The effect of veganism on the meat industry

According to industry research company IBISWorld, sales of vegan food products have soared over the past five years in Australia, with major food manufacturers and takeaway chains increasingly introducing new products to meet demand. However, as the cost of meat and international meat exports continue to rise, this surging demand for vegan products represents a growing threat to local demand for Australian meat and dairy.

Vegan food manufacturing soaring
According to IBISWorld research, demand for plant-based products has surged in recent years, with food manufacturers and takeaway chains in Australia constantly having to introduce new products to keep up.

“The quality of these products is also increasing at a rapid pace, with plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy foods continuously being launched. Unilever recently launched a plant-based alternative to its Magnum ice cream products, and popular food chains Hungry Jacks, Schnitz and Grill’d have all recently added plant-based options to their menus, in an attempt to take advantage of rising demand,” said IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst, James Caldwell.

Rising cost of meat in Australia increasing demand for plant-based products
While demand for plant-based foods has soared over the past five years, so too has the price of meat products. This trend has weakened local demand for meat products, and forced the meat sector to turn to overseas markets to sustain growth.

“This surging demand for plant-based alternatives represents a growing threat to local demand for meat and dairy products, which will in turn affect the long-term viability of the Australian meat processing, beef cattle farming, cheese manufacturing, butter and dairy product manufacturing, and milk and cream processing industries. The Australian meat processing industry now generates over 60 per cent of its revenue from overseas, and we expect this number to rise over the next five years,” said Mr Caldwell.

Vegan product innovation
According to IBISWorld, several food-based innovations have allowed manufacturers to produce plant-based foods which mimic the taste and texture of meat products. Companies such as Beyond Meat and Funky Fields are now producing meat alternatives that are so realistic, they are being sold next to meat products in supermarkets. With the rise in the price of meat products over the past five years, we are now at a stage where plant-based alternatives are comparable to traditional meat in terms of both quality and price.

“The quality of these products is only expected to improve. Eric Schmidt, the director of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, recently listed plant-based proteins as the most important trend in the technology industry, ahead of self-driving cars and 3D printing. As new technology allows the quality of these products to improve, so will demand,” said Mr Caldwell.

Environmental awareness affecting meat consumption
Australians are increasingly concerned about their impact on the environment, which IBISWorld analysts believe to be a factor behind the rise in demand for plant-based products. The meat and dairy sectors have been considered to have a large carbon footprint by environmental organisations, with research finding animal-based agriculture responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. A 2017 study by GRAIN also found that the world’s three largest meat firms produced more emissions in 2016 than the whole of France.

“In addition, raising animals for slaughter is a very water and land intensive process. According to the UN’s Priority Products and Materials report[3], both meat and dairy require more resources in terms of land and water, and produce more emissions per kilogram of food than plant-based alternatives,” said Caldwell.

“This rings particularly true for Australian consumers in light of the recent droughts in Queensland and New South Wales. Australia is the driest continent on earth, and is only expected to get drier as a result of climate change. Given this, consumers are increasingly turning to more sustainable food options,” Caldwell continued.

Rising health consciousness driving Australians to go vegan
Rising health consciousness is another major driving force behind the trend towards greater consumption of plant-based foods. For example, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently classified processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogenic, placing it alongside asbestos and tobacco. As a result, domestic meat consumption has stagnated and is expected to fall over the next five years, reflecting increasing health consciousness among consumers.

In addition, dairy products have been linked to increased saturated fat intake. As obesity rates continue to rise among Australians, low-fat dairy alternatives are becoming more attractive to increasingly health conscious consumers. As a result, plant-based milk alternatives that are frothable are also increasingly popular in Australia’s coffee shops. Mr Caldwell believes that demand for these products will intensify as the quality of milk and cheese alternatives continues to improve.

“Australia is currently experiencing a rising fitness culture, which is encouraging consumers to reduce their meat intake, and to move to low calorie diets. Plant-based food manufacturers have been acutely aware of this trend, and have increasingly produced foods with few calories and low levels of saturated fat. This trend has significantly contributed to rising demand for plant-based foods,” said Caldwell.

The future of Australia’s meat and dairy sectors
According to IBISWorld, the number of people following a vegan diet in Australia is expected to continue rising over the next five years, bringing the country’s meat and dairy sectors under increasing strain. As demand for vegan products rises, food manufacturers are expected to increase the range and quality of their plant-based foods, driving further demand.

