Why the future of frozen food is Vegan

May 13, 2020

The vegan food market is all set to hit $5 billion in 2020

With a constant rising demand for convenient foods, the frozen food industry was shocked by a steady CAGR decline of 1% between 2012-17. Even though fast, easy meals seemed embedded in the core needs of consumers, there seemed to be other factors at play that influenced the decisions of consumers – health & quality.

Even though the entire frozen food industry showed a downward trend, there was one sector that was flourishing – plant-based frozen foods. Plant-based frozen food products witnessed growth at an impressive rate of 18.4% while the rest of the frozen food industry was declining.

According to industry experts, it is the vegan movement, led by people that are committed to a healthy lifestyle and animal welfare and environment, that is causing the disruption. Nestle backs the claim and opined that the vegan food market is all set to hit $5 billion in 2020.

Plant-based foods and meat-free meats could be an ideal market opportunity for frozen foods. According to a report by SPIN, frozen plant-based meat alternatives gained big and witnessed $500,000 million sales marking a 12% growth. Here’s the growth rate in more detail:

CATEGORY  GROWTH PERCENTAGE

Frozen plant-based nuggets & strips & cutlets

24.4
Frozen plant-based burgers 9.4
Frozen vegetables 7.9
Frozen fruits 4

The market is ripe

After the decline in frozen foods in 2012-17, the market increased in 2018 thanks to many players in the industry that rose to the occasion to change consumers’ perspectives of frozen food. In the past, frozen foods had gained a reputation as being low-quality, back-up food. However, through various marketing campaigns in 2018, frozen supermarkets and suppliers were able to repaint the image frozen foods as being fresh, clean and of quality. The frozen food market rose back up to +2.6% growth rate and has remained constant ever since.

Brands & supermarkets are jumping on the Vegan Bandwagon 

Inspired by the success of vegan frozen food industry, Sweet Earth Foods, recently acquired by Nestle, has diversified its product range to include vegan and vegetarian frozen entrees ranging from Korean Japchae to Basil Pesto Lasagna. Tyson Foods, considered to be the world’s second largest processor and maker of pork, beef and chicken introduced its own line of portion-rich vegan products. Goldman Sachs, the investment banker decided to be part of the movement and jumped into the bandwagon by investing a whooping $65 million…

Supermarkets are also leading the vegan movement. Tesco sold four million vegan meals from the range within the first eight months, prompting it to double the range to 46 items. Morrisons, which launched its vegan V Taste range in September 2018, has also seen positive excellent results. Iceland’s motivations, however, go even further. The supermarket’s director admits he is hoping to “nudge and encourage” customers to think more about the environment and ethical buying decisions.

Plant-based eating will only continue to rise

Around 11% of the world’s population has already joined the vegan movement and the number is only increasing. Already, millenials are eating 52% more vegetables than their older counterparts, and 40% report taking on a plant-based diet *. Over 50% of consumers are willing to change behaviours to be more eco-conscious, and 74% of consumers list animal welfare among the top factors which make a food brand ethical according to Mintel. And of course, convenience remains a principal requirement.

How to get in on the business

Here at Wabel, we have developed an inside network of retail buyers that have prioritized purchasing new upcoming vegan brands in 2020-2021. If you would like to be put in contact with these buyers, contact us to let us know.