The Plant-Based Proteins Boom


European plant-based food sector grows exponentially according to the first study of its kind.

Disruptive protein technology and the market for sustainable food solutions are both growing at a mind-blowing pace, and leading the charge is plant-based foods. Although the local market for plant-based alternative products is still modest compared to Europe and America, there is an expectation that South Africa will continue to follow the trend set in these more developed regions.

According to a recently published report based on Nielsen market data from 11 European countries, the plant-based food economy in Europe grew by 49%, with Germany charting an incredibly 226% increase in plant-based meat consumption.

The report, Plant-based Foods in Europe:How big is the market? , which was a collaboration between Nielsen MarketTrack and food awareness organisation ProVeg International, provides unprecedented insights into European consumer habits, and helps retailers and manufacturers to decide where they should place their focus.

Highlights from the report include:

-The European plant-based food sector has grown by 49%, reaching a total sales value of €3.6 billion.

-The German plant-based meat sector has grown by 226%, reaching a total sales value of €181 million (only vegan meat included).

-Sales of plant-based milk lead the sector in most countries, followed by plant-based meat.

-Oat milk leads the plant-based-milk sector, with the highest growth rate in most countries.

-Plant-based-cheese purchases have grown by 140% in the Netherlands and 77% in Germany.


The Smart Protein Plant-based Food Sector Report can be downloaded here.

The Online presentation of the report can be found here


Donovan Will, the Director of ProVeg South Africa, believes that the report highlights significant opportunities for South African food companies; “The report clearly shows that the growth of plant-based alternatives in Europe is huge, and offers an opportunity for South African food manufacturers looking to export products to Europe – but I think it’s just as important to remember that we generally follow the trends set by more developed countries, so based on this report we expect the already increasing local demand for these products to continue to increase too.”

New opportunities created by the growth in demand for plant-based alternatives are obviously not limited to food companies; the investment world has started to take a serious interest in this sector – perhaps inspired by Beyond Meat’s record breaking listing on the Nasdaq Stock exchange.

In order to encourage and help businesses take advantage of these opportunities, ProVeg International is hosting 2 international online industry events: The New Food Conference Conference and New Food Invest. New Food Invest , which takes place on 18 March, will be the world’s first virtual conference focusing exclusively on bringing together international plant-based and cultured food startups, investors, and key stakeholders in the food industry. The New Food Conference , which takes place on 28 and 29 April 2021, is the leading summit on alternative protein. Speakers will include trailblazing alternative protein innovators such as Josh Tetrick of JUST Inc. and Sandhya Sriram of Shiok Meats. With a robust programme that covers developments in the food-service sector and advancements in functional ingredients, as well as sharing market data and looking at the criteria for retail placements of plant-based products.


More info on the report, the two events and ProVeg International below.

For more info please contact:

Donovan Will | [email protected] | 0837000618


About the Smart Protein Plant-Based Food Sector Report

This analysis is based on scanning data from 11 countries and covers six different plant-based products categories in each country, depending on availability: Austria (Plant-based (PB) meat, milk, yoghurt); Belgium (PB meat, milk, yoghurt); Denmark (PB meat, milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream); France (PB meat, milk, yoghurt); Germany (PB meat, milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream, fish); Italy (PB meat, milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream); Netherlands (PB meat, milk, yoghurt, cheese); Poland (PB milk); Romania (PB meat, milk); Spain (PB meat, milk, yoghurt); United Kingdom (PB meat, milk, yoghurt, cheese, bakery).

The data covers moving annual totals for Sep/Oct (depending on the country, between calendar weeks 39 and 42) 2018 vs 2019 vs 2020. This means it presents the total sales values from October 2017 to September 2018 versus October 2018 to September 2019 versus October 2019 to September 2020.


About the Smart Protein project

Smart Protein is a €10 million, EU-funded project that seeks to develop the next generation of foods that is cost effective, resource efficient, and nutritious. Alternative protein sources such as legumes and side-streams of beer and pasta production are used to generate ingredients as well as plant-based meat, seafood, dairy products, and baked goods.


About The New Food Conference and New Food Invest

South Africans are increasingly opening up to plant-based eating and the search for ethically-sourced sustainable alternatives to seafood, dairy and meat is ever growing. International platforms such as New Food Invest and New Food conferences offer a unique networking opportunity for local roleplayers in the alternative-protein sector to collaborate and build global relationships that will promote and accelerate future protein solutions and re-shape the future of food.


New Food Invest

The plant-based food market will be worth $74.2 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 11.9% from 2020, according to industry forecasts by the Meticulous Research institution.

New Food Invest aims to leverage these promising developments currently taking place in the alternative-protein space. It will be the world’s first virtual conference focusing exclusively on bringing together international plant-based and cultured food startups, investors, and key stakeholders in the food industry. Meet key stakeholders and connect with investors and startups from the alternative-protein space focusing on both plant-based and cell-cultured alternatives, including meat, seafood, egg, and dairy. Investors attending will include institutional investors, and qualified venture capitalists, as well as angel investors, and qualified individual investors.


New Food Conference

Join us from anywhere in the world on a digital state-of-the art platform as we unite leading food-industry experts and discuss the current challenges and opportunities in the alternative-protein realm. We cover the whole plant-based product value chain, from agriculture to manufacturing and retail, from investment to innovation.

Connect to thought leaders in the alternative protein industry. We expect attendance from international food-industry experts from renowned food brands, as well as representatives from startups, NGOs, academia, and the political sphere. Use valuable one-on-one networking opportunities and connect with the experts in our virtual exhibition space.


About ProVeg South Africa

ProVeg South Africa is the South African chapter of ProVeg International, a food awareness NGO working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal products with plant-based and cultivated alternatives.

ProVeg is South Africa’s go-to organisation for any media covering veganism or plant-based food including, but not limited to:

– the benefits of plant-based diets

– the relationship between the food system and pandemics

– how to follow a plant-based diet

– plant-based diets for athletes

– the environmental benefits of plant-based diets

– the health benefits of plant-based diets

– where to find the best plant-based food and products

– where to find the best plant-based restaurants

– plant-based businesses and plant-based consulting

– the growth of veganism and flexitarianism locally, and around the world

– plant-based for weight loss

– plant-based diets and food security/food justice

– plant-based recipes