This research report on the global plant-based cheese market covers market sizing and forecast, share, industry trends, growth drivers, and vendor analysis. The study includes insights by product types (mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, ricotta, cream and others), source (soy, coconut, cashew, almond, and others), form (shreds, blocks and wedges, slices, and others), distribution channels (supermarkets and hypermarkets, convenience stores, specialty stores, online channels, and others), and geography (North America, Europe, APAC, Latin America, MEA).
The plant-based cheese segment accounts for approximately 6% of the global non-dairy milk market. With the rising health awareness among consumers, cheese has been considered as unhealthy; hence the consumption has reduced over the years. The growing number of vegan populations, the increasing health consciousness, and the rising demand for a healthier alternative are expected to drive the market during the forecast period. North America accounted for the largest market, followed by Europe. APAC is expected to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period.
The increasing preference for vegan diets among consumers due to increasing concerns over animal rights and the environment is boosting the plant-based foods and beverages market. The millennial population is the primary driver for the global shift from animal-based products to plant-based food products. Renowned celebrities and world-class athletes, along with world-renowned companies such as Google, are moving toward the consumption of plant-based products. Countries such as China are also supporting the vegan movement. Although plant-based food and beverages have not entered the mainstream market, they are increasingly becoming globally accepted day by day, hence driving the vegan food market.
Lactose intolerance is widespread across the world, although the variation differs largely across regions. The high prevalence of lactose intolerance among the population is contributing to the adoption of non-dairy products. In 2017, the global prevalence of lactose malabsorption was approximately 68%. The highest rate of lactose intolerance is prevalent among the East Asian population, where 9 out of 10 descents are diagnosed as lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is widespread in Asia, with 85% in China. With such a high global prevalence, the demand for alternative dairy products such as milk powder, chocolate, and plant-based cheese is growing globally.
Moreover, as the popularity of vegan food arises at a significant rate globally, the demand for clean labeled food products is growing substantially. Veganism or the vegan diet is often associated with healthy, wholesome, and natural products. Consumers are not only eating plant-based products; they are also looking for whole foods that are free from artificial ingredients and additives.
The global plant-based cheese market is likely to grow at a CAGR of over 15% during the period 2018–2024.
This market research report includes detailed market segmentation by product types, form, source, distribution channels, and geography.
The mozzarella type comprised approximately 35% of the global plant-based cheese market in 2018. Given its high moisture content, mozzarella is majorly used in pizzas, pasta dishes, and salads. The consumption of non-dairy products, especially mozzarella in Europe, is expected to grow due to the increasing awareness related to health disorders such as cholesterol, chronic heart diseases, lactose intolerance, and concerns over animal rights and environmental issues. Innovations in texture and flavors are expected to drive the market during the forecast period.
North America accounts for the largest market for vegan parmesan. The growing sale of non-dairy milk products in the UK region can be attributed to changing consumption patterns and the increasing number of flexitarians. Further, veganism in the Europe region has skyrocketed since 2016, with more than 3 million identified as vegans in the UK alone in 2018.
The increasing emphasis on cleaner labeling such as organic, gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and others is driving the cheddar cheese segment. These products are cholesterol-free and have no saturated making, thereby emerging as healthier alternatives. These products have a perfect flavor, melt, and stretch and also come in a tube packaging that can be used in any dishes easily. With the availability of a variety of vegan cheddar cheese to meet different consumer choices, the demand is expected to grow during the forecast period.
The Europe cream cheese market is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period. The availability of cream product varieties in supermarket and hypermarket chains, grocery stores, and specialty stores, is driving the consumer interest and demand for the product.
Vegan cheese shreds are highly popular plant-based alternatives. These products are widely available in supermarkets and online channels. The ease of availability and increasing product innovations in terms of varieties and flavors are expected to drive the market for this segment during the forecast period.
Blocks & wedges accounted for the largest segment for plant-based cheese market. They are widely available across supermarkets and hypermarkets and through online channels. Slices are the second most popular form in the market. They are primarily used in sandwiches. The trend of consuming plant-based foods and beverages is influenced by the informative millennials that are increasingly seeking organic and healthy products.
