The Global Vegan Market Landscape

Updated: Sep 15

A warm welcome!

As the leading community-driven review platform for everything plant-based, abillionveg holds a plethora of data on socially responsible consumption and tracks an ever-growing suite of data points such as dishes, restaurants and products spanning more than 130 countries to date. Through this initiative, we aim to share valuable data insights that will help the reader characterize and understand the people and organizations leading the plant-based movement.

We kick things off with a primer on the global vegan market, where we highlight the exponential pace of expansion of the global vegan community and the fastest-growing vegan markets. The vegan and sustainability megatrend is set to define the next decade, and it has already created significant opportunities.

Explosion in plant-based demand has overwhelmed supply, creating an acute market gap

Interest in the plant-based lifestyle has exploded, particularly in Asian and African markets. This comes on the back of an increased focus on environmentalism, ethical animal treatment and personal health. Even though the number of plant-based dish options has expanded, demand has overwhelmed supply, generating a market gap between the demand and supply of vegan dishes.

Companies, investors and producers that can quickly capitalize on this opportunity stand to benefit from the strong momentum in the global vegan movement.

- Vikas Garg, Founder & CEO, abillionveg

Read on for a deep dive into this phenomenon!

Despite the rise in prevalence of vegan options...

The number of vegan dishes served per restaurant has improved significantly. From 2019 Q2 to 2020 Q2, the top 25 countries on our platform recorded a sizable increase in the number of vegan options per restaurant. For instance, in Singapore, the average number of vegan dishes per restaurant rose from 2.3 in 2019 Q2 to 4.3 in 2020 Q2. This means that among restaurants in Singapore with vegan options, one can expect to see 4 vegan dishes on the menu.

...consumers' demands for vegan options are far from being met

Despite the increase in the availability of vegan dishes per restaurant, there is strong evidence that the demand for vegan dishes far outstrips the supply. For example, globally, the number of vegan dishes per consumer in 2020 Q2 was 0.86. This implies that for every 10 abillionveg members, there are fewer than 10 vegan dishes available within the country.

In Indonesia, the shortage in vegan dishes was less acute. There were, on average, 3 vegan dishes per Indonesian consumer, significantly higher than the global average. However, in several countries such as Uruguay, Ecuador, Germany, and Australia, the number of vegan dishes available per consumer was below 0.5, reflecting a serious shortage of vegan options in these countries.

Shortage in vegan options will widen as interest in plant-based lifestyle soars

The undersupply of vegan dishes across the world is expected to intensify as the global vegan market continues to expand rapidly. From December 2019 to August 2020, the number of members on abillionveg is estimated to increase by 3.4x, extending the 21x growth in members recorded from December 2018 to December 2019. This trend corroborates with findings from other vegan market-watchers. For instance, according to the Good Food Institute (GFI), total US plant-based food sales grew by 11%, more than 5 times the rate of growth of US retail food sales in the same period. (1)

Vegan communities in Asia and Africa are growing at record rates

An analysis of the member and content growth across our platform through 2020 Q2 revealed that the vegan community has rapidly expanded across continents, underscoring the growth opportunities in the plant-based market.

Growth in plant-based consumer interest was fastest in Asia and Africa, in part due to the early stage of the movement in these continents. We expect growth in these regions to continue accelerating as more consumers in Asia and Africa choose to embrace the plant-based lifestyle. At the same time, North America and Europe recorded strong growth in 2020 2Q in quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) terms, albeit slower than other continents, partially because the vegan markets in North America and Europe are relatively more mature.

For example, based on research by GFI, Asian interest in plant-based food grew significantly in 2019, as seen by announcements by high profile plant-based meat producers (e.g., Beyond Meat, Impossible) to enter the Chinese market in 2020. (1) In Africa, consumers are increasingly opting for plant-based options, driven in part by popular South African influencers and the desire to return to traditional African diets which are characterized by plant-based foods. (2)

Within each continent, some countries have emerged as clear leaders in the vegan space. In South America, Columbia and Ecuador showed particularly strong expansions in consumer interest in 2020 Q2. Among the Asian markets, India, Hong Kong and Indonesia are leading the way, while vegan interest remained healthy in Singapore. At the same time, the key North American vegan markets of the US, Canada, and Mexico registered growth exceeding 35% QoQ in 2020 Q2.

Alongside the strong growth in our members, our key markets recorded a sustained increase in interest levels for vegan dishes. Hong Kong, in particular, saw a surge in member reviews of vegan dishes by 51% QoQ in 2020 Q2.

Restaurants stepping up their plant-based game

How has the supply of vegan options performed?

The number of restaurants with vegan dishes in Uruguay, Italy, Austria and Ecuador grew the fastest in 2020 2Q on a QoQ basis. This includes both new restaurants as well as existing restaurants that added plant-based items to their menus. Among Asian countries, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia have emerged as vegan hot spots, while growth in the number of restaurants with plant-based items in Singapore was comparatively slower as a result of its larger restaurant base on abillionveg.

In addition to more restaurants, we have also observed a steady increase in the number of reviewed dishes on our platform. For instance, in our key markets, reviewed dishes experienced QoQ growth exceeding 10% in 2020 Q2, with South Africa leading the pack.

Time to act on this opportunity is now

As a global review and discovery platform, abillionveg empowers people by supporting their sustainability journeys, and we have been able to track this explosive megatrend from close quarters. Clearly, the wave of socially responsible consumption has arrived, as seen by the rapid growth of the plant-based movement. At this stage, there are significant rewards for market participants like producers, retailers and intermediaries that can act swiftly to meet the plant-based demands of underserved consumers.

We will continue to bring you insights and analytics to help you make informed and timely market decisions to capitalize on this megatrend.


Authors:

Ravi Gopalan, @ravi-gopalan

Maria Tan, @mariaubergine




References

  1. Crosser, N. et al. (2019) U.S. State of the Industry Report: Plant-based Meat, Eggs and Dairy. The Good Food Institute.

  2. Pujol-Mazzini, A. (2020) How Vegetarianism is Going Back to its Roots in Africa. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jan/15/how-vegetarianism-is-going-back-to-its-roots-in-africa