Plant-based food trends in the UK vs US: Comparing the markets


Plant-based food trends in the UK vs US: Comparing the markets

The plant-based food market is growing rapidly all over the world, but there are noticeable differences between the plant-based food scenes in the UK and US. In this blog post, we will compare the two markets and explore the market drivers and trends in vegan and plant-based foods that are happening in each country, and worldwide.

Vegan food sector growth worldwide

Although the vegan food industry is growing — the rate of growth varies greatly across the world. More than 20% of food launches in the UK will be vegan in 2020, according to data from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), making it the global leader. This beats 18% for Germany, 16% for Poland, and 15% for the United States.

What’s driving the plant-based boom in America?

In the United States, veganism is gaining steam. Plant-based foods sales in the United States increased 11% from April 2018 to April 2019, whereas overall retail food sales increased only 2%. In 2019, the market has already reached $5 billion, and a July report from Meticulous Research predicts it could be worth $74.2 billion by 2027.

Evolving trends in America

Vegetarians and vegans account for less than 5% of the population in the United States, yet people are reducing their meat and dairy intake. Others are following flexitarian diets that cut down on meat and dairy, according to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA). In fact, one-third of Americans are actively reducing their meat and dairy intake by participating in “Meatless Mondays,” opting for an occasional veggie burger or stocking their fridges with plant milks alongside dairy. The new group, which are neither vegans or vegetarians, is driving the market growth and inspiring firms such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat to revolutionize plant-based meat substitutes. 

US companies innovating in vegan food

Even US companies, including Dominos and Starbucks, have debuted vegan versions of popular products in Europe before launching them in their domestic markets. Recently, we featured several global brands and including their new vegan offers. According to John Schoolcraft, global creative director at Oatly, European consumers are more aware of the climate crisis and are reducing their meat and dairy consumption as a result of the industries’ consequences. However, the number of vegans in the UK has remained constant over the last several years, ranging from 0.25% to up to six percent, depending on the study.

Plant-based food trends in the UK vs US: Comparing the markets

What’s driving plant-based food popularity?

What’s behind this growth in plant-based eating? There are a number of factors at play. First, there’s been a shift in attitudes towards plant-based eating, with more people adopting vegan and vegetarian lifestyles for ethical reasons. There’s also been an increase in awareness of the health benefits of plant-based diets, with studies showing that they can help reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Economic and environmental factors

In addition, plant-based foods have become more affordable and accessible in recent years, with a wider variety of products available in supermarkets and restaurants. And finally, there’s been a growing trend for sustainability and reducing our reliance on meat-based proteins.

Plant-based: Flexitarians fuel innovation on flavours

Non-vegans are helping fuel the plant-based boom. This is partially due to the rise in “flexitarian” diets, where people try to reduce their meat and fish consumption without committing to a vegan diet and is part of the reasons why brands are increasingly changing their wording from “vegan” to “plant-based.”

In the UK, around 41% of people are either meat- or poultry-free, or actively reducing their meat consumption, according to Mintel data, indicating a plant-based diet is becoming mainstream.

Plant-based food trends in the UK vs US: Comparing the markets

What does the future hold for plant-based food?

It’s clear that plant-based eating is on the rise, and the trend is only going to continue in the years ahead. The plant-based food market is predicted to reach $140 billion by 2029, so there’s a lot of potential for growth.

As more people become aware of the benefits of plant-based diets, we can expect to see plant-based food products become more popular. This growth is expected to be driven by millennials, who are the most likely age group to adopt plant-based eating and shop in health food stores. These consumers will also have a significant impact on future plant-based food trends, with many of them looking for vegan options and plant proteins that are both delicious and nutritious.

How does the plant-based food scene in the UK compared to America?

Let’s look at some of the key differences. The first thing to note is that plant-based eating has been popular in the UK for much longer than in the US. The plant-based food scene is well established, and there are a number of plant-based restaurants as well as vegan alternatives available at popular chains like Pret a Manger, Leon and Pizza Express.

In addition to plant-based restaurants and fast-food options, plant-based products are widely available in supermarkets. UK supermarkets are among the best in the world for plant-based food products. The UK is also home to some of the most innovative plant-based brands in the world, such as Beyond Meat.

UK supermarkets are among the best in the world for plant-based food products.

Plant-based food trends in the UK vs US: Comparing the markets

In terms of plant proteins, plant protein powders are widely available in the UK, and there are a number of plant-based meat alternatives like Quorn. The plant-based food scene in the UK is therefore well established, with a wide range of products available to consumers.

What is the plant-based food market like in the US?

In contrast, the plant-based food scene in America is still in its infancy. There are a few plant-based restaurants, but they’re not as widespread as in the UK. In addition, plant-based products are not as widely available in supermarkets, and there is less variety when it comes to plant proteins.

However, things are changing fast in America, and the plant-based food scene is growing rapidly. There is potential for growth in the years ahead, and we can expect to see more plant-based restaurants, products, and innovation in the US market.

Plant-based food trends in the UK vs US: Comparing the markets

So which country has the better plant-based food scene?

It’s hard to say, as they both have their strengths and weaknesses. The plant-based food market in the UK is well established, with a wide range of products available to consumers. However, the plant-based food market in America is growing rapidly and there’s potential for growth in the years ahead. As more plant-based restaurants open up across America and plant proteins become more widely available, plant-based eating will become even more popular.

The plant-based food scene is therefore likely to grow in both the UK and America in the years ahead, with plant proteins becoming increasingly available and plant-based diets becoming even more popular. So, whether you’re looking for a plant protein or vegan option at your local restaurant, plant-based eating is becoming more accessible than ever before.

Interested to learn more?

To learn more about innovation in plant-based food markets, please get in touch.

 

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