Food awareness organisation ProVeg International has encouraged meat producers to invest in the plant based protein sector, at the international trade fair of the meat industry in Frankfurt this week.

The organisation launched a report at the four day event entitled “The Future of the Meat Industry: Opportunities in alternative protein”, which outlined a number of consumer trends within the alternative protein, cultured meat and fermented meat alternatives markets.

According to ProVeg, there “are huge opportunities” for meat producers to seize in these sectors, and it stated that sales values of plant based meat in Europe in 2020 amounted to €1.4 billion.

The report presented findings that out of 10 European countries, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands had the highest sales of plant based meat, at €502 million, €357 million and €174 million respectively.

It also outlined that 90% of plant based food consumers are ‘flexitarian’ rather than vegetarian or vegan, which the report defines as “people who are more flexible in their diet, actively reducing their consumption of animal based foods and more receptive to alternative options”.

Following this conclusion, ProVeg recommended that marketing be directed at this group as they are “the largest and thus most important consumer group”.

Cultured meat

The report presented insights on cultured meat, also known as cultivated meat, in vitro meat or lab grown meat. It stated that these products can provide an alternative to animal meat for those who wish to exclude it or for people who want their diet to have a lower environmental impact.

The global cultured meat market is growing rapidly according to ProVeg International, with venture capital investment in the area totaling $360 million in 2020. This is six times the amount invested in 2019 and 72% more than was invested between the years 2016 and 2020.

It also quoted a finding from consultancy AT Kearney who predicted that “the cultured meat market share of the total meat sector will be 35% by 2040”.

The report concluded by recommended continued investment in this sector as well as encouraging all meat manufacturers to enter the plant based sector and seize its opportunities.