Traditionally, sausages have been manufactured by stuffing meat into natural casings made from the intestines of animals; however, artificial casings are now available on the market due to the tremendous focus on innovation and product development in the casings industry. Natural sausage casings are irregular in size and shape, whereas artificial casings are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and appearances. If natural sausage casings are not stored properly, they tend to smell bad, making them unusable. Also, the possibility of breakage and microbial contamination is much higher with natural casings than with artificial casings. Also, artificial casings allow for the addition of coloring agents, spices, smoke flavoring, and other materials that get deposited on the product surface after stuffing and processing, imparting taste and texture to the product. The variety of artificial casings available on the market is almost unlimited.
Furthermore, the cost benefits of using artificial casings, especially collagen casing for sausage manufacturers, can be substantial, with significant savings in terms of time and labor costs, as collagen casing is easy to work with due to its better consistency and stability compared to natural casings. Thus, using artificial casings helps sausage manufacturers save costs significantly—over 50% in some cases. Also, unlike natural casings, collagen casings are ready for use, and soaking or other preparation is not required. Collagen casings are particularly effective when sausages are filled mechanically with conventional stuffing machines, as the casings are replenished automatically. This factor helps increase throughput and reduce processing times. Thus, manufacturers can increase their production volumes considerably using artificial casings. These advantages of artificial casings over natural casings have increased their adoption among sausage manufacturers, driving the growth of the sausage casings market in Europe.
In addition, in recent years, the vegetarianism and veganism trend have gained popularity in Europe due to growing health awareness, environmental concerns, and compassion for animals. According to the European Vegetarian Union, around 10% of Europe’s population was vegetarian in 2021 (3% in 2007), while 3% was vegan. According to a study by Veganz, a German vegan supermarket, the number of vegans in Germany has doubled since 2016, reaching 2.6 million in 2021. Plant-based foods are popular among vegetarian & vegan consumers. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, appropriately planned vegetarian (including vegan) diets are healthy and nutritionally adequate and reduce the risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and certain types of cancer. These diets are suitable for all stages of the human lifecycle (including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and older adulthood) and athletes. Plant-based diets are high in fiber and provide all the necessary nutrients when planned well.
According to the Good Food Institute Europe, retail sales of plant-based foods reached USD 6.1 billion in 2022, an increase of 11.5% over 2020. Plant-based meat is a rapidly growing segment, with retail sales reaching USD 2.1 billion in 2022, up from 1.9 billion in 2020. Thus, Europe’s growing vegan population and the health benefits of plant-based products support the demand for plant-based foods, generating opportunities for leading meat producers to expand their existing product portfolios with vegan sausages and meat alternatives, which is expected to drive the demand for vegetarian sausage casings in Europe.
Meticulous Research®, in its latest publication on the Europe Sausage Casings Market, states that the Europes sausage casings market is projected to reach $2.72 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 4.1% during the forecast period of 2023–2030.
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