October 2, 2023



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US Consumption Trend: 61% of Consumers Prefer Plant-Based Meat Products

In recent years, you must have heard of concepts such as "lab-grown meat," "plant-based meat," and "vegetarian meat." With consumers having more demands in the dietary aspect, it's not just about eating to fill up; it's also about eating well, eating healthily, and eating sustainably.

Especially with the rise of the Z generation and millennials, young consumer groups are increasingly pursuing a green and scientific lifestyle, leading to a surge in popularity and capital investment in alternative meats over the past few years.

Today, "North American Restaurant Data" takes you to explore consumer perspectives and attitudes towards alternative meats. As a restaurant business, how can you adapt to market changes and consumer habits? Let's take a closer look!

01. Insights into Plant-Based Meat Consumers

According to a new survey shared by Strong Roots and Food Industry Executive, 61% of consumers plan to increase their purchase of plant-based foods in the next six months, but nearly 40% of consumers are restricting or eliminating alternative meat products from their diets.

The survey found that the most commonly purchased plant-based products include frozen vegetables (54%), vegetarian burgers (42%), plant-based chicken nuggets (23%), and microwave or ready-to-eat foods (22%).

The report also analyzed the reasons why over 1,000 consumers residing in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland are reducing their consumption of "fake meat":

  • Preference for traditional meat (51%)
  • Dislike of the taste of substitutes (47%)
  • Fear of over-processed products (36%)
  • Concerns about artificial additives (36%)

The survey found that half of the consumers are uncertain about whether the product contains animal ingredients due to labels on the packaging. Nearly 70% of respondents believe that "plant-based protein" is synonymous with "vegan" on packaging labels, with only 33% of consumers further determining whether the product is truly vegan.

02. Types of Plant-Based Meat

Strictly speaking, "plant-based meat" can be classified into two categories:

  • "Plant-Based Meat" or "Plant Protein Meat": Various simulated meat products are produced by extracting plant proteins from peas, soybeans, and wheat. In simpler terms, it involves creating meat-like textures from soy-based products. This is not unfamiliar to us in Asian countries, where plant-based products like mock chicken and vegetarian meat have been consumed for centuries.
  • "Cell-Cultured Meat": Animal stem cells are placed in a culture dish, relying on scaffolding and culture medium to continuously multiply until they "grow" into meat. This type of "lab-grown meat" involves a complex process where researchers feed the stem cells with sugar, amino acids, fats, minerals, and various nutrients to facilitate their continuous growth, ultimately achieving mass production. The production cost of this type is very high.

03. Development of the US Plant-Based Meat Market

The US plant-based meat market is still experiencing rapid growth, holding approximately 24.6% of the global market share as of 2023. The United States has a deep-rooted tradition of meat consumption, particularly favoring poultry and beef. Ecological and ethical standards of poultry farming have gained widespread attention, catering to consumer preferences for sustainable food choices.

According to Future Market Insights (MRFR) data, "the plant-based meat market size was $220 million in 2022. According to predictions, the plant-based meat market is projected to grow from $330 million in 2023 to $9.47 billion in 2032," expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 51% throughout the forecast period (2023-2032).

Additionally, the United States is a leader in plant-based meat production technology. Just last week, a US-based plant-based meat company selected the Greater Chicago metropolitan area as the location for its first large-scale lab-grown meat production facility. The facility is designed to accommodate cultivation tanks with a capacity of up to 100,000 liters and will become one of the world's largest and most advanced commercial lab-grown meat facilities.

With the maturity of various lab-grown meat cultivation technologies and substantial investment, it is expected that the production cost of lab-grown meat will significantly decrease in the next 5 to 7 years. As a result, we have reasons to anticipate that various large and medium-sized restaurants will introduce alternative meat dishes, and consumers may find a wider variety of plant-based meat products in grocery stores.