UK sales of meat substitutes to increase 25% by 2021

Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence has released its latest predictions that meat and dairy substitutes will grow strongly to 2021, with milk substitutes growing most rapidly by 43% and meat substitutes by 25%.

Changing consumer habits, and the rise of the ‘flexitarian’, have led to reduced consumption of meat and milk in favour of more vegetables and meat alternatives. Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence predicts that this trend will continue and the market for alternative proteins will grow rapidly over the next four years, outpacing growth in the market for meat and milk products.

Strong growth is also predicted in the market for meat substitutes, including mycoprotein products such as quorn. Sales are predicted to increase 25%, from $240 million in 2016 to $300m in 2021.

This growth in the market for meat substitutes also includes new products being brought to market at both the cellular and acellular level, although these still remain a relatively small section of the market when compared to mycoprotein. The change in eating habits perhaps reflects increasing concerns amongst UK consumers around health, animal welfare, and the environmental impact.

The value of milk alternative sales, including soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk, is set to increase 43% in the UK by 2021. While total sales of milk alternatives were just $280m in 2016, Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence is predicting sales of $400m by 2021.

Over the same period, UK sales of milk are predicted to rise by just 5.2%, from $3.87 billion in 2016 to $4.07bn in 2021. While milk sales will grow, the increase in demand for milk alternatives is growing at a much faster rate.

While UK demand for milk and meat alternatives is growing rapidly, there is much greater growth predicted in the US, Australia, and China. While meat substitute growth is predicted to grow 25% in the UK, growth in China is predicted to be 46%, offsetting some of the increase in meat consumption as the Chinese middle class continues to grow.

When it comes to milk alternatives, the UK market is growing at a similar rate to other western markets, with 43% growth predicted in the US and 47% in Australia. In China, where the market for milk alternatives is already much higher, growth is predicted to be 19% by 2021.

Alan Bullion, special reports and projects director at Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence, says, “As consumers in the UK and around the world begin making tentative steps away from milk and meat due to animal welfare, environmental, or health concerns, we’re expecting to see continuing strong growth in sales of alternative protein products.

“While milk and meat alternatives are still a long way from impacting on the massive global meat and milk markets, they will continue to capture a slice of the growing worldwide protein market.”

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