Vegan product launches have more than doubled in five years

The level of vegan based food launches, including products developed for the snacks and bakery sectors, has more than doubled over the past five years, according to latest international research.

Results from Mintel have revealed new ranges within the category grew 175% from July 2013, to 2018, with the vegan segment now representing 5% of all global food and drink ranges.

However, according to the study, 11% of food launches over the past year were vegetarian, which has remained at a consistent level.

The upturn in the vegan market corresponds with increasing demand for a greater range of healthier food and snack options, amid growing concerns over obesity.

Within the confectionery sector, industry has begun to respond with major product releases being delivered from manufacturers such as Nestlé and Mondelēz. This has included moves actively reducing the level of sugar within chocolate ranges, through to adjusting portion sizes to reduce calorie intake.

In the UK, there have been notable successes for companies including Plamil, with its So Free range of chocolates over the past year, as well as Seed and Bean, which are among businesses that have made significant strides in raising the quality of vegan confectionery products.

According to Mintel, in Germany, vegan claims are almost twice as frequent as vegetarian ones: 14% of all food and drink launches appearing on the market between July 2017 and June 2018 carried vegan claims, while only 8% featured vegetarian claims.

Featuring on just 4% of food and drink launches five years ago, vegan claims in Germany have grown exponentially between July 2013 to June 2018, more than tripling (240%) during this time period.

Katya Witham, global food & drink analyst at Mintel, said: “In recent years, consumers around the world have increased their intake of plant-based foods and Germany is no exception.

“Our research shows that stricter plant-based diets like veganism are still niche, while a much higher percentage of consumers are embracing ‘flexitarianism’. The majority of consumers are not giving up meat; they are making room for more vegan products as part of ‘flexitarian’ dieting, opening opportunities for plant-based food and drink innovation. Moreover, the rapid growth of vegan products in Germany also reflects the rise of ethical consumerism, especially among younger consumers.”

The findings come as leading companies operating within the confectionery and bakery sectors continue to devise an enhanced range of ‘clean label’ products that feature natural flavours, as well as animal-free ingredients.

Katya Witham added: “The appeal of products without animal-derived ingredients has extended far beyond the limited pool of steadfast vegans and vegetarians, carving a place within overall healthy and varied diets. “Food and drink manufacturers would do well to incorporate vegan claims into wider health and ethical-related product positioning, serving the purpose of providing transparency, and communicating product suitability to the widest range of consumers.”

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