Retail sales in western Europe were higher than North America (£1.6bn), while global sales of plant-based meat grew by 17% to £4.3bn. Eastern Europe saw the largest sales growth, up 34% to £147m.
Europe’s plant-based companies received £190m in invested capital last year. However, this was behind both North America (£861m) and Latin America (£238m). Cultivated meat companies followed a similar trend with Europe (£93m) behind the US (£537m) and Israel (£288m).
The report also found evidence that large companies had begun to recognise the potential of p0lant-based as a more sustainable source of food, with work by JBS (the world’s largest conventional meat company) and Nomad Foods announcing inroads into the sector.
Carlotte Lucas, corporate engagement manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said the report highlighted there was still more to do to improve the profile of plant-based alternatives and noted how investments in European sustainable protein firms trailed those seen in other parts of the world.
“European companies have been leading innovators in this space, but with other regions – particularly the United States and Israel – taking sustainable proteins more seriously, there is a real risk of Europe falling behind,” she added.
“Transforming meat production is essential for European governments to meet their climate targets. To achieve this, the public and private sectors must fund open-access research and supply chain infrastructure to democratise sustainable protein knowledge and open up the market to producers of all shapes and sizes.”
Lucas called for plant-based and cultivated meat to receive the same level of support as has been afforded to the development of low-cost renewable energy to better give consumer easy access to sustainable choices.
Meanwhile, vegan Easter eggs and sugar-free chocolate were top trends going into Easter 2022, according to B2B online marketplace ShelfNow.