The market research organisation says that 12% of global food and drink product launches carried a vegetarian claim last year, up from 6% five years earlier. Meanwhile, 2% of all products claimed to be vegan, up from 1% in 2009.
“Globally, the outlook for the meat alternative market is positive and will continue to be driven by an emerging consumer trend towards meat reduction on a part-time basis, also called flexitarianism, entailing increased consumption of plant-based foods without completely cutting out meat,” said global food science analyst at Mintel, Laura Jones.
“Indeed, many meat-reducing consumers have adopted a flexible attitude, choosing to limit meat, rather than eliminate it entirely. Launches of vegetarian and vegan products echo manufacturers desire to communicate the suitability of their products to the widest range of consumers.”
The doubling of vegetarian claims does not necessarily reflect a doubling of vegetarian or vegan products on the market - although twice as many products are showcasing their vegetarian credentials.
Apart from meat alternatives, other market segments have also become sensitive to animal-derived ingredients. For example, the number of new chocolate and sugar products making a vegetarian claim has more than doubled in the past five years, from 4% in 2009 to 9% in 2013. Chocolate and sugar products calling out their vegan status have also doubled during the period, from 1% to 2% of all launches.
“Ingredients will continue to be scrutinised by consumers and manufacturers need to be responsive and proactive to quell any consumer concerns,” Jones said.
Among confectionery products using glazing agents, the proportion making vegetarian or vegan claims reached 32% last year, up from 13% five years earlier.
Commonly used non-vegan glazing agents include beeswax and shellac, a resin excreted by certain insects.