The plant-based food sector is booming, and eating plant-based has been described as the fastest growing lifestyle movement. According to some estimates, the plant-based meat market is set to reach $5.2 billion by 2020 and could make up one-third of the market by 2050. This move away from meat is largely due to consumers’ rising concerns about animal welfare, personal health, and importantly, sustainability.
Food giant Nestlé seems to understand this shift in food because they recently bought Sweet Earth Natural Foods, a Californian-based company known for vegan meals and snacks made from plant-based proteins. Up to half of Nestlé’s customers are seeking more plant-based foods in their diet, “and 40 percent are open to reducing their traditional meat consumption,” said Paul Grimwood, Nestlé USA chairman and CEO, in a statement.
Indeed, meat consumption in the United States has been in steady decline over the past few decades, driven by reasons ranging from health, concerns over animal welfare, to environmental factors. Recent studies estimate that nearly one-third of Americans (roughly 100 million people) are consciously choosing to keep meat off their plates more often, and millennials are transforming the American consumer marketplace by demanding fresh, healthy and plant-based options.