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Chile leads the pack in Latin America for the number of vegan products available to consumers, registering an 8% increase over the past four years to represent 12% of the country’s total food market. But plant-based products are on the rise across the board, with Argentina and Brazil recording slightly lower numbers, as veganism spreads across the region.
Vegan products now represent more than one in 10 products on sale in the Chilean food market, according to a new study. Led by Mintel Consulting for the global plant movement Veganuary, the new research focuses on the Latin American market and shows that Chile’s vegan sector is the fastest growing among its peers, including Argentina and Brazil.
8% increase in vegan products in Chile
Over the past four years, the number of vegan products available to Chilean consumers has increased by 8%. Vegan products now represent 12% of the country’s total food market, meaning more than one in 10 products on supermarket shelves is made without animal ingredients. In terms of food products labeled “of plant origin”, this category has seen an increase of nearly 5% over the same period.
This puts the Chilean market ahead of its Latin American neighbors, Argentina and Brazil, which recorded 6% and 3% growth in the number of vegan products, respectively. In Brazil, vegan products now represent around 7% of the total food sector.
In a blog post on the results, Veganuary shared in a Spanish translation that the strong growth in the supply of vegan products in Latin America is “an increase that responds to the impact of consumers. [who are] interested in reducing their consumption of meat and other animal products, and are ready to experiment with new products that allow us to reduce our impact on the environment, animals and improve our health.
Read: Plant-based meat startups and vegan brands to watch in Latin America
Latin American Food Tech Leaders
As part of the research, Mintel also highlighted the most powerful players in the region’s burgeoning alternative protein industry. NotCo from Chile, for example, has not only become one of the most recognizable names in Latin America, but has made a name for itself around the world. Shortly after entering the U.S. market, AI-powered food technology achieved unicorn status in a $ 235 million funding round backed by names like Roger Federer and Lewis Hamilton.
NotCo simultaneously tackles all categories of animal products, from vegan meat substitutes and egg-free mayonnaise, to milk and dairy-free ice cream.
Other food technologies cited as companies to watch in the report include Brazilian Fazenda Futuro, the maker of the Future Burger, as well as N.ovo, the vegan brand of mayonnaise and egg substitutes. Fazenda Futuro, like NotCo, has also entered the US market.
In Argentina, players such as Frizata, which makes meat substitutes based on soy and wheat proteins, and the vegan milk brand Vrink were among the companies highlighted.
Read: Could these vegan burger makers outside the US beat Impossible and Beyond?
“Allergen-free” and “gluten-free” on the rise
Interestingly, the report also found that vegan products in Latin America are starting to carry multiple claims to attract increasingly health-conscious consumers and those with specific preferences and intolerances. Labels such as “allergen-free” and “gluten-free” are on the rise, such as Lactose-free, soy, gluten-free and nut-free cream cheeses from Violife, and dairy-free chocolate hazelnuts made from GMO-free lupine. Terrium Lupino, which are gluten free and refined sugar free.
“This boom in new options allows many to make their transition to a more straightforward and gradual vegan diet,” Veganuary commented. “[It] makes healthy and accessible alternatives for a large group of the population.
In Brazil, “allergen-free” and “gluten-free” are now labeled on 86% and 77% of all vegan products sold in the country, with figures of 77% and 69% in Chile and 57% and 69% in Argentina. 53%, respectively.
Other findings in the report include the growth of pea protein, which has managed to overtake soy protein’s dominance in the Chilean and Brazilian vegan markets. In Argentina, the main source of vegetable protein remains soy, followed by wheat and pea protein.
Main image courtesy of NotCo.