In recent years, there has been one major trend across the food industry; plant-based food. The rise has been incredible, breaking into the mainstream over the past 24 months with the likes of the Greggs Vegan Sausage Roll, Burger King’s Rebel Whopper, and the McDonalds McPlant Burger.
More people than ever are choosing new sources of protein and plant-based food options, which has helped to transform the food industry. In 2016, the Mintel Meat-Free Food Report revealed that the UK market was worth £559 million, whilst that is estimated to increase to £658 million by 2021.
This rapid rise is being fuelled by changing consumer trends, as the sale of meat-based food continues to decline, while innovative plant-based food becomes highly sought after. Earlier this year, Deliveroo in Ireland revealed that they had noticed a 187% increase in plant-based food orders, with Dublin and Cork leading the way.
What is causing this change?
Once considered a relatively fringe movement, a plant-based diet is now widely adopted across the globe. In 2018, research revealed that 4.1% of the Irish population followed a reduced meat diet, while 92% of all vegan meals consumed in the UK are eaten by non-vegetarians!
This monumental rise has gone hand-in-hand with a growing social awareness across the globe. There are many reasons why more people are adopting reduced meat or 100% vegan diets, with some of the most popular, including:
- Nutritional benefits
Significant food research and development has unlocked a host of new proteins from non-traditional sources such as mushrooms, fish, and dairy. These new protein sources are packed with essential nutrients, high in vitamin B and D, fibre, and antioxidants.
The current food industry is not sustainable at its current rate, requiring significant amounts of land, water, and energy. New Protein Sources such and Plant-based foods not only reduce this requirement but also produces far fewer greenhouse emissions.
- Meet growing demands
With billions of people in the world, and the population set to increase by another two billion by 2050, there is simply not be enough water and supplies on the earth to meet the demand to satisfy the traditional meat & two veg diet. Agricultural research shows that animal-based production utilises ten times more water than a plant-based one, so this growing shift helps to meet the nutritional needs of the increasing global population.
How the plant-based food industry is leading to job creation
This growing shift towards new food sources is not only helping to create a more sustainable future, but it is also leading to an increase in new career opportunities within the plant-based food sector from agriculture to research and development, product development and innovation, nutritional science, food engineering, supply chain, and marketing. It is an exciting time for the Irish food industry and arguably one of the biggest revolutions in a generation.
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