It’s almost a week since the Plant Based World Expo was successfully held at Design Centre, Islington – the first exhibition of fish, meat and dairy alternatives in Europe. And, the buzz continues
Europe’s alternate meat market dominates the world with 40 percent of the market share. While several startups driven by technology are upping their game with newer products, major food brands like Burger King, Mc Donald’s and KFC are showing their allegiance by introducing vegan/plant-based substitutes to their menu. The trend has been acknowledged recently by Europe’s largest pork producer Danish Crown. CEO of the company Jais Valeur admitted that they were wrong in underestimating the plant based meat trend. The company announced its decision to reduce the carbon footprint by increasing their plant-based meat production.
In addition to vegans and vegetarians the trend is also leading to an increase in the number of practicing flexitarians. According to a recent survey Europe has 4 flexitarians for every 10. This upward trend was visible at the recently held Plant Based World Expo Europe in London.
Highlights of Plant Based World Expo Europe -
The top names in the alternate meat space from Europe and with sizeable market in the continent were all there.
Clive’s Purely Plants, VFC, LoveSeitan, Better Nature, Mighty, Crack’d, Fable Food Co, Flax & Kale, Future Farm, FazendaFuturo, Heura Foods, Meatless Farm, Jack & Bry, LAVIE, Miami Burger Company, THIS, VBites Group, Omni Foods, Beyond Meat, Vegums, Biff’s, Dopsu Food, Les Nouveaux, Affineurs had stalls at this physical exhibition space, and they shared their experiences on their professional social media network.
Bernat Ananos of Heura Foods said the expo takes us ‘’one step closer to have the impact we want to see in the planet.’ “The food system is obsolete and we all need to push into the same direction as there is nothing more important than the animals, planet and our health.”
Akanksha Ghai, Co Founder B Veg, intergrated plant based meat facility from India shares her experience of meeting people with similar vision at the London Expo – “We are so grateful and pleased that our appearance at the Plant Based World Expo Europe in London was very well received!
The leanings we have taken away are going to help us reach greater heights. We really appreciate the feedback of all the people who tasted our products and we look forward to reconnecting in the future.”
For an industry that is estimated to be a 45 billion dollar worth by 2040, there are surely the venture capitalists invested in the growth of alternate meat. Interestingly among them are the vegan/ vegetarian and environment advocates who focus on promoting meatless industry.
Matthew Glover, Managing Director Veg Capital, a business activist shared, “It was a great show and we took some very strong leads. Congratulations to the organisers for a well organised event and delivering an enthusiastic audience.” Veg Capital provides early-stage capital to companies striving to replace the use of animals in the food system
Judith Camacat from Paris-based venture capital fund Five Seasons Ventures wrote an article mentioning few of the impressive brands from the expo. She does mention ‘THIS’ for their marketing and plant based meat that is closest to the real meat; ‘La Vie’ and their bacon slices so that won the best bacon prize of the Conference; Umiami and their plant-based whole cuts made through unique technology to create fibrous texture; Seabloom Foods’ tuna-free flakes very close to the real thing when used in sandwich. And Crack’d scrambled eggs and Willicroft Farm. Five Seasons invested in a plant-based snacking company producing healthier chocolates the Nu Company.
Food Strategy Associates shared their inputs after attending the event. According to them one of the significant challenges highlighted was price. ‘The plant based industry will not reach its full potential until the category can get closer to parity with traditional meat.’ The other important issues that were raised at the Expo, according to one of the leading strategy consultants for food and drinks industry, were the focus on larger and better retail shelf spaces, on producing cleaner labels and lesser processing and above all innovation. They mention on their website – “…while there are undoubtedly big hurdles to overcome, what’s clear is that momentum to narrow the gap to meat/dairy is building and is coming not just from the brands but from retailers, investors, public sector and, most importantly, consumers.”
A series of reports including the one by Ernst & Young address few of the concerns - The report estimated that the cost of alternative proteins, such as plant-based meat, will reach price parity with conventional meat by the mid-2020s, and even undercut meat prices by 2030.
The challenges are there, and there is so much to develop and achieve. However the pace at which various food technology companies and brands are moving ahead with research indicate that these issues will be addressed in addition to catering to the demands of the newly emerging and growing market across the world.
Meanwhile the plant based industry is already looking forward to yet another event aimed at yet another huge market – Plant Based World Expo United States in December.