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Meat alternatives – bring on the super-sub!

The meat substitute market will reach global sales of £4billion by 2020, according to Allied Market Research. The growth of ‘flexitarianism’ and demand for plant-based protein are leading to better-for-you alternatives in the form of protein-enriched snacks and meat substitutes in most European markets.

Meat substitutes such as seitan, tofu and tempeh are increasingly well-recognised and accepted by consumers, especially those committing to cruelty-free diets, according to food ingredients company Ingredion.

Meanwhile, busy lifestyles have fuelled consumer demand for healthy on-the-go snacks. Industry commentators believe the increased focus on supply chain transparency and a desire for natural claims on packaging is leading shoppers to seek products made with ingredients perceived as natural.

Ingredion’s report on the savoury market says manufacturers are shunning the conventional practices of using corn or potato and are turning to ingredients such as lentils, parsnips and even seaweed in producing nutritious and crunchy snacks.

“Consumer satisfaction is highly elusive when it comes to meat replacement – particularly in texture terms – but manufacturers are willing to take the bet and invest given the size of the opportunity,” says Ingredion.

“Producers are looking to close the innovation gap by being more predictive and getting better at anticipating trends. The onus is on market research and ingredient suppliers to come up with the goods – whether that means sugar or fat reduction or protein enhancement/replacement.

“New production facilities and local food chains are necessary to boost transparency which is a win-win from a reputational and cost management point of view. The challenge is to maintain functionality and product quality while so much disruption is taking place within the recipe and the supply chain.”

Find Ingredion trends reports here.

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