Boom in alternative proteins

These are incredible figures, as reported by the Good Food Institute (GFI) in its latest report dated 13 May 2020: 930 million US dollars were invested in alternative protein companies in the first quarter of 2020 alone. This means that the first quarter of 2020 has already cracked the industry's successful previous year: in 2019, the companies were able to win 824 million US dollars for the development of their alternative protein products.

The boom is not only continuing, it is also becoming increasingly stronger. 

The SPINS data compiled by GFI show that retail sales of plant-based meat in the USA already rose by 18 percent to USD 939 million last year. Covid-19 has now reinforced this trend. Since February, year-on-year sales of plant-based meat have grown significantly faster than those of conventional meat. According to the GFI, this could indicate "that the majority of consumers appreciate the practicality, safety and shelf life of plant foods and may include them as staple foods in their diet and as a source of convenience and nutrition.

This trend is evident not only in the United States, but also in the European Union. In Spain, for example, consumers are increasingly turning to plant-based meat alternatives. The vegan meat producer Heura was able to increase its retail sales in Spain by 13.7% during the Corona lockdown. Bernat Añaños, co-founder of Heura, sees "the growing awareness of consumers of the negative consequences of animal husbandry as a major driver of the market," the vegonomist reported on May 19, 2020.

According to Bernat Añaños, analyses indicate that alternative proteins will soon account for 10-20% of the current global meat market, as consumer interest has increased significantly due to a combination of health, safety, environmental and animal welfare concerns.

Reason enough for Germany's largest poultry producer PHW to continue to invest in meat-free alternatives. Together with the investor Blue Horizon, the group founded the company Foods United, based in Delaware, USA, to acquire majority stakes in meat replacement companies. 

Foods United has now acquired a 51 percent majority stake in Dutch Like Meat. The company produces crackers, doner kebabs, gyros and pulled pork based on pea protein and is increasingly producing organic soya.

It remains exciting to see how the meat industry will develop further.