Market & Trends

Ernst & Young Study Defies Plant-Based Market Decline, Anticipates Global Growth to Soar from $16.5 to $139 Billion by 2035

A recent study conducted by Ernst & Young projects substantial, global growth in plant-based protein sales by 2035.

According to the report, global plant-based meat sales are anticipated to soar from $16.5 billion in 2021 to $139.4 billion by 2035, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.5 percent. 

“Long-term, the findings suggest the growth of the plant-based food sector will be significant”

Funded by Protein Industries Canada, the study leverages data from the Food and Agriculture Organization, Good Food Institute, and other third-party sources to examine factors impacting the plant-based protein market, including increased price sensitivity, tight labor markets, higher preference for healthy foods and rapid growth in emerging markets. 


Despite the short-term economic challenges, Bill Greuel, CEO of Protein Industries Canada, remains optimistic about the long-term prospects of the plant-based meat sector. He comments, “It’s been challenging times in the plant-based food space, and in ingredient manufacturing, but the fundamentals underpinning the growth of the sector are still very strong. What we’re experiencing now, based on this report, is some short-term market down-turn, but long-term, the findings suggest the growth of the plant-based food sector will be significant.”

The study also predicts growth in other plant-based categories. Plant-based dairy sales are projected to expand from $14.4 billion in 2021 to $51.3 billion in 2035, at a 9.5 percent annual growth rate. The plant-based baking fortification market is also expected to experience a CAGR of 4.1 percent by 2035.

©Hungry Planet

Greuel emphasizes that Canada’s capacity to realize the market potential in each segment will heavily hinge on the investments made in the forthcoming years. Despite roadblocks such as labeling and food safety regulations, he claims companies continue to view Canada as an attractive destination for investment.

Diversifying investments

Protein Industries Canada continues to make investments in the sector, including a recent $10 million fund for plant-based food tech projects using artificial intelligence. In the last few months, the organization also partnered with Innovate UK and Wageningen University in the Netherlands to support plant-based initiatives, with further plans to diversify investments. 

The report “highlights the need for a diversified innovation portfolio for Protein Industries Canada, because we see market opportunities in all three of those segments that we assessed … so thinking about the diversification of our investments at that end of the value chain […] will be critically important, as well,” concludes Greuel.

The Ernst & Young report can be seen here.

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