The tipping point has almost arrived. Following news that 2020 saw a record $3.1 billion capital investment in alt protein, a first-of-its-kind report has been released this evening which suggests that Europe and North America could reach “peak meat” by 2025, from when the consumption of animal protein will be in decline. By 2035, just a decade later, it predicts that every tenth portion of food eaten globally will be made from alt proteins.
The report, published by Blue Horizon and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) – titled Food for Thought: The Protein Transformation – reveals the rapid acceleration of the meat, egg, dairy and seafood alternative market, and finds that the market could reach $290 billion by 2035, which is more than the GDP of Finland.
In the report’s base case scenario the alt protein market will grow from the current 13 million metric tons a year to 97 million metric tons when it will make up 11% of the overall protein market. Though the report also calculates that with faster technological innovation and full regulatory support that speed of growth could reach a more ambitious 22% of the overall market.
As consumers drive unparalleled growth in plant-based and cell-cultured alternatives, the adoption of alternative proteins will have a measurable positive impact on the environment, says the report. The shift to plant-based meat and eggs alone will save more than 1 gigaton of CO2 equivalent by 2035, which is the equivalent of a country like Japan becoming carbon-neutral for an entire year. It will also save 39 billion cubic meters of water, enough to supply the city of London for 40 years.
Benjamin Morach, a BCG managing director and partner, said, “Alternative proteins could soon match animal protein in taste, texture, and price. We expect parity to spur a new wave of growth, catapulting what is a fairly nascent market today into the mainstream, yielding significant environmental benefits, and facilitating even faster growth.”