Israel’s alternate protein market grows, vegan substitutes more popular

Written by on January 21, 2021

The alternate protein market grew 13 times more than traditional protein products, as Israelis flock to supermarkets to make purchases during the multiple lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Purchases of soy drinks, as a milk substitute has risen about 23% while non-soy-based drinks (rice, oats, almonds) grew approximately by 55%. Additional milk based products such as cheese and yogurt rose 40% compared to milk, which only rose by 8%.

Aviv Oren, business engagement manager at The Good Food Institute (GFI) Israel, said that “The main reason for this consumer shift is that milk substitutes today are of high quality, affordable and much closer in texture and taste to milk.”

Oren added that the “Alternative milk currently accounts for 13% of the Israeli milk market, which is worth about NIS 1.9 billion – the exact same market share that milk substitutes occupy in the American market. We anticipate that this expansion will continue to grow with the entry of new technologies and the investment of major players in that market.”

The lockdowns have left traditional restaurants closed and forced Israelis to the supermarkets. Thanks to new products on the market, Israelis have become more aware of the environmental impact of food production and its health impact. It seems to be because of these two main factors that Israeli purchasing patterns have changed, according to StoreNext, which collected data from all the retail chains in Israel.

Omri Paz, CEO and founder of the Vegan-Friendly nonprofit organization, said that “the change in the Israeli society is evident. In the last quarter of 2020 there was a 10% decrease in the consumption of animal-based meat and fish, and that was also when we had broadcast an Israeli prime-time commercial that became viral and reached 3.5 million people.”

Paz added that “When consumers have a comfortable environment and feel that they are getting the best and highest quality products, barriers to the transition to plant-based foods collapse. This is one of the reasons that we put effort in making non-vegan products accessible to vegans, which now account for 5% of the Israeli population.”

Aviv Oren of the GFI Israeli branch stated that “some people choose to reduce meat consumption due to health needs, ideological or environmental reasons. As a leading organization in the field, we promote the development and innovation of healthy and sustainable food.

The GFI is an international nonprofit organization, focused on building a sustainable, healthy, and just food system. For the past three years, GFI has offered $5 million in grants to researchers seeking to advance the field of alternative protein.

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