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  • Published In : Feb 2024
  • Code : CMI2083
  • Pages :130
  • Formats :
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  • Industry : Food and Beverages

The meat substitute Market size is valued at US$ 2.89 Bn in 2024 and is expected to reach US$ 7.78 Bn by 2031, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.2% from 2024 to 2031.

Meat substitute, also called a meat analogue, is a meatless food that has similar appearance, taste, and texture to food made from meat, fish, or poultry. It is majorly made from non-meat ingredients, sometimes without using dairy products. The meat substitutes serve the vegetarian population, as they do not prefer meat consumption due to health, animals, or environmental concerns. Various health benefits associated with meat substitutes, such as aid in weight loss, preservation of bones, and maintaining normal blood sugar, are some of the factors fueling growth of the meat substitute market.

Market Regional Insights:

  • Europe is expected to be the largest market for global meat substitute market, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 36% during the forecast period. The growth of this market in Europe is attributed to increasing demand for meat substitute in countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia.
  • North America is expected to be the second-largest market for global meat substitute market, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 31% during the forecast period. The growth of this market in North America is attributed to increasing demand for meat substitute in countries such as the U.S. and Canada.
  • Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing market for global meat substitute market, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 18% during the forecast period. The growth of this market in Asia Pacific is attributed to increasing demand for meat substitute in countries such as India and China.

Figure 1. Global Meat Substitute Market Share (%), By Region, 2024

Meat Substitute Market By Region

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Analyst’s Views:

The global meat substitute market has tremendous growth potential over the next decade. Growing health and environment consciousness among consumers is driving the demand for plant-based meat alternatives. More people, especially Millennial and Generation Z, are reducing their meat consumption and adopting flexitarian or vegan diets. This trend is expected to skyrocket the demand for meat substitutes made from plant proteins like soy, wheat, and pea. Moreover, plant-based meat products mimic the taste, texture, and cooking quality of animal meat very closely nowadays, which is attracting even meat-eaters.

On the supply side, there is cut-throat competition among alternative meat producers to launch varied and innovative products in the market. Established food giants as well as thriving startups are heavily investing in research and development to perfect plant-based meat recipes and production processes. Consequently, the availability and affordability of meat substitutes is improving rapidly. The Asia Pacific region, especially China, is anticipated to dominate the global meat substitute industry owing to rising health awareness among the middle-class population.

Despite burgeoning opportunities, the development of distribution channels and consumer acceptance in price-sensitive and tradition-oriented markets continue to remain a challenge for the industry. Strict regulations around product labeling and marketing meat-free products as direct meat replacements also restrict the growth potential in some countries and regions.

Market Drivers:

Growing health awareness: Growing health awareness amongst consumers is a major driver for the growth of this market. With increasing knowledge about the links between red meat consumption and health issues like heart disease and cancer, consumers are looking for more plant-based protein options. Meat substitutes provide an appealing alternative for those wanting to adopt a more vegetarian or vegan diet while still getting protein in their meals.

Product innovations are also fueling the market as companies introduce new varieties of meat substitutes made from vegetarian ingredients that closely mimic the texture and flavor of real meat. Consumers who are health-conscious but not fully vegan appreciate products that allow them to easily swap out meat in many of their regular dishes. For example, plant-based burgers, sausages, and ground meat alternatives offer a like-for-like substitution for meat without having to change cooking methods or recipes. This has supported wider acceptance of meat substitutes beyond strict vegan or vegetarian consumers.

Looking ahead, the future prospects for meat substitutes are strong. A 2021 United Nations report projected global meat consumption to rise by over 15% by 2030 due to population and income growth. However, with climate change and sustainability issues also a growing concern, more people will opt for plant-based options to reduce their environmental footprint. A 2020 Nature Food study found that shifting average U.S. diets to incorporate more plant-based meat substitutes and consume 20-50% less ruminant meat could reduce pressure on land and water use while achieving dietary recommendations.

