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Plant-based foods

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GAUGING GROWTH

Concerns for the environment, animal welfare and an ongoing focus on health and wellness continue to drive consumer interest in plant-based meat, seafood and dairy alternatives

MARKET OUTLOOK

9.22% CAGR (2022 – 2027)

“ Over the medium term, the market is expected to be driven by the increased consumer demand for vegan food and beverages such as coconut milk, almond milk, and plant-based meat products, among others. Further, the rising preference forspecific nutrients has led to an increased demand for functional plant-based food and beverages, which are usually fortified with vitamins and other essential nutrients.”

Mordor Intelligence, Canada Plant-Based Food and Beverages, Growth Trends & Forecasts (2024-2029)

37% OF CANADIANS say food that contributes to their fruit and vegetable intake is an important consideration when grocery shopping.

53% OF CONSUMERS agree plant-based products should taste indistinguishable from meat.

Mintel 2024 Global Food and Drink Trends

33% of Canadians have tried a plant-based meat alternative

43% have consumed a vegan dairy substitute

31% have consumed alternative meat products at least once a week, and 50% say the same for plant-based dairy

34% consider plant-based products to taste good

40% believe plant-based alternatives offer high nutritional value

Dalhousie University and Caddle survey, April 2023

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WEIGHING IN ON A PLANT-BASED MARKET

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“Plant-based foods and beverages have been in transition since they first emerged in the market. We’ve seen ‘plant-forward’ transition into highly processed faux meat substitutes fueled by tech funders and venture capital… Expectations are rising in the plant-based space in terms of no compromise on taste or health. Consumer curiosity drove the first wave of product trials, but most will not pay a price comparable to meat for a product they view as a disappointing alternative to the real thing…The overabundance of these products in retail, both refrigerated and frozen, suggests there will be a consolidation of products on the shelf now that we have passed the initial curiosity trial phase…Perhaps the way forward is to celebrate what’s best about the plant rather than what it’s replacing.”

Jo-Ann McArthur, president and founder of Nourish Food Marketing, Trend Report 2024

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“Plant-based entrants in the seafood market are increasing due to environmental concerns and a demand for sustainable alternatives. This reflects a broader shift towards plant-based foods and sustainable eating.

“Established and legacy brands are increasingly offering plant-based versions of conventional products, signalling a recognition of the growing demand for plant-based options. I suspect we will see continued adaptation by these companies to address changing consumer preferences and to capture a share of the expanding plant-based market. We are seeing collaboration between brands to bring together complementary strengths leading to innovative and appealing products for consumers. This is a recognition of the benefits of strategic partnerships for creating unique and marketable products to potentially attract a broader consumer base.

“A shift towards more authentic and culturally diverse culinary experiences is happening, combining flavours and styles from various cuisines. For consumers, this means globally inspired options catering to a growing interest in diverse, convenient meal options.

“On-going research, new and novel ingredients along with consumer feedback, are expected to drive further innovation in the plant-based food industry. The emphasis is on making plant-based options that taste great, and are nutritious and sustainable, including reduced ingredient lists to respond to consumer demand for transparency and simplicity.”

Leslie Ewing, executive director, Plant-Based Foods of Canada

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THE NEXT FRONTIER: SEAFOOD

In November 2023, three Canadian businesses and Protein Industries Canada announced a multi-million-dollar investment in the development of a plant-based salmon.

The project will see New School Foods, Liven Protein and NuWave Research combine their expertise to commercialize a “whole-muscle cut of plant-based salmon that transforms from raw to cooked,” with the goal of creating a product that offers the same taste and texture as its seafood counterpart. The $11.4-million project includes an investment of just over $4.5 million from Protein Industries Canada, which is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization formed to position Canada as a global source of high-quality plant protein products.

The innovation follows on the heels of recent plant-based seafood launches in Canada: Canadian startup Seed to Surf introduced two vegan seafood alternatives packed in tins and made with whole vegetables – Mushroom Snow Crab and Celery Root Smoked Whitefish; and B.C.-based Modern Plant-Based Foods launched a vegan caviar called “Kaviar.”

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