The food industry is in a state of upheaval.

Not just since the Tönnies scandal last year, more and more people want to eat healthier and more consciously.

The meat substitute business is booming.

Unlike tofu or saitan, modern meat substitutes are quite similar to the original.

But alternatives to animal dairy products are also popular and are now even available in the form of cheese or ice cream.

Madeleine Brühl

Editor in business.

  • Follow I follow

    In a recent study, the Boston Consulting Group estimates that the market for replacement products will grow to $ 290 billion and eleven percent market share by 2035.

    The global meat industry reached an annual sales volume of approximately one trillion dollars in 2020.

    The market for meat substitutes is estimated at around 20 billion dollars and currently has a market share of around two percent.

    Last year the segment for meat alternatives grew in double digits despite closed restaurants.

    The management consultancy Kearney expects meat alternatives to achieve a market share of 60 percent of the global meat market by 2040.

    Flexitarians discovered as a target group

    The market for vegetable dairy substitutes is estimated at $ 22 billion to be about as large as that for meat alternatives, but still has a market share of well over three percent. The disruption that lies ahead of the meat market over the next few years has already begun here. In addition to milk, there are also more and more plant-based alternatives to cheese, yogurt and ice cream. The American dairy groups Borden Dairy and Dean Foods have already driven this development into bankruptcy.

    The majority of meat and dairy substitutes come from plants. For plant-based milk, the raw materials are soaked and then pureed, filtered and added with additives or processed. In the case of meat and fish substitutes, the short plant fibers are stretched in a so-called extruder under heat and pressure until they resemble the longer animal fibers.

    On the other hand, it is still difficult for investors who want to benefit from this trend to find investment opportunities in this area. Many companies such as Rügenwalder Mühle, Germany's market leader in vegetarian sausage alternatives, are not listed on the stock exchange. "The market has changed significantly in the past 18 months," says Amanda O'Toole, Portfolio Manager for Clean Economy Strategy at AXA Investment Managers. "Alternative food is one of the consistently and structurally growing areas of the food industry."

    Instead of vegans and vegetarians, the companies discovered flexitarians as a target group. These are people who eat consciously and occasionally eat meat. "I think we are at the beginning of a trend that will continue into the next decade," she adds. However, there are still hardly any listed companies that are exclusively dedicated to this development. There are countless start-ups in the market for alternative proteins. Although these have a clear product focus, as an investment they are more interesting for venture capitalists.