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With the growing awareness of the ethical concerns over animal agriculture and its deleterious environmental consequences, more people are recognising the importance of the meat substitute market. Eric Schmidt, executive director of Alphabet (Google’s parents company), ranked vegan meat as the most important trend in tech in 2016!
Plant based meat company Beyond Meat recently received investment from Tyson foods. This marked the first time a meat company has invested in a vegan competitor. Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown explained that it will help to move vegan protein from ‘the penalty box’ of meat alternatives into ‘the mainstream’.
Also in 2016, a group of investors – under the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return Initiative (with holdings worth more than $1 trillion) – pressured the 16 leading food companies (including Walmart, Tesco and Target) to switch from animal based protein to plant based protein.
Meanwhile in China, the Ministry of health urged citizens to limit product consumption, with the aim of reducing meat consumption by 50%, while the UK dietary guidelines reduced the recommended dairy consumption.
In the UK, 1 in 10 dairy farms have closed in the last three years. David Dobbin, chief executive of United Dairy Farmers, said this year the younger generations are drinking far less dairy milk than their parents: “it’s a demographic time bomb”.
Meanwhile, the dairy milk market has continued to decline in the US, as research from Mintel revealed that sales of dairy milk decreased 7% in the last year ($17.8 billion) and are predicted to drop another 11% through 2020.
This trend away from dairy milk is happening against a very promising backdrop for the dairy-free market, which is expected to grow by 16.6% to $35 billion by 2024, according to a 2016 study conducted by Grand View Research.
More and more companies are realising the increasing popularity of vegan foods. The above photo shows just some of the companies and restaurants that have released vegan products this year.
One good example is Hellman’s, who have recently decided to make eggless mayonnaise, after dropping a lawsuit against Hampton Creek’s vegan mayonnaise.
SeaWorld had already agreed to end its San Diego whale shows in 2015, but this year the company has announced that these performances will be phased out in all locations.
Klaus is the editor and founder of Plant Based News.
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