How is Coronavirus changing plant-based diets? by Ben Rowbottom, DJPR

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Recently Euromonitor International conducted an analysis of the effect of COVID-19 on plant-based products. The results were presented in a webinar which you can access here. A summary of thekey findings is presented below.

COVID-19 has led to more considered, in home and locally produced consumption and interest in mentally uplifting products. This is creating opportunities for plant-based products:

  • with fewer and local ingredients
  • that are less processed, natural or have functional attributes e.g. probiotics or omega-3s.
  • as ingredients for home cooking
  • with a low-price gap to animal products
  • to shift from foodservice to retail and direct to consumer channels.

Plant-based meat

Prior to COVID-19 the drivers for plant-based meats were health and climate concerns, followed by price then animal welfare.

Globally, in 2020 an 11% decline in the growth of meat analogues to foodservice and a 12% increase in the growth in retail volume is expected, driving retail space competition. COVID-19 stockpiling has led to a strong growth in meat analogues. Income reductions will put downward price pressure on meat analogues, which are mostly purchased by individuals with disposable income over US$25,000, creating an opportunity to provide products that compete with meat on price.

Plant-based dairy

Prior to COVID-19 demand for plant-based dairy was driven by health concerns, Asia Pacific was the largest market, with the strongest growth in North America and Western Europe.

Initial COVID-19 stockpiling increased purchases of shelf stable products. COVID-19 has shifted demand from foodservice to retail. Globally, in 2020 a 14% decline in growth in milk alternatives to foodservice and a 2% increase in growth to retail is expected, driving a refocus to retail. Overall growth in milk alternatives is expected, with a decline in soy-based products. Plant-based milk alternatives are price competitive with milk, however plant-based yoghurt and ice cream are yet to reach price parity.

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