On the other hand, rising prices and stagnant domestic demand have driven Australia’s meat and dairy sectors to look overseas in search of revenue growth. Australia’s pristine environment, and reputation as a producer of high-quality food products have boosted exports of meat and dairy products over the past five years.

“However, concerns about their position in the domestic market haven’t been ignored. Meat and dairy sector lobby groups have recently called for the banning of plant-based food manufacturers using terms such as milk and cheese in their marketing,” said Caldwell.

World vegan yoghurt market to exceed $12 billion over next decade

The vegan yoghurt market is expected to continue its bullish run, driven by a combination of macroeconomic and industry-specific factors. Gains have been driven by vegan yoghurt’s availability in a variety of flavours, and the ubiquitous health and wellness trend. These factors helped vegan yoghurt sales increase by over 30,000 metric tons in 2018 over 2017, according to recent analysis by Fact.MR.

The study opines that almond yoghurt remains the bestseller, accounting for more than half of total vegan yoghurt sales in 2018. The trend is expected to prevail as vegan yoghurt companies continue to introduce new almond-milk based yoghurt products to meet consumers’ taste preferences while enhancing the vegan yoghurt’s nutritional value.

The adoption of veganism by famous celebrities and athletes has also added to the cause. Coupled with the endorsement from renowned health institutions and its potential cancer-preventing benefits, vegan products have garnered widespread popularity around the globe.

The study finds that over 80 per cent of vegan yoghurt is consumed in households. Further, the compact packaging of vegan yoghurt allows the consumer to eat it on-the-go, making it an attractive snacking option for busy consumers.

The use of vegan products in food chains and restaurants is gradually gaining traction; the study found moderate growth in the utilisation of vegan yoghurt and products in the food service industry. Although households dominate overall consumption, demand for vegan yoghurt from households and HORECA is growing at comparable rates.

Companies in the food processing and production industry are looking to capitalise on the ‘mindful choices’ trend. On account of the popularity of the trend, multiple small and large companies are launching new vegan products to consolidate their position. The fierce competition induced in the market as a result of the growing demand for vegan products is expected to lower pricing and encourage innovations in the field.

Numerous researches have linked health risks with the consumption of dairy products in the recent past. Increasing awareness about the potential side effects of dairy products is inducing a shift towards vegan products. This is also providing an impetus to the growth of vegan yoghurt market. The opportunities emerging in this sector are not lost on F&B companies who are introducing more vegan products to capitalise on the situation.

Vegan yoghurts utilise soy, almond, coconut or other plant-based milk for production. These ingredients are easily available, saving processors the volatilities associated with other ingredients. Moreover, the use of plant-based milk for the production of yoghurt does not entail the rearing of cattle which has led to a lot of controversies in recent times.

The study opines that the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) will remain the largest market for vegan yoghurt globally. The APEJ market is likely to reach almost $5 billion in revenues by 2019-end. Asia Pacific is home to some of the most populous countries on the planet and the evolving consumer needs and preferences promise formidable growth prospects in the region.

Dairy-free cheddar an NZ first

Innovator of dairy-free products, Angel Food has created New Zealand’s first- ever vegan cheddar – free from dairy, eggs, meat and GMOs – and instead made with peas, sunflowers and corn.

“Cheese is one of those things that many people find the hardest to give up when they go dairy-free,” said Angel Food CEO and founder, Alice Shopland. “That’s why we’ve created this convenient, tasty substitute. We want to make it easy for people to cut back on dairy.”

The release of the dairy-free cheddar alternative also marks a milestone for the Auckland-based company, which has been in the business of creating plant-based products for a decade. It is the first in a series of new Angel Food releases, developed to meet the growing market demand for dairy-free.

The brand was originally founded by Shopland so that those who are dairy-free, vegetarian or vegan can still enjoy their favourite food rituals. Its products are designed for maximum enjoyment and minimum intolerance.

“It’s important to be able to have pizza with your mates on a Friday night – even if you are vegan or lactose intolerant,” explained Shopland.

It’s also why the company has worked hard to ensure their products are not only convenient but also widely available.

Plant-based and certified by the Vegetarian Society, Angel Food’s new dairy-free cheddar alternative is available to buy nationwide in supermarkets, health food stores and online this month.

The cheddar joins its existing range of ready-made cheese sauces and dairy-free mozzarella and parmesan alternatives. Angel Food’s dairy-free mozzarella alternative is also available at Hell’s Pizza.

Marley Spoon expands vegetarian menu

Meal kit delivery company Marley Spoon has become the first service in the market to introduce vegan protein options to its menu.

