The global plant-based protein market size is projected to grow from USD 10.3 billion in 2020 to USD 15.6 billion by 2026, in terms of value, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% during the forecast period. The rise in population with lactose intolerance is one of the major factors driving the market growth for plant-based protein. North America region accounted for the largest market share in the global plant-based protein market.
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The market for pea-based protein is estimated to be the fastest-growing segment in the plant-based protein market, by source, during the forecast period. Pea protein is derived and extracted in powder from yellow split peas. The powder form extracted is further processed and produced in three different types, namely, pea protein isolate, pea protein concentrate, and textured pea protein. The pea protein isolate is obtained by the process of wet fractionation and is higher in concentration. In contrast, pea protein concentrates are obtained by the process of dry fractionation and are lower in protein concentration. Owing to its nutritional benefits and easy integration into final products, the demand for pea protein continues to grow from application industries.
The concentrates segment is projected to dominate the market, by type, in terms of value, during the forecast period. Plant-based protein concentrates deliver balanced nutrition, offering fibers and micronutrients, along with protein. They are sourced sustainably from peas, lentils, and fava beans, which can generally comprise up to 80% of protein content. The production of plant protein concentrates is of great interest in the food industry due to greater requirement for protein, and an increase in applications of plant-derived proteins in foods, especially in developing countries.
In terms of geographical coverage, the plant-based protein market has been segmented into five regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and the Rest of the World (RoW). Asia Pacific is projected to be the fastest-growing region during the forecast period. The development of protein-based feeds, including isolates, represents the growing shift toward high-grade premixes. Among the feed applications, the use of pea protein isolates has gained popularity for their use in the aquafeed industry. Asia Pacific offers lucrative opportunities to manufacturers and suppliers of plant-based protein, owing to the cost advantage and high demand in this region. China is the outright leader of plant-based protein in the Asia Pacific region, followed by Japan and India.
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There is a significant demand for pea protein since textured pea protein is used in food products as a substitute for conventional meat products. Moreover, pea proteins are used in alternatives to conventional dairy products. The development of new technologies provides growth opportunities for manufacturers to increase production levels.