Dairy alternatives initially introduced as part of special dietary requirements for individuals with lactose intolerance, allergies, or other health issues are now becoming mainstream food consumables. They have become a lifestyle choice, especially in the health-conscious young generation. A strong sense of health awareness, coupled with other ethical reasons, changing dietary patterns is mainly driving the market in Europe.
The soy cheese segment accounted for the largest share in 2018. The soy product is highly preferred by consumers suffering from lactose intolerance as there is the absence of lactose in it. Patients suffering from health issues such as diabetes, heart diseases, overweight, and cholesterol also prefer the consumption of soy products. The increasing popularity of vegan diets is another driver for the growth of the soy market globally. However, soy allergy is one of the common food allergies found in babies and children. Hence, several consumers are seeking soy-free products, which could be a challenge for the growth of the market.
Almond milk is a popular substitute for dairy-based milk. Almond milk is lactose-free, casein-free and contains a high amount of nutrients. As the almond product does not contain cholesterol or lactose, it is highly popular among the lactose intolerant population, consumers suffering from lactose allergy and other health issues. With the rising health awareness among the millennials, the demand for nutritious premium products such as almond cheese is rising globally.
Coconut milk contains a high quantity of saturated fat and oil, which is beneficial for maintaining cholesterol levels. Owing to the high-fat content in coconut milk, coconut cheese forms a creamy product that is similar to the dairy product. Health-conscious consumers do not prefer the consumption of coconut milk products due to the presence of high fat and cholesterol content, which is likely to emerge as a challenge for market growth.
In terms of distribution, the global plant-based cheese market was dominated by supermarkets & hypermarkets in 2018. Consumers will always prefer retail sales through specialty stores because of the presence of all types of grocery products under one roof. Also, these stores serve as a one-stop destination for many other related foods and dairy goods. Further, buying goods from supermarkets & hypermarkets provides consumers with extra discounts and product-bundling offers. Retail supermarkets are increasingly incorporating vegan food and beverage products due to growing consumer demand.
However, increasing internet penetration is likely to change the purchasing behavior of consumers, especially for non-dairy products. The online channel is expected to be a game-changer for the distribution of plant-based cheese since the high penetration of smartphones and the internet across the world makes it easy for customers to shop from anywhere.
North America accounts for the largest market for the plant-based cheese market globally in 2018. The increasing demand for healthier diets along with natural and organic food has driven the demand for vegan food in recent years. Furthermore, the rapid rise of veganism and flexitarianism in the US is supporting the growing demand for vegan cheese in the region.
Europe constitutes the second-largest market with the growing vegan and flexitarian population and the availability of non-dairy milk products. Moreover, the increasing number of vegan supermarkets in the region has supported the demand for vegan foods.
The APAC region is expected to witness the fastest growth at a CAGR of more than 17% during the forecast period. The growing health awareness among consumers, the growing disposable income, the rising demand for healthier food and beverages, and the increasing impact of social media are driving the market in the APAC region.
Latin America and MEA are also growing at a significant pace; however, the vegan product has a low penetration due to the lack of awareness in these regions. Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Argentina, and South Africa are the leading revenue contributors and are expected to fuel sales during the forecast period.
Key Countries Profiled:
Key Vendor Analysis
The global plant-based cheese market is fragmented in which vendors are competing based on product quality, innovations, and competitive pricing. Thus, consumer choices and preferences differ across regions and keep changing in response to geographical, demographic, and social trends, and economic circumstances. Due to the highly competitive and volatile environment, the future market growth mainly depends on the ability to anticipate, gauge, and adapt to the constantly changing trends and successfully introduce new or improved products on time.
The introduction of innovative and proprietary products that cater to customer demands requires companies to devote significant efforts and resources. Research and development teams need to continuously analyze market trends and designs, develop, and manufacture new product categories and new products with distinctive features, flavor, taste, and texture. The ability of vendors to launch new and improved products depends on several factors, including technological advancements, packaging designs, and production innovations.
Other Prominent Vendors
Key Market Insights
The analysis of the plant-based cheese market provides market sizing and growth opportunities for the forecast period 2019–2024.
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