Plant-based Protein Market Revolution: How Innovation is Shaping the Future of Food

Chicago, June 17, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The plant-based protein market is estimated at USD 14.2 billion in 2024 and is projected to reach USD 20.5 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2024 to 2029. The plant-based protein market has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, fueled by shifting consumer preferences towards healthier, more sustainable dietary choices. This market encompasses a diverse array of products derived from plants, including soy, pea, wheat, and rice, providing alternatives to traditional animal-based proteins. With the rise of vegetarian, vegan, and flexitarian lifestyles, there has been a surge in demand for plant-based protein products across various food categories, ranging from meat substitutes to dairy alternatives and beyond.

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Soy Source is Estimated to Dominate the Source Segment

Soy protein is widely embraced as a valuable plant-based protein, processed into soy isolates, concentrates, and textured forms, all abundant in essential amino acids vital for human health. Its consumption, particularly in conjunction with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, has been endorsed by the FDA for reducing the risk of heart disease, with a recommended intake of 25 grams per day.

The soaring global demand for soy proteins is prompting companies in the plant-based protein sector to enhance their market presence by introducing new soy protein-based products. Amfora’s recent launch of high-protein soy flour in February 2024, derived from non-GMO soybeans bred for elevated protein content, illustrates soy’s significance as a nutritional powerhouse. With its array of essential amino acids and health advantages, soy is becoming the preferred protein source for consumers seeking sustainable options. This commitment is echoed in initiatives like Benson Hill Inc’s introduction of TruVail, a line of soy protein ingredients tailored for use in various food products, catering to the burgeoning market for alternative plant-based proteins.

The Liquid Segment is Estimated to Grow at a Significant CAGR During the Forecasted Period

The traditional approach to obtaining plant protein from legumes typically involves a liquid-based method, which necessitates significant quantities of water and energy due to hydration needs. Legumes rich in starch, such as peas and beans, undergo separation by dissolving the protein and suspending starch granules in water. Meanwhile, oil-rich sources like soy and lupine undergo solvent extraction to isolate the oil content. These protein components are commonly used in animal feed and can be further processed into isolates, primarily employed in nutritional supplements and beverages. This pattern is driven by the increasing global demand for plant-based protein, prompted by the growing shift away from conventional dairy and whey-based options. Liquid plant-based proteins, valued for their convenience as they require minimal preparation compared to powdered alternatives, appeal to busy individuals seeking quick and nutritious meal solutions. Moreover, their adaptability in culinary contexts, from enhancing smoothies and shakes to enriching soups, sauces, and dressings, contributes to their popularity in the kitchen.

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The Asia Pacific is Estimated to Grow at the Fastest CAGR

In the Asia Pacific region, there is a rising demand for fortified nutritional food and beverage items due to busy lifestyles and increased disposable incomes. This demand is particularly evident in the increasing preference for dairy alternatives, such as various forms of soymilk, driven by greater economic power among consumers. Major countries in the region, including Japan, Australia, China, and India, are experiencing significant growth in this sector, with key market players like Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Company, Freedom Foods Group Ltd., Vitasoy International Holdings Limited, and Purcharest leading the way. This growth is fueled by changes in consumer lifestyles, urbanization, dietary diversification, and increased foreign direct investment in the food sector. Moreover, rising incomes, a growing middle-class population, heightened health and fitness awareness, and a demand for nutritional products are creating promising opportunities for growth and diversification in the region’s food industry.

The import data of soybeans in China, as reported by the OECD, has shown a remarkable increase from 35.34 million in 2019 to 60.46 million in 2023. This surge highlights the growing demand for soybeans in the region, indicating expanding opportunities for plant-based protein across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. As soybeans are a primary source of plant-based protein, this upward trend in imports reflects a shifting consumer preference toward plant-derived protein alternatives. The rise in soybean imports not only mirrors changing dietary habits but also presents promising prospects for the plant-based protein market in APAC, signaling a growing awareness of sustainability, health consciousness, and the benefits of plant-based diets among consumers in the region.

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