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   December 18, 2020

Due to health concerns, ethics, and sustainability, diet patterns across the globe are changing. While only 6% of Americans are vegetarian, and 3% vegan, almost 40% are shifting toward eating more plant-based foods (Source: Nielsen Report). In 2018, the global vegan food market was calculated to be worth $12.69 billion. According to vegan statistics, more than 39% of people in the U.S. are adding more vegan food options to the dishes they eat. A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce the impact on the earth. It suggested animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of earth’s farmland. Some of the detailed statistics on the vegetarian and vegan population across the globe are as follows:

  • According to the Heinrich Boll Foundation, in 2019, ~8% of the world's population was vegetarian.
  • In the U.S., around 4% of men and 7% of women are vegetarians. The number of vegans in the U.S. grew by 600% from 4 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2018.
  • Similarly, in India, around 31-40% of the population is considered vegetarian.
  • In Europe, vegetarians are approximately 10% of the total population. According to the Vegan Society, in 2018, ~600,000 (1.16% of the U.K. population) followed a vegan diet.
  • Between 2014 and 2019, Germany had registered a 14.9% growth in its vegan population. Moreover, between 2011 and 2016, Italy had noted the fastest-growth of 94.4% in its vegan population.
  • In 2018, the Chinese government released new dietary guidelines that encouraged people to reduce their meat consumption by 50%.

In 2018, 40% of millennials were identified as vegan. Baby Boomers and Generation X accounted for 21% each, with only 2% of seniors labeling themselves vegan. Dairy alternatives have started to capture some serious attention of these consumers. This traction in the dairy alternatives & vegan products market is also supported by food security challenges in terms of growing demand from livestock animals and the human population to ensure longer sustainability of the animal protein model. The Mediterranean Diet — a meal pattern with a high proportion of plant foods — was ranked the “Best Overall Diet” in 2020 by the U.S. News and World Report.

Planned vegetarian and vegan diets are nutritionally adequate for everyone, from pregnant women to children to athletes. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan diets are healthful and nutritionally adequate as they reduce the risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Dairy alternative-based diets are high in fiber and provide all the nutrients when planned well. Both vegetarians and vegans use plant-based protein sources for dairy alternatives, such as beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy foods, and protein powders.

With food security challenges, the vegan food trend is gaining traction and will continue to evoke interest in the upcoming years. Food demand, therefore, should increase proportionally or even more because, at the same time, food behaviors are changing. In addition, F&B manufacturers from various countries are leveraging plants, creating new categories and disrupting old ones. Most of the countries are already committed, at various stages, to initial nutritional transition.

Figure 1 A lighthouse for future food consumption

Source: Meticulous Research® Analysis

Thus, growing venture capital investments, which supports the growth of plant-based product companies and increasing focus of leading meat & dairy producers to build up a portfolio of investments in plant-based proteins is expected to drive the growth of the global dairy alternatives market.

Thus, factors such as the growing vegan population, rising awareness on nutritional benefits offered by plant-based dairy products, and rapid changes in the food industry in the recent past, ranging from changing consumer habits to innovative products on shelves and evolving consumer awareness in response to their health consciousness are leading to significant demand for alternatives dairy products, thereby driving the growth of the global dairy alternatives market.

Meticulous Research® in its latest publication on ‘Dairy Alternatives Market’ states that the global dairy alternatives market is expected to reach USD 44.89 billion by 2027, supported by a CAGR of 11.2% during the forecast period of 2020 to 2027.

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