Plant-based: thanks to 'flexitarians’ it has become a mass phenomenon

Fiera Milano, Rho

Green Trail

Plant-based: thanks to 'flexitarians’ it has become a mass phenomenon

Not just for animal rights activists or vegetarians. Nowadays, meat substitutes are a widely appreciated mass-market product. They’ll be under the spotlight at TUTTOFOOD 2023 thanks to a dedicated itinerary.

Are we doing it because we respect animals? Or to generate less impact on the environment, or both? Whatever the reason, it is a fact that plant substitutes for meat, but also for milk – the so called plant-based products – are gaining more and more momentum. And they have now achieved textures and flavors comparable to the “original”, thus making them palatable even to skeptics.


And that’s also backed up by data from the market. According to a recent research by Bloomberg, the sector of plant-based alternatives will grow exponentially in the coming years, with a global increase of more than $44 billion this year, up to nearly $162 billion in 2030, accounting for 7.7% of the entire market of protein foods. An interesting aspect is the proportional growth of meat substitutes: if today they account for less than a quarter of the total plant alternatives – with the largest slice represented by milk substitutes – in 2030 they will account for nearly a half.


In line with its historical expertise in identifying and promoting emerging trends, TUTTOFOOD is devoting great attention to the sector, which, in the 2023 edition, at fieramilano from May 8 to 11, will be at the centre of a sort of "Green Trail": an itinerary that will help operators identify the partner companies to the offer throughout the layout of the exhibition. Italian and international companies are already starting to join, so as to get ready to start seizing these market opportunities thanks to the exhibition tool.



Companies believe and invest in it


“The perception of plant-based products has evolved significantly in recent years”, confirms Jolanda Van Der Has, Marketing Specialist at Deluc (Netherlands), “because in addition to the width of the offer, also quality and taste have improved a lot. Among the products that are arousing more interest, alongside classic meat substitutes, we have finger food, which is ideal for a vegetarian-vegan appetizer, while among the upcoming developments we see an increase in algae-based products. The growth of this market should be ascribed mainly to 'flexitarians', people who occasionally consume animal products but prefer plant sources”.


“We are active in the sector of rice snacks”, adds Pepe van Herpen of Foodlink (Netherlands), “and the main trend we are noticing is a shift in consumer taste towards more oriental flavors, such as wasabi. Until a few years ago, those flavourings represented a niche, but today they are increasingly popular, partly because they are an excellent complement to meat substitutes, which are also growing rapidly. This increase is already taking place in many markets, and in a few years we expect it to consolidate in Europe as well”.


New product categories representing growth areas that didn’t exist until a few years ago, all to be discovered at TUTTOFOOD 2023.