European retail sales of plant-based alternatives have seen huge growth over the past decade. Almost 10% per year since 2010. While still representing a small share of the market, ING estimate that the plant-based alternatives food market in the EU and UK will be worth €7.5 billion by 2025, compared to €4.4 billion in 2019.
The 10% growth rate is expected to be maintained as investment and innovation in the food industry and supply chain significantly reduce current barriers, such as price-gap, user experience, and distribution.
However, that’s not to say these plant-based alternatives won’t have challenges…
Firstly, start-ups were the first movers in the competition for ‘the plant-based consumer’. FMCGs then followed. As more and more companies focus on this space, competition increases - making it difficult for new entrants.
Secondly, lobbying and legislation. This past Friday, for instance, the EU Parliament voted Yes to Amendment 171 which makes it illegal for plant-based foods to be compared to dairy products in future.
Oatly, who plan to IPO in 2021, are directly affected by this. Until now, their marketing efforts largely focused on their ‘not milk’ tagline. The new regulations mean they can no longer do this. They’ll also have to find new ways to talk about the health and environmental advantages they offer.
They’ve yet to consider sport, but others have. Quorn, for example, formed its own sustainable protein partnership. As part of the Liverpool’s ‘Reds Go Green initiative’, the team-up focuses on educating consumers. Other alternatives could copy, soon.