Plant Protein Ingredients – Trends and Forecast till 2023

Published On: March 2018

Global Plant Protein Ingredients – Trends and Forecast till 2023

Protein ingredients are large molecules, which are formed from one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order. The order is determined by the base sequence of nucleotides in the genes that compose the protein. Protein ingredients are essential for structure, function, and regulation of body’s cells, tissues, and various organs. There are different types of protein ingredients, which help to enhance the functionality of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. Protein ingredients contain a broad range of both plant and animal based protein in different forms.

Plant protein ingredients contribute significantly as a food resource because they encompass essential amino acids for meeting human physiological requirements. Many plant protein ingredients are used as medicinal agents as they are produced by using molecular tools of biotechnology. Plant proteins come from various sources such as soy protein, wheat protein, pea protein, and vegetable protein. The demand for plant protein is increasing exponentially owing to various factors. Plant protein acts as an excellent alternative to animal protein sources due to the easy digestibility, sustainability in production, and relatively lower price.

Product Marketing: is it a way to success?

In the recent years, marketing and promotional activities from key players have influenced the sales of plant protein ingredients. Also, promotion through social media has also influenced the positive growth in the product market share. Increased promotion and spreading awareness about the benefits of plant protein via strong means including magazines, newspapers, and electronic media will direct towards strong marketing of the product and can be seen as a potential opportunity towards the increased sale of the product.

Rising incidence of lactose intolerance

There has been increasing incidence of lactose intolerance across the globe. People who are lactose intolerant lack enzyme (lactase) in their small intestine to break down all of the lactose consumed. Lactose intolerance encompasses dairy products allergy, disaccharide deficiency, lactase deficiency or milk intolerance and the partially digested or undigested lactose leads to pain, abdominal bloating, diarrhea, skin problems, sleep disturbances, tiredness, and other health problems. Lactose intolerants cannot ingest dairy products as it leads to nausea, abdominal pain, abdominal gas & flatulence, vomiting, perianal redness, acidic diarrhea, and various other health issues.

According to Lactose Intolerance Global Network (LIGN), the majority of the worldwide adult population suffers from lactase deficiency, except for the population of Northern and Central Europe. The sensibility to lactose can vary from low to high.

Surge in demand for sports nutrition products

Sports nutrition consists of products designed athletes, exercisers, and sportspeople to improve their nutritional intake. Proteins are vital for athletic performance and recovery, weight management and offering appropriate nutrition have a positive impact on sports nutrition. Some sports nutrition are targeted to the consumer, who are aware of general fitness and healthcare. In these types of sports nutrition, the protein content is less as compared to sports nutrition for athletes and bodybuilders. Protein bars and protein shakes are most preferred sports nutrition for general fitness. Changing lifestyle and growing awareness about fitness have boosted the sales of sports nutrition. Due to the increasing incidence of lactose intolerance among the European consumers, manufacturers are coming up with new protein ingredients. Plant protein ingredients are gaining its traction among the sports nutrition manufacturers.

Growing popularity of pea protein among the consumers

Pea protein is estimated to hold a market proportion of 2% in the year of 2017, and the segment is expected to witness a massive growth during the forecast period of 2017-2023. The growth of pea protein is attributed to the various factors. Increase in vegetarians, vegan’s population and their reliance on restricted diets are driving higher demand for pea protein market. As protein is an integral part of the basic diet, peas which have an excellent amino acid profile, high Lysine content, iron content, and other health benefits is driving higher sales of pea protein. Also, key manufacturers are emphasizing in the pea protein products to capture the market share. For instances, In January 2018 Cargill Incorporated entered into a collaboration with PURIS to increase the pea protein segment. In 2017, Roquette Foods opened a new manufacturing plant of pea protein in Canada to cater the increasing demand for pea protein in the North America region.

So, what is the future of the plant protein ingredients market

Animal protein sources are highly accepted in the under developed economies owing to the lack of awareness of plant protein sources. Increasing consumer disposable income coupled with the growing meat demand is positively influencing the demand for animal protein sources. Furthermore, animal protein sources are used in feed for various livestock which includes cattle, poultry, and pigs/swine. Moreover, the world has been witnessing increased livestock production on account of growing meat consumption particularly in emerging markets of China, Brazil and Argentina. This trend is expected to further fuel the demand for animal protein ingredients. Therefore, the animal protein sources are posing a massive challenge to the plant protein sources.

Soy protein ingredients offer poor olfactory, which, in turn, reduces consumption of soy protein ingredients. Moreover, the animal protein ingredients does not have any poor olfactory property which is expected to create a barrier in the growth of plant protein ingredients market. 

Consumers continuously demand variety in the food products due to which manufacturers need to focus highly on the R&D sector to continuously meet the demands from the consumers’ side. R&D investments will ensure quality product which would be delivered to the product and also minimizes the chances of product recalls. Manufacturers can bring in innovations in their product line which will not only create product differentiation but will also attract the attention of mass consumers. In conclusion, in order to keep the brand identity and stand out in the market, manufacturers have to bring in new products which needs high investments to be made in the R&D sector.