The vegetarian and vegan market took off in 2018

Sales of vegetarian and vegan products last year generated a turnover up 24%, to 380 million euros, in French supermarkets and supermarkets, according to data released Tuesday by the Xerfi research institute.

The latter specifies that this amount is comparable to that of gluten-free but ten times lower than the sales of organic products, adding anticipating for the period 2019-2021 an average annual increase of 17% of the market for vegetarian and vegan food supermarkets, which will thus exceed 600 million euros within three years.

“The proliferation of food scandals, the questioning of the supposed benefits of milk and meat or even the increased sensitivity to animal welfare have in fact pushed the French to turn away from meat products in favor of vegetable proteins”, notes Xerfi in a press release. The institute stresses that if the “all vegetable” still faces “cultural barriers of size”, the “flexitarianism”, a term which designates the fact of consuming less meat and more plant products, will be one of the main driving force behind the vegetarian and vegan market.

According to Xerfi, vegetarians and vegans (or vegans) in fact only represent around 2% of the French population (some 1.3 million people) and 0.5% (or around 340,000 people) respectively, while flexitarians weigh up to a third of the population, or nearly 23 million people.

Large-scale distribution seizes the market

The other growth engine of the vegetarian and vegan market will be “the extension and better visibility” of the offer of these products, continues Xerfi, while noting that the promotion of this offer, whether in the chains generalists or specialist stores, is “problematic insofar as it involves an even greater fragmentation of the shelves”. “It is in this context that some brands, like Naturalia (Casino group), have opted for the creation of 100% vegan concepts (Naturalia Végan)”, notes the institute.

The latter underlines in passing the role played by the major retail chains, attracted by the growth potential of the vegetarian and vegan market, with the launch in 2015 of the first vegetarian products, in the image of “Carrefour Veggie”. In the wake of distributors, large manufacturers such as Danone, Nestlé or Fleury Michon, have stepped into the breach, continues Xerfi, noting that these giants have seen in the plant “a way to diversify their offer”.

While affirming that the increase in the consumption of products of plant origin is “indeed a major trend”, Xerfi also believes that alternatives to meat and milk proteins “are part of a fad”, which leads the institute to predict a gradual decline in the vegetarian and vegan food market beyond 2021.

(Source: AFP)