North America is one of the largest global markets for plant-based food processing equipment. The U.S., followed by Canada, mainly dominates the market in this region. The market growth in these countries is attributed to the presence of major plant-based food manufacturers, the increasing number of plant-based food SMEs, the growing adoption of vegan food products, and rising R&D investments in plant-based food processing equipment.
In addition, technological advancements and the growing need for automation in processing equipment are expected to drive the demand for plant-based food equipment in the region. Plant-based food manufacturers are exploring new processing and preservation technologies with the help of processing equipment to meet the demand for plant-based food products, changing customer preferences, food safety regulations, and food quality standards. Additionally, due to the competitive global business environment, manufacturers in North America are constantly seeking opportunities to reduce production costs without negatively affecting product yield.
Moreover, the changing consumer perspectives on the meat industry and how it affects animals, people, and the planet has influenced a large number of the population to adopt vegan food. According to Plant Protein’s sources, in 2021, 6% of U.S. consumers were vegan, an increase from 1% in 2014. Furthermore, according to the 2023 Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC), 12% of the population in the U.S. consumes a plant-based diet. Also, according to Agriculture Canada, plant-based manufacturers launched 190 plant-based meals between 2017 and 2021. Thus, the increase in the vegan population and the rising number of new plant-based food product launches are driving the demand for plant-based food processing equipment in the U.S.
Furthermore, the growing demand for sustainable food options, innovation efforts to develop sustainable food ingredients, organized food processing sector, and rising investments in alternative meat products contribute to the demand for plant-based food processing equipment in the U.S. In 2021, 62% or 79 million U.S. households purchased plant-based products, an increase of 61% or 77 million from 2020 (Source: Good Food Institute). Thus, in response to the growing need and opportunities in the plant-based food market, the food processing industry has capitalized on this heightened interest in veganism.
Additionally, increasing health consciousness, rising environmental awareness, animal welfare concerns, and the shift from animal-derived food products to other sustainable food sources are the factors that have contributed to the adoption of plant-based food products in Canada. According to Plant-Based Foods of Canada (PBFC), in 2021, around two-thirds (67%) of Canadians consumed plant-based foods frequently, and 31% planned to eat more plant-based foods within the next year. Furthermore, according to Agriculture Canada, in 2021, the total retail sales of plant-based ready meals in Canada was valued at USD 19.1 million, representing a share of 17.4% of total ready meals sales, growing at a growth rate of 441.8% from 2017 to 2021, while the sales are expected to reach USD 31.8 million in 2026. Thus, the rising adoption and growing demand for plant-based foods are expected to boost the demand for plant-based food processing equipment in the country.
Moreover, the increasing demand for plant-based food has encouraged food manufacturers to launch new products in the plant-based food meal category. For instance, according to Agriculture Canada, plant-based manufacturers launched 36 plant-based meals between 2019 and 2021.
Canada has been a significant manufacturing base for plant-based protein companies. The Government of Canada has identified plant-based proteins as an important and developing industry. In June 2020, the Canadian Government invested CAD USD 100 million (USD 74 million) into Merit Functional Foods (Canada), which creates plant-based protein ingredients for plant-based foods. Thus, supportive government initiatives and the presence of major plant protein manufacturers drive the demand for plant-based food processing equipment in Canada.
North America’s major market share is attributed to the presence of major plant-based food manufacturers, the increasing number of plant-based food SMEs, the growing adoption of vegan food products, and rising R&D investments in plant-based food processing equipment. In addition, technological advancements and the growing need for automation in processing equipment are expected to drive the demand for plant-based food processing equipment in the region.
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