Plant-Based Meat Is ‘Reshaping Retail’ In Australia

Plant-based meat is no longer a niche market in Australia


3 Minutes Read

Supermarket in Australia, where plant-based meat is on the rise More Australian shoppers are heading to the plant-based meat aisle - Media Credit: amer ghazzal / StockimoNews / Alamy Stock Photo

Plant-based meat in Australia has gone from niche market to “an industry that’s here to stay,” a new report shows.

There are now more than 30 plant-based meat brands made by Australian/New Zealand businesses, the data reveals, up from only five in 2017.

Moreover, the number of products on shelves has risen from 90 to almost 300 in that time.

The results come from audits carried out by Food Frontier, an alternative protein think tank, in Melbourne and Sydney in mid-2023.

“We know that the early adopters of plant-based meats in Australia and around the world are flexitarians,” said Dr Simon Eassom, CEO of Food Frontier, in a statement.

Australia becoming more plant-based

Two plant-based meat burgers cooking in Australia
Vladimir Zuev / Alamy Stock Photo Plant-based meat is booming in Australia

There’s no denying that Australia has a deep connection with meat.

This is often tied up with gender norms. One study found that Australian men who eat meat consider themselves as possessing more “manliness” than those following a vegan diet.

However, in recent years, Australians of all genders have become more aware of the ethical, environmental, and health problems that meat causes.

This has resulted in an explosion of plant-based brands and products in Australian retail.

Plant-based convenient and versatile food

In a growing market, Food Frontier has observed new trends emerging more in line with consumer preferences.

For example, demand is growing for convenience options. This has led to an increase in products such as plant-based schnitzels, nuggets, mince, meatballs, and deli slices.

Versatility is also a key factor. Australians have sought out more versatile plant-based products, such as beef-style strips and chunks that have a range of uses when cooking.

“When plant-based options first appeared on our shelves in Australia, about six years ago, they were mostly in the form of utility foods: sausages and burgers,” said Eassom.

More growth to come

Now, the picture is changing. “The data gathered by Food Frontier indicates that other formats that can be incorporated into a much wider range of dishes are gaining favour and manufacturers are responding accordingly,” he added.

This shift will help fuel further growth. “We expect the category to continue to evolve,” said Eassom. “We wouldn’t be surprised to see further changes by way of company integration, and product formulations.”

Australian plant-based meat products may have risen threefold in the last few years but it hasn’t finished expanding.

“This is a food industry that’s continuing to innovate and adapt to consumer tastes and budgets,” Eassom added. “The availability of more sophisticated ingredients will also help manufacturers improve products to meet expectations around taste and texture as well as price.”

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