Rising health issues, mostly related to obesity and diabetes, owing to the increased consumption of meat products, and growing awareness about the impact on the environment caused by rearing of animals (for meat consumption) are gradually inclining the consumers to shift toward a flexitarian lifestyle. The flexitarian diet is a style of eating that encourages mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation. The diet typically involves consumers cutting down on meat consumption for both health and sustainability reasons.

Check out the Research on Global Markets report featured in this article:

Global Meat Substitutes Market (2018–2023)
April 2019 | 90-100 Pages | SKU: 201896

Benefits of flexitarian diet

A study conducted by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that 50 gram of processed meat intake daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Another study published on JAMA Internal Medicine highlighted the fact that replacing meat protein with more plant protein can lead to a healthier and longer life. The research also showed that there is an increased death risk primarily associated with consumption of red meats, eggs and dairy, and the same is not found among those with a healthy lifestyle. These factors primarily add to the increasing number of consumers shifting to a flexitarian lifestyle.

Flexitarian eating is primarily plant-based and will most likely have benefits similar to fully vegetarian diets. Several studies have shown that people who follow a plant-based diet may lose more weight than those who consume a meat-based diet. Also, eating a healthy diet, especially a plant-based one, help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes, which is becoming a global epidemic. A study conducted on 60,000 participants found that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes was 1.5% lower in flexitarians compared to non-vegetarians.

The trend of following a flexitarian diet can also be attributed to the world’s growing demand for protein in general. According to WHO, the world’s population is estimated to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, leading to increased demand for proteins. 22% of the world’s population is estimated to be older than 60 years by 2050, so protein is also required to combat gradual muscle decline through sarcopenia.

Meat substitutes see increased demand from flexitarians

The flexitarian trend represents a significant growth opportunity for high-quality meat substitute producers, and this is primarily reflected on the positive growth outlook on the global meat substitutes market. The report published by Research On Global Markets suggests that the market is projected to expand at a CAGR of 7.4% to USD 6.1 billion by 2023. This rising consumer base of flexitarian has contributed to the growing availability of meat substitutes and are driving innovations beyond the legume-based options that consumers were once restricted to. Ingredients, flavors, and varieties of meat substitutes are expanding rapidly to cater to this dietary shift.