The Future of Plant-Based Pork

Plant-based eating is growing globally for compelling reasons such as health, compassion, and eco-consciousness. Euromonitor International reports that 12% of US consumers are attempting a plant-based diet, while 17% are reducing their meat consumption1. Growth is expected particularly in North America, representing over a third of the market, with Asia-Pacific enjoying the highest growth rate2.
According to The Vegan Food Global Market Report 2023, vegan product consumption will increase from $16.05 billion in 2022 to $18.27 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 13.8%. This growth will continue at a CAGR of 12.4% into 2027 to reach an estimated $29.19 billion3.
The market encompasses fresh produce and processed protein alternatives such as tofu and plant-based meat. Among the latter are fish, beef, chicken, and ham-like “meat” replacements, with beef and chicken enjoying the largest share4. While less accessible outside of jackfruit substitutes, plant-based ham product demand is predicted to grow significantly to $1.9 billion in 2033, up from 2023’s $557.9 million valuation5.
How Is Plant-Based Ham Produced?
Alt-ham products are typically made from predominantly pea and soy proteins, vegetable oils, aromas, and flavorings to mimic animal-derived ham’s distinct character and taste. Vegetables provide a firm but soft texture and nutrients, while oils add a fatty mouthfeel.
A large part of the product’s appeal is in its form, with a large, thin surface area ideal for fast warming and many consumer applications. Over half (55%) of the alt-ham market is owned by the strips and slices segments6.
Plant-based deli slices are available from several brands, including Tofurky, Quorn, Yves Veggie Cuisine, Lightlife, and The Very Good Butchers. You’ll also find ham-style roasts from Sweet Earth Foods and Field Roast, with more innovations anticipated as competition increases. In addition, new and innovative techniques are bringing alt-pork closer to the real thing than ever before.
Molecular Farming
Moolec Science, a leading agricultural innovator, has developed a method of using molecular farming to produce pork protein in soybeans. Their “Piggy Sooy” yields “significantly high” levels of pork protein in these pink beans, up to 26.6% of the overall soluble protein content.
While introducing genetic modification, the approach helps lessen the impact of traditional animal rearing on the environment and animals. It also offers a “valuable pathway” to improve pork substitutes’ texture, taste, and nutrition content and enhance plant-based product credibility. Molecular farming is also potentially applicable across various industries, including food, diagnostic reagents, cosmetics, pharma, and more.
Artificial Intelligence
Adding data to the mix, AI plays an increasingly prominent role in developing meat alternatives. AI facilitates the analysis of vast and diverse databases, accelerating and enhancing research and forecasting. This advantage helps identify and process plant proteins with promise, increase accessibility, sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and reduce waste.
Precision Fermentation
Precision fermentation is another critical technique helping to reduce the food production footprint. Innovations include a plant-based casein substitute from Climax Foods (discovered using artificial intelligence).
Interest in this process’s potential is high, with YDLabs commissioned by Israel’s Innovation Authority to build permanent microorganism fermentation laboratories, with a food tech investment of around $12.8 million. Another big player – Kalsec – has partnered with Willow Biosciences to commercialize precision fermentation to produce scale results.
Regardless of how your pork product substitute is produced, ensure a taste and aroma that entices and satisfies using Advanced Biotech’s pure and concentrated flavor and fragrance ingredients.
Embrace a Purer, Plant-Based Future With Advanced Biotech
Our extensive range of 100% natural, plant-based, and EU-certified ingredients offer targeted taste and aroma profiles to match your pork-style slices, strips, and roasts. Please contact us for more information.