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Consumers are increasingly eating alternative proteins based on plants, micro-organisms and animal cells. This market is expected to grow to at least €245 billion ($290 billion) by 2035, according to a new report by Boston Consulting Group and Blue Horizon.
Editorial office / London

The report “Food for Thought: The Protein Transformation” shows that the market for alternative proteins will grow from the current 13 tonnes per year to 97 tonnes in 2035. In this baseline scenario, this accounts for 11% of the entire protein market. With faster technological innovation and supportive legislation, the share can even grow to 22% of the entire market in 2035. At that rate, meat consumption in Europe and North America will already start to decline in 2025.

The choice for alternative proteins has a measurable positive effect on the environment and contributes to a number of important sustainability goals of the United Nations, such as responsible consumption and production, and the prevention of hunger. The shift to plant-based alternatives to meat and eggs alone will result in a reduction of over 1 gigaton of CO2 by 2035 and 39 billion cubic metres of water.


The key to consumer acceptance is equivalence: alternatives must taste and feel the same as animal alternatives. In addition, the price must remain at least the same and preferably be lower. According to Benjamin Morach, managing director and partner at BCG, this will soon be the case: “This will fuel a new wave of growth, with significant positive environmental consequences.”

Equivalent plant-based alternatives to products such as hamburgers, dairy and eggs made from plant proteins will be available from 2023 or even earlier. Proteins made from micro-organisms such as fungi, yeast and single-celled algae will be an equivalent alternative from 2025. Proteins grown directly from animal cells (‘cultured meat’) will be an equivalent alternative from 2032 onwards.

To perfect the alternative protein technologies, large capital investments are needed – think of hundreds of billions to scale up production to industrial levels.

The study can be requested on the Blue Horizon website.

Image: Blue Horizon