Innovations in meat substitute product offerings: The global meat substitutes market has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade due to increasing awareness about health and environmental sustainability. Consumers are looking for alternatives to meat that can fit into their lives seamlessly. Companies have responded by developing incredibly realistic and tasty meat substitute products through continuous innovations. Products like plant-based burgers, sausages, nuggets, etc. closely mimic the taste, texture, and cooking experience of real meat. The ingredients used, such as pea protein, soy, wheat, and others, can be mixed and matched to achieve desired attributes in products. Emerging technologies are also enabling more sophisticated formulations. This has attracted both vegetarians as well as "flexitarians" looking to reduce meat consumption. According to a 2021 survey by the United Nations, 31% of global respondents said they want to eat less meat for health or environmental reasons. The availability of diverse, appealing substitute options that can be easily purchased from grocery stores or ordered online makes it more convenient for consumers to embrace sustainable diets.

Going forward, companies are investing in replicating specific cuts of meat and developing brands dedicated to particular cuisines to further expand their customer base. Cell-based meats that are grown directly from animal cells without slaughter are also an upcoming innovation. They will minimize environmental impact while offering products commercialized at scale by 2030, according to experts from the World Economic Forum.

Market Opportunities:

Growing fast food chains and food outlets adopting plant-based options: The growing adoption of plant-based options by leading fast food chains and food outlets globally provides a massive opportunity for expansion in the meat substitute market. As consumers become more health-conscious and concerned about sustainability and animal welfare, having vegetarian and vegan alternatives on the menu helps these big businesses appeal to newer customer segments.

Several fast food giants have already begun responding to flexitarian and climate-conscious customers by rolling out plant-based burger patties, nuggets, and sausages. Major chains like McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Subway, Starbucks, and Dunkin' have introduced faux meat products developed in collaboration with innovative startups. Their widespread availability at approachable price-points exposes these novel foods to a much wider audience beyond vegan purists. The appeal increases multifold with appropriate marketing and positioning of their nutritional and environmental benefits. As per United Nations data, global beef and dairy meat consumption needs to decline 25% by 2050 to mitigate the effects of climate change. Widespread adoption of plant-based meats by mainstream retailers effectively nudges this transition. The entry and commitment of dominant food conglomerates validate emerging technologies in cultivated and plant-based meat production. It draws greater private funding into new protein sources and mass manufacturing techniques. As options multiply on menus, consumer awareness and willingness to experiment with meat analogs will grow significantly. The market is poised to expand exponentially if plant-curious flexitarians convert into regular buyers over time.

Demand for authentic meat like products: Authentic meat-like products could be a great opportunity for the global meat substitutes market going forward. Consumers today are more concerned about health, sustainability and animal welfare than ever before. Many people want to reduce their meat consumption for these reasons but also enjoy the taste and texture of meat. This is where authentic meat substitutes have a unique advantage. These products closely mimic the sensory experience of eating meat like chicken, beef or pork but are made from plant-based or cultured alternatives without any animal products involved. As consumer awareness and demand for sustainable and ethical food options grow worldwide, authentic meat substitutes are poised to capture a large part of the flexitarian consumer base seeking low to no-meat diets. Currently, manufacturers are innovating rapidly in this space using advanced food technologies to engineer meat substitutes with fibers, fat marbling and flavors that closely mimic real meat. Younger consumers today especially are more open to novel foods and care deeply about issues like climate change which drives meat production. As new generations who grew up with exposure to diverse cuisines and plant-based options become a larger part of the global population, demand for authentic and sustainable meat alternatives is expected to skyrocket in the next five years. This is an opportunity ripe for food companies to capture the shifting preferences of consumers and drive significant future growth.

Meat Substitute Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2023 Market Size in 2024: US$ 2.89 Bn
Historical Data for: 2019 to 2023 Forecast Period: 2024 - 2031
Forecast Period 2024 to 2031 CAGR: 15.2% 2031 Value Projection: US$ 7.78 Bn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa:  GCC Countries, Israel,  and Rest of Middle East
Segments covered:
  • By Product Type: Tofu, Quorn, Tempeh, Seitan, , Textured Vegetable Protein, Mushrooms, and Others
  • By Source: Soy, Cereal, Mycoprotein, Oilseed and Others
  • By Category: Frozen, Refrigerated, and Shelf-stable
  • By Distribution Channel: Online Stores and Offline Stores
Companies covered:

DowDuPont Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Company, Amy’s Kitchen Inc., MGP Ingredients, Inc., Beyond Meat Inc., Sonic Biochem Extractions Ltd., VBites Foods Limited, The Nisshin OilliO Group, Ltd. Garden Protein International, MorningStar Farms, and Meatless BV.

