Beyond The Veggie Burger
Meat analogs have graduated to a more sophisticated level of product development and marketing, with broader product lines and channel distribution through retail grocery stores and foodservice, including restaurants and dormitory cafes.
Several major food conglomerates, including those that process real meat products, are bringing analog manufacturers into their business, reflecting the trend of diversification and mass marketing of meat analogs. Meat substitutes totaled over $5.4 billion in sales in 2005, although overall category sales were down 7.5% over the same time period.
Despite this decline in business, the analog market is likely to increase with the growth in lifestyle consumers who are environmentally engaged and are conscious of health issues. This category of “pseudo-vegetarians” who eat meatless meals once or twice a week is likely to grow in numbers and food-dollar influence. The pure vegetarian category shows no growth, representing about 0.7% of the population, but growth will be in “lifestyle foods.”
To address the changing consumer base, manufacturers have been developing new value-added meatless products, presented in meal solution formats, for example.