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1.1 Definition and scope of the study

Meat substitutes or imitation meat products represent a food category of products whose taste or aesthetic characteristics imitate those of certain meats for human consumption, and which generally have intended to replace the use of animal meat for consumption.

As a general rule, meat substitutes are made from non-meat products and sometimes also exclude products of animal origin, such as dairy products. The majority of these substitutes are based on soybeans, wheat, cereals, peas, various photosynthetic plants, bacterial or fungal cultures which are denatured by chemical and mechanical treatment to obtain a product in the form of meat, whereby this is then flavoured.

The world market for meat substitutes is growing rapidly with forecasts of a cumulative annual growth rate of 7% per year between 2018 and 2023.  Europe is the dominant market for vegetable meat, ahead of North America and Asia-Pacific. In France, sales in the vegetable meat industry are also rising rapidly, with a 11% growth between 2018 and 2019 .

With rising flexitarian and vegan trends inovolving the reduction of meat consumption, vegetable meats are more than ever in ascendancy. This phenomenon is accentuated by a promise of a reduction of the carbon and environmental footprint compared to the negative externalities which traditional animal production produce. Finally, the increase in health problems such as obesity or diabetes, due in particular to the over-consumption of meat products, also encourages consumers to turn to vegetable meats.

The sector is strongly marked by novelty with investments in Research & Development to constantly find new products that use less water, pollute less and taste better. The current trend is to diversify the raw materials used in the manufacture of meat products, which until now have been mainly soy and wheat-based.

1.2 A growing global market, mainly in Western countries

Size of the world market for meat alternatives World, ****-*****, in billions of euros Source: ****

The world market for vegetable meat is expected to grow at a sustained rate of *% per year until ****, increasing the value of the market from €*.* billion to €*.* billion.

A study conducted by the British bank Barclays ...

1.3 A national market that has been growing steadily for several years now

The vegetable meat market is included in the category "Other processing and preserving of fruit and vegetables" (***) of the INSEE nomenclature.

Size of the vegetable processing and preservation market France, ****-****, in billions of euros Source: ****

The processing and preservation market grew by *.*% between **** and **** to reach a value of *.* billion ...


2.1 Demand for traditional meats structurally declining

Meat consumption per capita in France contracted by *% in ****. The main segments contributing to this decline were fresh and frozen meat (***).

Meat consumption per capita France, ****-****, in g/day Source: ****

The graph of meat consumption per capita in carcass equivalent shows a gradual decline since ****. While this decline in consumption ...

2.2 French people increasingly fond of meat alternatives

French consumers have been attracted to vegetable meat for a long time. As early as ****, a study reveals that **% of consumers wanted to reduce their meat consumption. According to the same study, **% of consumers said they are ready to eat hybrid meats (***) and **% of them could turn to products based exclusively ...

2.3 Consumer perception of vegetable proteins

The products containing the most proteins according to the French people France, ****, in % Source: ****

The consumer barometer conducted by the GEPV reveals that **% of French people, i.e. *.*% more than in ****, think that vegetable proteins (***) are beneficial for health. At the same time, **% are convinced that they are good for the ...

2.4 Motivations of vegetarian consumers

Ethical, environmental (***) and health concerns are the main reasons given for choosing a flexitarian or vegetarian diet.

Animal welfare

According to Opinion Way **% of those who say they abstain from meat and fish, choose animal welfare as the first criterion for doing so. In total, **% of French vegetarians consider this criterion ...


3.1 Value chain of the vegetable meat market

The interview given by the French startup "Les Nouveaux Fermiers" to L'Usine Nouvelle is rich in lessons on the organisation of the value chain of the vegetable meat industry. Raw materials are first purchased from a network of French or European producers. The finished product is then produced by an industrial ...

3.2 A market shared between specialist brands, industrial players and private labels

Traditional vegetable and meat substitute brands :

The current leaders in the vegetable and meat substitute sector are those who were able to offer similar subsitutes at *st generation (***). These include Triballat-Noyal which owns the Sojasun brand. Another player, the Breton company, started to design soy-based products in ****, starting with milk, and ...

3.3 The battle for the distribution of vegetarian meat

The vegetarian meat market has a very strong potential and could reach $*** billion worldwide by ****, according to estimates by the British bank Barclays. There is therefore competition both between distribution channels and, above all, between players in the same distribution channel to obtain supplies from the best vegetarian meat producers.

Barclays ...

3.4 French restaurants are changing in response to new vegetarian and vegan demand

It is estimated that between **** and **** the number of vegetarian restaurants in Paris has increased *.* times to a total of ***. This trend does not only affect table-top restaurants but also fast food restaurants, with for example McDonald's launching its vegetarian burger, the "Grand Veggie" in ****, or university restaurants with the development ...


4.1 Overview of the different types of vegetable meats

There are several generations of meat substitutes. Each generation has brought a form of technological innovation compared to the previous one, with the common thread always being the desire to resemble animal meat more and more.

*st generation

These are products that do not resemble animal products. They are the ...

4.2 The advantages of vegetable meat

Vegetable meat has several environmental, health and ethical advantages which are at the root of its nascent success with French consumers.

Environmental benefit

Meat consumption has a major environmental impact. According to United Nations figures, the sector's greenhouse gas emissions amount to **.*% of the world total (***), far ahead of aviation or ...

4.3 Obstacles to the growth of the vegetable meat market

In spite of all its qualities, vegetable meat is not a panacea for the moment. Indeed, there are still many criticisms and doubts about its future development.

An ultra-processed product harmful to health

Among the potential risks, analysts at the British bank Barclays cite "the fact that alternatives to meat are ...


5.1 Food regulations

Meat substitutes are subject to a set of standards governing the production and transport of food for human consumption

Thus the following standards apply to the production and transport of these foodstuffs:

Regulation (***) No ***/**** of the European Parliament and of the Council of ** April **** on the hygiene of foodstuffs. Order of ...

5.2 Regulation on the appointment of meat substitutes

On Wednesday ** May ****, the National Assembly definitively adopted the law on the transparency of consumer information on agricultural and food products. The text includes a number of provisions adopted in the framework of the Egalim law but which had been retooled by the Constitutional Council in October ****.

It is now prohibited ...


6.1 Segmentation

  • Triballat Noyal
  • Nutrition & Santé Groupe
  • Tossolia
  • Fleury Michon
  • LDC (Groupe)
  • Beyond Meat
  • Les Nouveaux Fermiers

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Education Formation
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PhD Industrial transformations

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Pierre D.


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Arnaud W.
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Amaury de Balincourt
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