With the growing popularity of plant-based protein, consumer behavior has begun to change. They have reduced their intake of meat and shifted toward protein derived from non-meat food sources. Meanwhile, there is an emerging movement advocating the consumption of plant-based protein instead of meat because livestock activities cause greenhouse gas emission. Therefore, plant-based protein consumption is considered an environmental friendly trend. The new movement has reduced the demand for meat-based foods, while demand for protein-based foods is rising. Therefore, the trend presents an opportunity for bean farming, food processing and business related to nutritious foods with high protein content.
KResearch estimates the health food and beverage consumption value in 2019 to reach around THB88.731 billion or an increase of 2.4 percent from 2018. The market can be categorized into the functional drinks segment amounting to THB54.881 billion, followed by free-form food and drinks without ingredients which can cause harmful effects such as unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol or free radicals, amounting to THB23.725 billion, and organic food market valued around THB3.4 billion.
For plant-based protein and plant-based dairy products, KResearch expects that in 2019, this market is worth about THB6.725 billion in 2019 and likely to grow around 6.4 percent per year in line with the movement advocating high-protein food consumption. This is because the consumers want to balance their nutrient intake by taking plant-based protein to replace meat consumption to strengthen their health and reduce risks associated with the consumption of meat.
However, KResearch views that the production of plant-based protein still has many challenges because the domestic farming of soybeans, which is an essential ingredient used for generating protein content, is insufficient to serve the local demand. The production of plant-based proteins using imported soybeans may face fluctuations in terms of supply and prices in the world market. Moreover, price of plant-based protein is still relatively high. These factors may result in limitations of the production of plant protein.