
      • Figure 27: YouTube video: Drew Barrymore’s Best Friend | TV Commercial 2022 | Quorn
    • As goes human food, so too goes pet food
    • Diet will become another front in the culture wars
      • Figure 28: Interest in adopting sustainable behaviors, eat less meat for the environment, by area, 2022
    • Marketing differentiation is necessary in the crowded PBMA category
  8. The Consumer – Fast Facts

  9. Trended Dietary Preferences

    • Flexitarianism trends slightly, but reduced meat diets remain niche
      • Figure 29: Trended dietary preferences, 2020-2022
    • Demographic profiles by diet type
      • Figure 30: Dietary preferences, demographic profiles, indexed against all consumers, 2022
    • Vegetarians and vegans love international foodservice experiences
  10. Protein Consumption

    • Meat alternative brands must expand their consumer base
      • Figure 31: Protein consumption, by select demographics and food/drink shopper segmentation, 2022
    • Plant-based meat can act as a gateway into other plant-based alternatives
      • Figure 32: Plant-based proteins consumed, by dietary preference, 2022
    • Leverage the influence of home chefs
      • Figure 33: Plant-based proteins consumed, by home cooking enjoyment, 2022
  11. Natural Animal Protein Substitutes

    • Nuts and beans are convenient, affordable animal protein substitutes
      • Figure 34: Animal protein substitutes, 2022
    • Flexitarians satisfy their protein needs from multiple sources
      • Figure 35: Animal protein substitutes, by dietary preference, 2022
  12. Protein Perceptions

    • PBMAs must overcome taste perceptions
      • Figure 36: Correspondence analysis – Protein perceptions, 2022
      • Figure 37: Protein perceptions, 2022
    • Younger parents can pave the way for new generations of plant-based consumers
      • Figure 38: Protein perceptions, PBMAs, by parental* status and age, 2022
    • Fear of the unknown requires education
      • Figure 39: Protein perceptions, PBMAs, by dietary preferences, 2022
  13. Meat Alternative Behaviors

    • Consumers are trying meat alternatives but the category lacks stickiness
      • Figure 40: Meat alternative behaviors, 2022
      • Figure 41: Protein consumption frequency, 2022
    • Meat alternatives offers vegetarians/vegans options when dining out
      • Figure 42: Meat alternative behaviors, by dietary preference, 2022
    • Young parents keep meat alternatives stocked at home
      • Figure 43: Meat alternative behaviors, by parental status* and age, 2022
  14. Preferred Plant-Based Proteins

    • Champion the benefits of pea protein
      • Figure 44: Preferred plant-based proteins, by dietary preference, 2022
      • Figure 45: US meat alternatives with select protein ingredients, 2018-21
  15. Reasons for Eating Plant-Based Proteins

    • Health and a desire for variety drives plant-based protein consumption
      • Figure 46: Reasons for eating plant-based proteins, 2022
    • Flexitarians view plant-based proteins as better for themselves and the environment
      • Figure 47: Reasons for eating plant-based proteins, any rank, by dietary preference, 2022
    • Plant-based options provide older consumers a natural source of healthy protein
      • Figure 48: Reasons for eating plant-based proteins, any rank, by generation, 2022
    • PBPs help Black consumers achieve their health and wellness goals
      • Figure 49: Reasons for eating plant-based proteins, any rank, by race/ethnicity, 2022
  16. Reasons for Not Eating Plant-Based Proteins and Trial Motivators

    • Flavor concerns prohibit PBP trial
      • Figure 50: Reasons for not eating plant-based proteins, by age, 2022
      • Figure 51: Plant-based protein trial motivators, by age, 2022
  17. Plant-Based Protein Attitudes

    • America is a meat-loving country, but Gen Z will redefine the American diet
      • Figure 52: Plant-based protein attitudes, 2022
      • Figure 53: Plant-based protein attitudes, any agree, by generation, 2022
    • The foodservice industry offers expansion opportunities
      • Figure 54: Plant-based protein attitudes, foodservice attitudes, 2022
    • PBMA attitudes vary widely by dietary preference
      • Figure 55: Plant-based protein attitudes, any agree, dietary preference, 2022
    • Young parents are raising the next generation of plant-based protein consumers
      • Figure 56: Plant-based protein attitudes, any agree, by parental status* and age, 2022
  18. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Social media research
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  19. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 57: Total US retail sales and forecast of plant-based meat alternatives, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 58: Total US retail sales and forecast of frozen meat alternatives, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 59: Total US retail sales and forecast of refrigerated meat alternatives, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27

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