Growth Drivers:
  • Growing health awareness
  • Innovations in meat substitute product offerings
Restraints & Challenges:
  • Limited product varieties and strong meat preferences
  • Issues regarding taste, texture and appearance matching real meat

Market Trends:

Rising popularity of fast casual restaurants with vegan-flexible menus: The rising popularity of fast casual restaurants offering vegan-flexible menus is having a significant influence on this market. More fast food chains and restaurants are recognizing the growing demand for plant-based options and are adding vegetable-based proteins to their menus. This is creating higher awareness and visibility around meat alternatives. When popular restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Grill include choices like soyrizo, plant-based chorizo or tempeh tacos on their menus, it normalizes meat substitutes and allows them to gain mainstream appeal. Customers who may not have considered vegan or veggie options earlier are now willing to experiment when familiar brands offer dishes with meat alternatives. This is directly boosting the trial and adoption of mock meats. Restaurants are also leveraging their loyal customer base and targeted marketing abilities to promote their new sustainable menu items made from plant-based proteins. The easy availability of prepared vegan dishes at ubiquitous fast casual eateries is fueling the trial of meat substitutes in a low involvement manner. As per an International Food Information Council report, 33% of U.S. consumers said they are interested in plant-based meat alternatives, specifically because restaurants are including them on menus. The report also mentioned that 35% of U.S. flexitarians said the inclusion of meat substitutes on fast food menus would make them order vegan or vegetarian options more frequently.

Marketing strategies focusing on health, sustainability and ethics: Marketing strategies focusing on health, sustainability, and ethics are significantly influencing the global meat substitutes market. Many consumers are increasingly concerned about their personal health and the environmental impact of industrial animal agriculture. They are seeking out plant-based meat alternatives as a healthier and more eco-friendly option.

Plant-based meat companies are actively marketing their products as being not only healthier than conventional meat but also as more sustainable and ethical. They highlight that producing plant-based meats uses less land, water and emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions than animal agriculture. For example, in 2022, according to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, plant-based milk requires around a quarter of the land and emits seven times fewer emissions than dairy milk per glass. Meat substitute brands also emphasize that no animals are harmed in the production of their goods.

This focus on health, environmental, and farmed animal welfare issues has resonated strongly with consumers and positively impacted the demand for meat alternatives. Popular meat substitute brands prominently advertise these sustainability benefits on their websites and packaging. Retailers also assist in raising awareness by placing plant-based meat products alongside regular meat options in stores. The combined effect of increased consumer education and the availability of substitutes has been rapid growth in the demand for meat alternatives, according to the Good Food Institute.

Market Restraints:

Limited product varieties and strong meat preferences: Limited product varieties and strong meat preferences are major restraining factors for the growth of this market. Currently, most of the meat substitute products available in the market are focused on replacing chicken and beef. However, there is a very limited variety available for other types of meat like pork, lamb, and seafood. Since people have strong preferences for specific types of meat in their regular diets, the lack of diversity in product offerings fails to cater to those demands. Unless meat substitute brands are able to innovate and launch products mimicking different meats, they will not be able to achieve higher acceptance amongst consumers with diverse taste preferences.

Even for chicken and beef replacements, most of the products available are focused on mimicking the texture and taste of cooked meat in dishes like patties, nuggets, sausages, etc. However, there is a lack of raw cuts and premium product options that can truly replace the whole meat counter experience. Thus limited mimicry of meat in its several forms is restricting the market from reaching its true potential and switching over habitual meat lovers.

Sociocultural norms also influence strong meat preferences in many parts of the world. For example, according to the Indian government ministry of statistics and program implementation report from 2020, non-vegetarian food, including meat, poultry, and seafood, is an intrinsic part of daily diets for many regions and communities across India. Unless meat substitutes cater to local taste buds with culturally appropriate formats, it will be difficult to convince such regions to shift diets to alternatives. The European Commission report from 2021 also found high demand and consumption of meat, especially beef, poultry, and pork, across European countries due to traditional cuisines heavily incorporating natural meats. These deep-rooted food habits limit the potential replacement by substitutes that fail to mimic the locals' plate preferences.

