Market trends towards plant-based proteins within meat, milk and bread categories

Many categories and companies today are experiencing changes due to the inclusion and growth of plant-based proteins. Here are just a few examples of the more recent trends.

Meat Category

According to Markets and Markets the global plant-based meat market is set to reach $5.96 Billion USD by 20221 and could potentially make up one-third of the market by 20542.

In Canada, there has been a lot of activity and innovation within the meat category. For example, Gardein, the award-winning alternative vegan protein brand, was first developed and launched in Canada before being acquired by Pinnacle Foods in 2014.

Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada’s largest meat processors, purchased Lightlife Foods in 2017. Lightlife Foods, a maker of plant-based meat substitutes like tempeh, sausages and burger, has 38 percent share of the US refrigerated plant protein market.

M&M Foods, a retail shop, known for selling a wide variety of frozen meat options changed their name from M&M Meats, just over a year ago to better reflect the diversity of the food options available.

On a North American basis, Cargill’s recent sale of its two remaining feed yards to redeploy investment to other investments3 including alternative proteins is another example.

As well, many companies today are not only exploring the use of plant-based proteins as a meat replacement option but are also using plant-based proteins as meat extenders due to its positive nutritional profile and physical properties.

Milk Category

Today, refrigerated plant-based milks are no longer considered a specialty or ancillary item.

In Canada, “consumer demand for milk alternatives is increasing significantly, especially for almond milk”. According to Nielsen Home Scan data, Canadian sales of almond milk have tripled over the past two years for the period ending January 2016.4

Contrary to what many believe, amongst non-dairy milk alternative consumers in US, only ”5% are lactose intolerant diet conscious and even more surprising only 11% are vegetarian/vegetarian leaning.”5

“What is even more surprising is that from a consumer perspective, a higher percentage of adults who consume dairy milk alternatives vs whole milk agree on the following statements:

  • 70% versus 54% agree (respectively) that they are trying to eat healthier food5
  • 49% versus 34% agree (respectively) that their diet is very healthy.”5

With 30% of US households already using dairy alternative beverages and the fact that many plant-based products in the market such as Silk, a cashew milk product, Ripple, a pea milk product and So Delicious Almond Plus, an almond and pea protein milk product have not “tried to conceal their non-dairy identity”5 any regulatory enforcement of non-dairy product terminology might be a moot point.

Bread Category

Manufacturers today are exploring not only the inclusion of single source plant-based proteins but also a high protein plant-based ingredient composite such as Profi Bake™ due to the nutritional profile boost it can provide and the way Profi Bake manages water similar to wheat flour in breads.

On the international scene, Canada is being viewed as the place with the knowledge and expertise to help manufacturers create protein rich plant-based bakery items. For example, in 2016, Warburtons Ltd, the UK’s largest bakery brand began working with Canadian researchers to develop “dough from pea flour that produces bread that looks and tastes almost like any other loaf, but which also has more protein and less of the carbs and gluten that more consumers are trying to avoid.”6

Protein breads are also starting to show up on the shelves at Canadian retailers. There has been a total of three CPG companies that have recently launched high protein breads. Canadian made Dimpflmeier’s Carb Smart High Protein Bread claims to be the highest protein and lowest carb bread in North America. Weston Bakeries launched a high protein bread under their Country Harvest brand containing soy and wheat protein.

Alternative Sources of Plant-based Proteins

While plant-based proteins were once limited to protein powder shakes, these are just a few examples of categories but not all demonstrating the penetration and growth of plant-based proteins within traditional consumer product categories.

Looking to work with an ingredient supplier who understands and has the expertise working with plant-based proteins in a variety of applications?  Contact your Dealers Ingredients Sales Consultant or 905 458 7766 or to enquiry about application support and/or a marketing trends presentation.

Dealers Ingredients is the creator of award-winning Profi, the complete high-protein plant-based composite (HPPC) is non-GMO, gluten-free, 100% vegan, neutral to mild sweet taste, PDCAAS, Halal and Kosher certified. If you are looking for a single source protein, we also have our high quality, extensively tested Natralein Pea and Brown Rice Proteins available.

1Source: Marketsandmarkets. Retrieved from

2Source: Lux Research Inc. Retrieved from

3Source: Bird, Susan (2017, May 9) Retrieved from

4Source: Retrieved from$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sis16088

5Source: Sprinkle, David, Research Director, Packaged Facts. Retrieved from Packaged Facts white paper Terminology Tempest in Dairy Case.

6Source: Skerritt, Jen, (2017, March 13). Bloomberg Markets. Retrieved from

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