Ten times growth: NZ’s pea protein market to be fuelled by sports nutrition, infant formula, and alt meats – new report

By Si Ying Thian

- Last updated on GMT

Report to NZ Trade and Enterprise shows 10x growth in NZ's pea protein market, driven by sports nutrition, infant formula and meat alternatives © Getty Images
Report to NZ Trade and Enterprise shows 10x growth in NZ's pea protein market, driven by sports nutrition, infant formula and meat alternatives © Getty Images

Related tags Pea protein plant-based protein Sports nutrition Infant formula Meat alternatives

New Zealand’s market for pea protein will grow 10-fold in the next decade, with key sectors being sports nutrition, infant formula, and plant-based dairy and meat alternatives, according to a report from trade officials.

New Zealand’s market currently stands at 530 tonnes, with 85% (451 tonnes) driven by the sports nutrition sector and 14% (74 tonnes) by alternative meats.

After experiencing a CAGR of 53% from 2010 to 2021, the market it is projected hit 5,500 tonnes – putting the country on par with Japan and Australia.

The report by Coriolis Ltd., commissioned by the government trade agency New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Sports nutrition

The domestic demand for pea protein in sports nutrition is projected to grow at a 5% CAGR, while export demand is at 25% CAGR in the next decade.

Pea-based products in the NZ market range from protein powders, nutrition bars, and cookies.

Products are sold across supermarkets, pharmacy, sports nutrition retailers, health supplements retailers, online, and manufacturer/marketer direct; with no single distribution channel dominating the domestic market.

Plant-based foods

NZ’s production expertise for plant-based meat is predominantly located in Auckland, other parts of the North Island, and Canterbury.

Around 85% to 90% of domestic sales of pea protein-based alternative meat products are sold in supermarkets.

Most of the alternative meat products in the domestic market contain pea protein, including pastrami, burger patties, bacon, chicken chunks and minced meat. For other plant-based food products such as yoghurt and ice-cream, soy is the dominant ingredient.

Another plant-based food that is seeing high growth is pea-based infant or toddler formula​ – currently demanding 1,500 to 1,700 tonnes in the domestic market and regarded as a key export-focused sector.

Export potential

Currently, 34% of the pea protein used in sports nutrition and 20% of that in alternative meats is re-exported to other markets. Re-exports imply that New Zealand firms process the pea protein for export markets.

The report states there is high potential for sports nutrition and plant-based meat exports to North America, while in Asia-Pacific Japan and Australia were seen as solid markets for the two sectors.

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