Rising vegetarian trend threatens demand for meat, says report


Beef Central (Australia)

April 10, 2019


AS the cost of meat continues to rise, a surging demand for vegan and vegetarian products represents a growing threat to local demand for Australian meat and dairy, business analyst IbisWorld says in a new report.


According to IBISWorld research, demand for plant-based products has surged in recent years, with food manufacturers, retailers and food service operators in Australia “constantly having to introduce new products to keep up.”


“The quality of these products is increasing at a rapid pace, with plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy foods continuously being launched. Unilever recently launched a plant-based alternative to its Magnum ice cream products, and popular food chains Hungry Jacks, Grill’d and Schnitz have all recently added plant-based options to their menus, in an attempt to take advantage of rising demand,” said IBISWorld senior industry analyst, James Caldwell.


Rising cost of meat increasing demand for plant-based products


While demand for plant-based foods had soared over the past five years, so too has the price of meat products, IbisWorld’s report said.


This trend had weakened local demand for meat products, and “forced the meat sector to turn to overseas markets to sustain growth,” it suggested.


“Surging demand for plant-based alternatives represents a growing threat to local demand for meat and dairy products, which may in turn affect the long-term viability of the Australian meat processing, cattle farming, and dairy product producing and processing industries.”


Nestle launches plant-based burger pattie


The IbisWorld report was released the same week that global food manufacturing giant Nestle announced plans to enter the alternative proteins market, with the launch of a plant-based burger pattie in Europe and the US.


In a statement, Nestle said its new pattie is 100pc plant-based, with natural protein from soy and wheat. It contains natural plant extracts such as beetroot, carrot and bell pepper to help create the look of a beef burger before, during and after cooking.


Nestlé’s head of food business Wayne England said the new burger patties did not compromise on flavour, texture and cooking experience, underlining Nestlé’s increased focus on tasty, authentic plant-based food.


“We believe this trend is here to stay, as consumers look at different ways to enjoy and balance their protein intake and lower the environmental footprint of their diets,” he said.


Both the European and US lines are “the result of collaboration between culinary chefs, alternative protein researchers and local food experts,” Nestlé said.


“Many consumers recognise that less meat in their diet is good for them and for the planet, but plant-based meat alternatives often do not live up to their expectations,” Nestle said.


It said the new burgers would allow even meat-lovers to enjoy a veggie burger that hardly differed from a traditional burger.


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