Launches featuring the term ‘vegan’ also rose to account for 4.3% of total introductions in 2015, up from 2.8% in 2014 and just 1.5% in 2012, the report by Innova Market Insights found.
The trend towards reducing meat intake had led to the emergence of new opportunities to target vegans, vegetarians, non-meat eaters and non-red-meat eaters, Innova claimed.
Another emerging group was the so-called ‘flexitarians’ – the term for people who mainly eat a plant-based diet, but do occasionally eat meat.
The rise of these diets had accelerated the move toward the use of plant-based proteins as meat substitutes, the report said.
While the majority of meat substitutes were still based on soy or wheat-protein, products with alternative proteins such as egg, pea, ancient grains and nuts were evolving, it added.
“This trend represents a growing opportunity for high-quality meat alternatives, which is also being reflected in the 24% average annual growth in global meat substitute launches recorded between 2011 and 2015,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights.
Germany has been leading the way, with 69% of consumers claiming to eat meatless meals at least once a week, she said.
“Paradoxically, another opportunity may be in targeting meat eaters as much as vegetarians,” Williams added.
“While many vegetarians may opt for a diet rich in vegetables and beans, meat eaters may turn to meat substitutes if the product is right.
“Instead of just finding alternatives, technological solutions also need to focus on the development of meat substitutes that closely mimic the taste and texture of meat.”