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Veganism and vegetarianism isn’t restricted to just fruits and vegetables—the vegetarian and vegan food industry is prosperous, diverse, and full of delicious alternatives to meat, cheese, and other non-vegan foods. As the number of people adopting vegan and vegetarian diets increases, the market will undergo further growth and innovation. Here are five of the biggest trends currently shaping the growing vegan and vegetarian food industry:
1. Fast-casual vegan restaurants: More fast-casual restaurants in North America and Europe are offering vegan and vegetarian options, and more exclusively vegan and vegetarian restaurants are being established. Many offer alternative versions of mainstream dishes—for example, Doomie’s, a vegan restaurant in Toronto, Ontario, offers an entirely vegan version of a McDonald’s Big Mac. These restaurants are broadening the market for vegetarian and vegan food, and are offering consumers with meatless diets more options when dining out.
2. Mainstream vegan sweets: Vegan ice cream has hit the mainstream market, with almond milk-based options now available from notable vendors like Ben & Jerry’s and Breyers. Vegan chocolate bars and candies are also growing in popularity. Alter Eco Foods, for example, offers a wide range of vegan dark chocolate bars, and Surf Sweets sells a range of vegan and nut-free gummy candy.
3. Vegan cheese: As any experienced dairy-free individual knows, finding a satisfying vegan cheese can be very tough work. Luckily, the cheese options available in the vegan and vegetarian food market are becoming more sophisticated and advanced. UK-based supermarket Tesco recently released a line of coconut-based vegan cheeses offered in nine different varieties. Nut-based and plant-based cheeses are also gaining popularity over soy-based cheeses.
4. Increased variety of meat alternatives: According to Global Meat News, the global meat substitute market—which includes products like tofu, textured vegetable protein, seitan, and others—will grow at a CAGR of 8.4% until 2020, when it will be worth over USD 5 billion. This will increase the food options available to consumers who don’t eat meat and will likely mean that meat substitute products are more widely available.
5. Growth of packaged vegan foods: According to Technavio, the global market for packaged vegan foods will grow at a rate of more than 11% until 2020. This market includes products like prepared meals, bakery and confectionery items, snacks, and others. The growth of this market is in part due to the number of Millennials adopting vegan and vegetarian diets and increased consumer demand for pre-packaged foods that suit their dietary needs. Packaged vegan food and vegan products will be more widely available and more affordable, making adopting and maintaining a vegan diet much easier for a greater number of people.