Issues regarding taste, texture, and appearance matching real meat: The taste, texture and appearance of plant-based meat substitutes not exactly matching those of real meat are major restraining factor for the global meat substitutes market. Consumers are still not fully convinced that meat substitutes can provide an authentic meat-like eating experience. While plant-based products have come a long way in terms of mimicking various meat qualities, there remains a perceptible difference in taste, mouth feel and visual appeal when compared to animal meat. This mismatch in sensory experience is a significant consumer turn-off for those seeking direct replacements for meat products in their diets. Manufacturers have been undertaking extensive research and development efforts to narrow this sensory gap. However, fully replicating the complex matrix of fat, protein, and moisture content of various meats has proved challenging. Soy, wheat, and pea-based substitutes can come close on some parameters but are yet to achieve parity on others. For example, vegetarian burger patties may appear similar but lack the juiciness and flavors released during cooking that beef burgers are known for. Even foods aimed at emulating chicken and pork cannot perfectly mimic meat fibers and tend to have a slightly grainy or mealy texture. This sensory discrepancy requires most consumers to adapt their expectations when consuming meat analogs. The inability to seamlessly switch between real meat and substitutes without compromising eating experience is hindering the complete acceptance of the latter as viable meat alternatives.

According to a 2020 report by the United Nations Environment Program, nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed said they would consume more plant-based alternatives if they matched the taste of meat. A separate European Consumer Organization finding from 2022 highlighted texture as the primary sensory deficit reducing trial of meat substitutes.

Counterbalance: To overcome this restraint, the key market players need to expand their product varieties because strong meat preferences are major restraining factors for the growth of the global meat substitute market.

Recent Developments:

New Product launches:

  • In August 2023, Nestle expanded its range of plant-based products, offering consumers more options for meat alternatives. The company launched a line of shelf-stable plant-based cooking solutions in Chile under the Maggi Veg brand, including plant-based minced meat and lentil and vegetable soup. These products are designed to be accessible, affordable, and sustainable, with a longer shelf-life than frozen or fresh products. The Nestle Company’s products include food, beverages, chocolate, and confectioneries.
  • In January 2022, KFC launched Beyond Fried Chicken, made up of plant-based meats, at different locations globally. KFC, formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, is an American fast food restaurant chain that specializes in fried chicken.

Mergers and Acquisition:

  • In September 2020, Nestle acquired Sweet Earth, a California-based producer of plant-based meats and other vegan food products.               

Figure 2. Global Meat Substitute Market Share (%), By Source, 2024

Meat Substitute Market By Source

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Top Companies in this Market

  • DowDuPont Inc.
  • Archer Daniels Midland Company
  • Amy’s Kitchen Inc.
  • MGP Ingredients Inc.
  • Beyond Meat Inc.
  • Sonic Biochem Extractions Ltd.
  • VBites Foods Limited
  • The Nisshin OilliO Group Ltd.
  • Garden Protein International
  • MorningStar Farms
  • Meatless BV.

Definition: Meat substitutes, also known as meat alternatives, are food products that mimic the esthetic qualities and/or chemical characteristics of real meat. They are typically prepared from vegetarian or vegan ingredients and are designed to replicate the taste, texture, and appearance of specific types of meat, such as red meat, poultry, or fish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Limited product varieties and strong meat preferences and issues regarding taste, texture and appearance matching real meat are expected to hampering market growth of global meat substitute market.

Growing health awareness and innovations in meat substitute product offerings are the major factors driving the growth of the global meat substitute market.

The soy sub-segment is the leading source segment in the global meat substitute market. 

Major players operating in the global meat substitute  market includes DowDuPont Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Company, Amy’s Kitchen Inc., MGP Ingredients, Inc., Beyond Meat Inc., Sonic Biochem Extractions Ltd., VBites Foods Limited, The Nisshin OilliO Group, Ltd. Garden Protein International, MorningStar Farms, and Meatless BV.

Europe region leads the global meat substitute market.

The CAGR of the global meat substitute market is 15.2%.

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