Demand for meat substitutes drives growth in soy protein market

April 13, 2023

Research has indicated the direct link between growth in the soy protein market and global demand for meat substitutes.

A recent report from states that the valuation for the global soy protein market was approximately €5.98 billion (USD $6.56 billion) in 2021. The market is apparently expected to grow exponentially, with a predicted compound annual growth rate of 9.8% between 2021 and 2030. 

Understanding the soy protein market and its drivers

Several drivers of the soy protein market have been identified. One key driver is the growing demand for meat substitutes around the world. The report claims that since soy protein is a common substitute for animal protein, its use is expected to rise with the increased production of meat substitutes. Soy protein is known to have similar properties to meat itself, and acts as an alternative to red and processed meat products. 

The soy protein market is segmented into four products: soy protein isolates, soy protein concentrates, textured soy protein, and soy flour, grits and chunks. The most lucrative of the segments is observed to be soy protein isolates, thanks to having high protein content, as well as low fat and cholesterol. The report also indicates that soy protein isolates have medical benefits too, including helping to decrease the likelihood of ailments like osteoporosis, heart disease and breast cancer.  

The market segment that is predicted to have rising potential is soy protein concentrates. These product types are already popular within artificial food segments, with meat and animal feed industries forecasted to help drive growth in this segment. Benefits of soy protein concentrates listed in the report include nutrient density, sensory quality and functional performance.

Categorised by form, the global soy protein market is divided into four segments: bars, powder, ready-to-drink, capsules and tablets and others. Soy protein bars in particular have been identified as being popular with athletes and non-athletes, thanks to their nutritional benefits and ease-of-use. The soy protein bar segment, therefore, is one that is expected to grow at a fast rate. 

One segment that has been tipped to have great potential is soy protein powder. The low-fat and good fats contents of this form of soy protein means it can decrease cholesterol, and because it contains “all essential” amino acids, soy protein powder can act as a complete protein for people who do not eat meat, as suggested by

Demand for dairy replacements, infant foods, as well as baked goods and confectioners, meat alternatives and functional food reportedly drives the food segment of the global soy protein market.

Demand for meat substitutes drives growth in soy protein market
The bar segment of the global soy protein market is one that is expected to grow at a fast rate | Credit: John Zdralek/CC BY 2.5

Other contributing factors to soy protein market growth 

Soy protein is also predicted to have a growing influence in the world of sports. The report claims that there is a link between increasing health centres/sports institutions and demand for soy protein products. The aforementioned popularity of soy protein bars among athletes and people with athletic interests is one example of this. 

The market is also being driven forward in part thanks to the increasing consumer demand of products with long shelf life and products that can be easily packed. It is also thought that the soy protein market will grow as products become more widely adopted in the healthcare industry as health supplements. 

Obstacles for the soy protein market

Growth for the soy protein market is not expected to be without obstacles. One barrier that may restrict market growth is the biological makeup of soy protein itself. The report states that over-consuming soy protein could lead to an imbalance of normal hormones. That, along with the fact that soy contains phytates that limits how the body ingests minerals, could be off-putting for potential consumers on a macro level. 

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