Meatless market: Vegan product launches double in just two years

By Richard Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags Alcoholic beverage Australia

Over recent years, the number of vegan food available in Australia has been soaring, to the point that last year witnessed a 92% increase in new product launches compared to 2014.

That is according to a new products database by market analyst Mintel, which also identified an 8% increase in the number of products launched carrying a vegetarian claim.

As many as one in eight food products launched in 2016 carried a vegetarian claim, while 6% were vegan. This increase in veggie- and vegan-friendly launches comes as Australian consumers show a growing appetite for meat-free foods. In fact, 14% said that they had avoided—or had intended to avoid—red meat in 2016.

Laura Jones, a Mintel trend and innovation consultant, said that health and environmental concerns, along with cost, have changed attitudes to meat consumption, even though Australia still has one of the biggest meat-eating populations globally.

Australians have become more mindful in recent years of the amount of meat, and the frequency at which they eat meat​,” Jones said.

Beyond the barbecue, it appears that some bottle shops have been cashing in on the growing popularity of a meat-free lifestyle, and now showcase an increasing number of alcoholic drinks with healthy attributes. 

While just 2% of alcoholic drinks launched in Australia in 2015 held a low-, no- or reduced-sugar claim, this increased to 7% of alcohol launches in 2016. In the same time period. The proportion of these drinks launched with a low, no or reduced carb claim rose from 1% to 4%, while the proportion holding a gluten-free claim rose from 1% to 3%.

But while there are more healthy alternatives available, many Australians are choosing to cut-down on the grog altogether. 

Another Mintel study showed that only 11% of Australians spend more on alcohol at home last year compared to a year ago, while 27% were spending less.

As a result, it seems that already declining beer sales are falling flat. Having been in decline from as far back as 2009 individual annual consumption of beer is forecast to fall to 48 litres in 2017, down from almost 61 litres in 2009.

Beer consumption is continuing on a long-term downward trend in Australia as consumers drink less alcohol generally, challenging brands to look for new ways to boost market value​.” Jones added.

Meanwhile, the hottest drink trend in Australia this summer is kombucha. Australia played host to the second highest number of kombucha drink launches globally in 2016, just behind America, according to Mintel.

More than three in four health drinks launches last year featured an organic claim, with half claiming to be gluten-free and 16% featuring a low-, no- or reduced-sugar formulation.

The Australian market is notable for the high profile of recent launches in the lead up to the summer season of 2016/2017​,” said Jodie Minotto, a global food trends analyst at Mintel. 

Kombucha is proving to be a beverage that defies definition and will ultimately compete with other functional and probiotic beverages. Expansion into other fermented beverages such as kefir and drinking vinegar is emerging as an innovation pathway for kombucha brands looking for growth​.”

More stories from Down Under…

GrainCorp, Cargill offload Allied Mills for $317m

GrainCorp will receive A$190m (US$144m) for its 60% stake in Allied Mills from Pacific Equity Partners (PEP), which will also pay A$127m to Cargill for its 40% share of the Australian joint-venture.


The deal marks an end of an era for a company that sold to GrainCorp and Cargill in 2002 by Goodman Fielder. At the time it marked the start of GrainCorp’s diversification strategy away from its traditional storage and handling business.

GrainCorp now generates far less of its total earnings from this side of the business, with investments in malting and edible oils coming to greater prominence.

Its managing director, Mark Palmquist, said the decision was made to free up space in GrainCorp’s balance sheet after a few years of disappointing performance for Allied Mills.

He said the the interest shown by PEP to acquire full control of Allied Mills provided an “excellent opportunity​” to realise the value in Allied and create balance sheet flexibility for the future. 

Fsanz puts cereal enzyme application out to consultation

An application to allow the use of a xylanase enzyme as a processing aid for cereals has been put to public consultation by the antipodean food regulator.


Fsanz said the applicant was seeking to use endo β(1,4) xylanase in the manufacture of some cereal products. 

We have undertaken a risk assessment and concluded there are no public health and safety concerns relating to this enzyme​,” Steve McCutcheon, chief executive of Fsanz, said in a statement.  

Xylanase is naturally present in many cereals. The applicant is seeking to add this enzyme to improve the effectiveness of manufacturing bakery and other cereal-based products​.”  

Comments on the application are invited from interested parties, and must be received by Fsanz by March 6.

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