Studies & Numbers

Out-of-Home Plant-Based Meat Sales Increase by 48% in Europe’s Big 5 Countries

Research by consumer complexity advisor Circana has found that out-of-home plant-based meat sales in Europe’s Big 5 countries (Germany, France, the UK, Italy, and Spain) have increased by 48% since 2019.

Over this period, plant-based meat showed the strongest growth of any protein category, across all formats. Within the plant-based meat category, burgers saw particularly high growth, up by 20% year-on-year and growing by a huge 90% compared to 2019. This means that plant-based burgers accounted for 25% of the total growth in burgers.

“The quality, taste, and texture of plant-based products have significantly improved”

This demand is believed to be fuelled by flexitarianism, with 25% of the population in the Big 5 countries actively reducing their meat intake. This rises to 28% among 18-34-year-olds. Meat reduction is most popular in Germany at 44% of the population; however, somewhat surprisingly, just 41% of Germans expect restaurants to cater to those with special dietary needs. This compares to over 60% in the UK, Spain, and Italy.

Meanwhile, out-of-home sales of meat and fish have declined since 2019; this is true for beef (-5%), pork (-16%), chicken (-5%), fish/seafood (-13%) and other meats (-20%).

Moving Mountains
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“Significant market growth”

Out-of-home plant-based meat sales are expected to increase further in the coming years, with 56 million consumers in the Big 5 countries saying that while they have not yet purchased meat alternatives at a restaurant, they would be willing to do so. Additionally, younger consumers are more likely to choose plant-based options, and these habits are expected to continue as this group gets older.

Finally, the prices of meat alternatives are expected to reduce as time goes on, potentially becoming even cheaper than animal meat. This could make plant-based options more attractive to consumers.

These optimistic forecasts are supported by other research, with record lows in meat consumption reported in both Germany and the UK this year. In April, a GFI report found that European plant-based meat sales had grown by 21% since 2020, while conventional meat sales fell by 8%.

“Plant-based products, particularly burgers, are experiencing significant market growth and are expected to sustain this momentum through 2024,” said Jochen Pinsker, Senior Vice President of European Foodservice at Circana. “This is particularly evident as the quality, taste, and texture of plant-based products have significantly improved compared to offerings from just a few years ago.”

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