Vegan products growing exponentially, with Germany leading the way

Germany continues to lead in producing new vegan foods and beverages, with Australia coming in fifth globally.

In the past few years, Germany has emerged as a leading force in vegan product development.

Research from Mintel shows that Germany has retained its crown as the country with the highest percentage of global vegan food and drink launches, accounting for 15 per cent of global vegan introductions between July 2017 and June 2018.

Globally, 5 per cent of all food and drink products launched between July 2017 and June 2018 were vegan, while 11 per cent were vegetarian.

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While the number of vegetarian launches has been relatively stable over the past few years, vegan launches more than doubled in the past five years – growing by 175 per cent from July 2013 to June 2018.

In Germany, vegan claims are almost twice as frequent as vegetarian ones.

Fourteen per cent of all food and drink launches appearing on the market between July 2017 and June 2018 carried vegan claims, while only 8 per cent featured vegetarian claims.

Featuring on just 4 per cent of food and drink launches five years ago, vegan claims in Germany have tripled during this time period.

Mintel global food and drink analyst Katya Witham said in recent years, consumers around the world had increased their intake of plant-based foods.

“Our research shows that stricter plant-based diets like veganism are still niche, while a much higher percentage of consumers are embracing ‘flexitarianism’,” she said.

“The majority of consumers are not giving up meat; they are making room for more vegan products as part of ‘flexitarian’ dieting, opening opportunities for plant-based food and drink innovation. The rapid growth of vegan products in Germany also reflects the rise of ethical consumerism, especially among younger consumers,” said Witham.

In Germany, 20 per cent of 16-24-year-old Germans had purchased meat alternatives in the three months before taking part in Mintel’s survey in 2017.

“The appeal of products without animal-derived ingredients has extended far beyond the limited pool of steadfast vegans and vegetarians, carving a place within overall healthy and varied diets,” said Witham.

The UK was the second highest producer of new vegan products, followed by the United States.

France and Spain are third equal and Australia shares the fifth spot with Italy, Canada, Austria and Brazil.