The global plant-based protein market size is projected to grow from $ 10.3 billion in 2020 to $ 14.5 billion by 2025, registering an annual growth rate of 7.1% on average during this period. This is attributed to the increasing use of pea protein in the food industry and innovation in technologies used for the extraction of plant-based protein.
This increase in demand has been motivated by a shift in consumer preferences, towards a diet focused on a more sustainable lifestyle and less dependence on animal proteins. A considerable percentage of millennials, mainly in Western countries, have been observed switching from conventional animal products to organic and plant food products as a food solution. In recent years, consumer adoption of plant-based foods and beverages has been higher due to the broader scope of product availability, improved development, and innovation.
It is precisely isolated proteins that will show greater dynamism in the coming years, as they contain a higher concentration of proteins, are easily digested, and can be incorporated into different food products. Protein isolates have been developed from a variety of legumes such as soybeans, peas, canola, and other sources such as rice and oats, making them an ideal ingredient to be used in applications such as beverages, children’s food, and other special foods.
Implications for Costa Rica
Changes in consumer habits and preferences have caused the emergence of new trends in the food industry, as the population, mainly in the segment of millennials, seeks healthier and ecologically sustainable alternatives, being proteins of animal origin one of the categories that have benefited the most from these patterns.
Costa Rican exporters must stay informed about the trends that emerge in the various industries, so that they can take advantage of the opportunities that the markets present, in segments with high added value and with growth expectations for the coming years.
The food industry represents the third most important sector for Costa Rican exports, with amounts that as of September 2020 exceeded 1,200 million USD, which represents 66 million USD more than in the same period of 2019, which shows the resilience of the sector even in crisis contexts.