Vegetarian Foods - US - November 2003

The vegetarian food market in the U.S. has grown rapidly over the past five years. Growing concerns about health and the benefits of a meat-reduced diet, coupled with a wider distribution and selection of vegetarian products through traditional and non-traditional channels, have increased sales.

Mintel's exclusive consumer research shows that vegetarian foods are generating interest from consumers across all age groups. As leading suppliers develop and expand the distribution of products to appeal to the mainstream consumer, the category as a whole will benefit from the general growing interest in healthier and tastier meat replacements.

While only a small percentage of Americans consider themselves to be strict vegetarians, a larger number are reducing the amount of meat in their diets. Those who lean toward meat reduction diet patterns include younger and older consumers of all income brackets and education levels, as well as across all regions of the U.S. While uptake of certain types of vegetarian foods and beverages varies among the key demographic segments, it is clear that products delivering on taste, price, and convenience will appeal to many U.S. consumers.

Research for this report suggests that the largest portion of growth in the vegetarian food market will continue to come from consumers who currently buy a small number of vegetarian food products, but are interested in using these products to control health concerns or as part of an overall lifestyle change.

This report covers the U.S. retail market for vegetarian foods. Vegetarian foods are those food items that directly replace animal or meat-related products, such as soy milk for cow's milk or textured vegetable protein for red meat.

The following foods are included in this report: soy milk (refrigerated and shelf stable, flavored and unflavored); other non-dairy milk alternatives (almond milk, rice milk, other milk, flavored and unflavored); meat substitutes (frozen, refrigerated and canned); vegetable-based substitutes (bean burgers, garden burgers, nut patties, chick pea patties, vegetarian hot-dogs); tofu ; and other related vegetarian products such as entrees.

Excluded from this report are all food items that may be vegetarian, but that do not directly replace a meat or meat-based equivalent. Therefore, fresh, canned, or frozen fruit or vegetables, as well as fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned) or vegetable juices are not included, nor are shelf-stable, refrigerated or frozen meal centers such as macaroni and cheese or vegetable pizza. Also excluded are all dairy products such as cheeses that may be consumed by some vegetarians.

This report contains US IRI InfoScan data. Report contents may be subject to change prior to the date of publication.

A number of U.S. reports covering related sectors have been published, are planned, or are in preparation, including:
-- Functional Foods, U.S. Report, November 2003
-- Functional Beverages, U.S. Report, November 2003
-- Healthy Snacking, U.S. Report, July 2003
-- Kosher Foods, U.S. Report, February 2003
-- Soy-based Food and Drink, U.S. Report, October 2002
-- Emerging Ethnic Foods, U.S. Report, June 2002
-- Organic Foods, U.S. Report, May 2002
-- Baby Foods, U.S. Report, October 2002
-- Frozen Snacks, U.S. Report, October 2002
-- Red Meat, U.S. Report, September 2002
-- Breakfast & Lunch Meats, U.S. Report August 2002
-- Poultry, U.S. Report July 2002
-- Pasta, U.S. Report, May 2002
-- Alternative Medicines, U.S. Report, March 2002
-- Energy Supplements, U.S. Report, March 2002
-- Eating Habits, Attitudes & Concerns, U.S. Report, February 2002
-- Health & Fitness Clubs, U.S. Report, December 2001
-- Ingredient Trends, U.S. Report, October 2001
-- Functional Food, U.S. Report, September 2001
-- Functional Drinks, U.S. Report, August 2001