In a bid to encourage Australians to expand their gastronomical horizons and promote sustainable eating habits, the company has entered a partnership with Plant-Based Foods to work with their portfolio of ethical plant-based brands.

Tuesday 1st November is World Vegan Day, and Marley Spoon is kicking off their new menu to celebrate the day. Upcoming dishes include Beefless Moroccan Tagine, Creole Vegetarian Tofu Burgers, Vegetarian ‘Chorizo’ and Beans with Jasmine Rice, and Vegetarian ‘Chicken’ Burgers with Panini Rolls. All the meat alternatives used are 100% plant-based.

Dave Malcolm, co-founder of Marley Spoon Australia, says the company wants to offer as much variety as possible: “We’re very focused on two things: cooking and sustainability. We’re bringing together new flavours, cuisines and cooking experiences for our members to try and explore, and we’re acting on our commitment to be as sustainable as possible.

“Australians Google “Vegan” more than any other country, so there is a growing interest in these options. The environmental and health benefits of eating vegetarian and vegan foods are undeniable, so we’re excited to be exploring this side of cooking,” said Malcolm.

2.1 million Australians (11.2% of the population) are already vegetarian or vegan, and around half the population are meat reducers. That amounts to around 1 in 4 people actively choosing plant-based options, with NSW at head of this trend, manifesting a 30% growth in vegetarianism since 2012.

“Ultimately, the game changer in the vegan product world is taste,” says Plant-Based Foods CEO Cale Drouin. “Today’s plant-based brands have hit the mainstream because people can now choose what’s best for their health, sustainability and animals, without any compromise on enjoyment.”

World Vegan Day is celebrated each year with a number of festivals and exhibitions around the world promoting the benefits of the vegan lifestyle. In Australia, the biggest event for 2016 is the World Vegan Day festival in Melbourne (wvd.org.au), with additional local celebrations happening around the country that welcome all comers to discover the ever-growing range of plant-based products and dishes out there.

US RTD coming to Australia

One of America’s most popular ready-to-drink (RTD) wellness shake is making its way to Australia.

Kate Farms has announced a new exclusive distribution partnership with Go Vita who will stock Kate Farm Komplete in a number of health food stores nationwide.

Kate Farms Komplete is 100 per cent organic and natural, soy free, dairy free, gluten free, non-GMO, Hypoallergenic and Vegan.

Komplete was founded by, Richard Laver, cousin of tennis great Rod Laver and Richard’s wife Michelle, as a nutritious food alternative for their daughter Kate who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age.

Richard Laver said “he has been delighted to partner with Go Vita to spread the Kate Farms message across Australia after building Kate Farms into a successful whole foods company overseas”.

Kate Farms Komplete is a blend of 21 superfoods with antioxidants, in a convenient on-the-go shake.

“Komplete is ready-made to instantly deliver incredible nutrition. Everyone will enjoy the convenience and great taste of Komplete while safe in the knowledge they are getting the nutrients they need,” said Laver.

New sustainable, non-GMO and healthy RTD launched

Komplete by Kate Farms is an organic, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, hypoallergenic, vegan and plant protein shake designed for everyone including vegans; vegetarians, celiacs, those with dairy intolerance or people prone to food allergies. 

Kate Farms -Komplete was developed by the parents of Kate Laver, who was born with the Cerebral Palsy and unable to consume solid food. 

Australian- born Richard Laver, cousin of tennis great, Rod Laver, and his wife Michelle developed Komplete as a nutritious meal replacement alternative for their daughter after she developed health complications from the sugar and dairy-rich, whey-based meal replacement formulas prescribed to her. She was diagnosed at three year-of-age as ‘failing to thrive’.

The Lavers went about an inspired journey starting in their kitchen developing the world’s first dairy-free; gluten-free; and soy-free; ready-to-drink wellness shake. The result was a shelf-stable combination of the highest quality, freshest ingredients such as acai; mangosteen; black currants; raspberries; and green tea extract, blended to be the best tasting, most nutritious health shake on the market.

“We saw the need to create great tasting, and whole food drinks made from the heart. Where all-natural vegan products not only taste delicious but are good for you. Our passion for healthy foods and belief in taking care of one another is the reason we are here,” says founder and CEO of Kate Farms, Richard Laver.

After Kate switched to her parents’ new formula, her condition improved radically. The bottle rot she had developed on the other formulas completed healed. She no longer needed her breathing treatment for sleep apnea and her ongoing complications with digestion vanished.

Since its launch in the US in 2013, Kate Farms – Komplete is now the leading Ready-to-Drink in the United States.