A new report released by Bloomberg predicts that the plant-based food market will exceed $162 billion within the next decade, a multiple of more than 4 times the current size of nearly $30 billion. The publication attributes consumers growing concerns about sustainability and a preference for healthy foods as driving factors of the plant-based surge.

Bloomberg Intelligence (BI) issued the report entitled 'Plant-Based Foods Poised for Explosive Growth,' to showcase the steep rise of the plant-based market in recent years and to project the continuing growth trajectory. The report collected research and information from more than 2,000 companies across 135 industries in the global market. BI’s prediction would mean that the 2020 market valuation of $29.4 billion would increase by 451 percent.

“Food-related consumer habits often come and go as fads, but plant-based alternatives are here to stay – and grow,” BI’s Senior Consumer Staples Analyst Jennifer Bartashus said. “The expanding set of product options in the plant-based industry is contributing to plant alternatives becoming a long-term option for consumers around the world.”

Over the last year, several plant-based giants including Impossible Foods, Oatly, and Beyond Meat have solidified partnerships with international companies to increase accessibility to plant-based foods. The push to expand both manufacturing capabilities and distribution range is pushing the plant-based movement forward at an accelerated pace, helping popularize the vegan diet. As consumers become more concerned with the dangers of climate change and animal agriculture, plant-based diets are becoming more appealing.

“Restaurants and other food service companies will play a critical role in driving long-term trial and consumption of plant-based products,” the report states. “ Large restaurant chains–including Starbucks (which sell Oatly milk beverages), Burger King (home of the Impossible Whopper), and Del Taco and Taco Bell (both sell Beyond Meat products)–and others have played a critical role in advertising meu items and driving customer interest and trial orders. Restaurants are an easy venue to try a plant-based meat or dairy product and can influence shopping for at-home consumption.”

BI’s report detailed specific spikes within the plant-based market among different vegan categories. Vegan dairy is slated to take up 10 percent of its global market shares within the next decade. Beyond dairy, the report goes on to claim that the alternative meat market could surge from $4.2 billion to 74 billion in the next decade. The impressive growth is only BI’s more moderate prediction. Another more aggressive scenario suggests that the plant-based meat market could exceed $74 billion to $118 billion by 2030.

The vegan meat market’s sharp growth can be attributed to plant-based protein companies’ expansive efforts to develop and distribute these new products. Companies such as Beyond Meat have taken strides to maximize their products’ range, giving people worldwide an opportunity to try a plant-based protein over conventional animal-based meat.

With increasing concerns regarding sustainability and population growth, plant-based companies are working to provide a more sustainable option that’s healthier for the planet and the consumer. Beyond Meat’s CEO Ethan Brown is working to create a new form of the supply chain that will boost the production and distribution of his company and the plant-based market.

“Specific investments and activities include: the establishment of more localize production with closer proximity to our highest priority markets; more integrated end-to-end production processes across a greater proportion of our manufacturing network; scale-driven efficiencies in procurement and fixed-cost absorption; further diversification of our core protein ingredient supply chain; continued improvements in throughput across our manufacturing network; certain product and process innovations reformulations; and packaging optimization,” Brown said in May during an Earnings Call, laying out his plans for the company’s betterment.

With the climate crisis nearing the breaking point, attention has been directed towards animal agriculture. The newest UN report found that animal agriculture presents a significant danger to the planet and everyone who lives on it, being tied directly to the rising global temperatures and subsequent natural disasters. The production of meat and dairy products was found to require a substantially higher level of land and water than plant-based food production, presenting a clear danger to the environment and food supply.

A study in 2018 from Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene concluded that total global food production currently provides enough calories to feed 9.7 billion people, which is the size that the 2050 population is predicted to grow to. Nearly 34 percent of global crop production is funneled into animal agriculture for dairy and meat production, however, so cutting back on animal products will allow farmers to feed the worlds' population and do so more sustainably.

With rising awareness of the climate impact of animal agriculture and especially the meat industry, Bloomberg Intelligence concluded that consumers will continue to convert to more plant-based diets.

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