Pea Protein Market to Witness Unprecedented Growth in Coming Years

The pea protein market was experiencing significant growth driven by various factors including increasing consumer demand for plant-based protein products, rising health consciousness, and growing awareness about the environmental impact of animal agriculture. Pea protein, derived from yellow peas, has gained popularity as a sustainable and nutritious alternative to animal-based protein sources.

The pea protein market size is estimated at USD 2.1 billion in 2024 and is projected to reach USD 3.7 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 12.0% from 2024 to 2029.  Pea protein’s rise in popularity is attributed to its exceptional nutritional profile, rich in essential amino acids like lysine, often lacking in other plant-based sources. Its allergen-free nature, excluding soy and dairy, caters to individuals with dietary restrictions. Furthermore, heightened awareness of the environmental impact of animal agriculture drives the search for sustainable protein sources. Pea protein production consumes fewer resources and emits fewer greenhouse gases than animal-based proteins, aligning with eco-conscious consumer preferences. The versatility of pea protein appeals to food manufacturers, seamlessly integrating into various products like plant-based meats, dairy alternatives, snacks, and supplements, without compromising taste or texture.

Key factors contributing to the growth of the pea protein market include:

  1. Rising Demand for Plant-Based Protein: Consumers are increasingly opting for plant-based protein sources due to concerns about animal welfare, health, and environmental sustainability. Pea protein serves as a versatile ingredient in a wide range of food and beverage products, including protein powders, meat alternatives, snacks, and bakery items.
  2. Health and Wellness Trends: With growing awareness about the health benefits of plant-based diets, there has been a surge in demand for pea protein among health-conscious consumers. Pea protein is naturally free from common allergens such as gluten, dairy, and soy, making it suitable for individuals with dietary restrictions or sensitivities.
  3. Expansion of Vegan and Vegetarian Markets: The increasing adoption of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles has bolstered the demand for plant-based protein alternatives. Pea protein offers an excellent amino acid profile comparable to animal protein sources, making it an attractive option for those following plant-based diets.
  4. Clean Label Movement: Consumers are seeking products with simple, natural, and recognizable ingredients. Pea protein aligns with the clean label trend as it is perceived as a minimally processed, whole-food ingredient.
  5. Food Industry Innovation: Food manufacturers are incorporating pea protein into a diverse range of products to cater to the growing demand for plant-based alternatives. This includes meat substitutes, dairy alternatives, snacks, beverages, and sports nutrition products.
  6. Sustainability: Pea protein production requires fewer natural resources compared to animal agriculture, contributing to its appeal among environmentally conscious consumers. Additionally, peas are nitrogen-fixing crops that can enrich soil health, further enhancing their sustainability credentials.
  7. Investment and Research: Increased investment in research and development initiatives focused on improving the taste, texture, and functionality of pea protein has led to the development of innovative formulations and applications, driving market growth.

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Market Drivers: Growing consumer awareness about nutritional benefits offered by pea and pea-based products

In 2020, there was a significant rise in the popularity of plant-based foods globally, with various new products hitting the market, ranging from bakery items and pastries to pizza, lattes, and vegan burgers. By the end of the year, McDonald’s joined the trend by introducing their McPlant menu. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted two global lockdowns, leading people to reevaluate their priorities, focusing more on health and wellbeing. This shift resulted in a surge in plant-based food sales, increasing by 243%, with a notable 14% rise in the preference for meat-free and dairy-free options among consumers, as reported by New Food Magazine.

Pea protein powder has emerged as a popular ingredient for protein shakes, smoothies, and energy drinks due to its ability to enhance protein content. It is suitable for various dietary preferences as it is naturally vegan and hypoallergenic. Pea protein is rich in iron and high-quality protein, and it is believed to promote muscle growth, aid in weight loss, and support heart health. Studies indicate that protein derived from peas, particularly yellow peas, can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure without putting strain on the kidneys. These health benefits are anticipated to propel the growth of the global pea protein market.

The European market is projected to contribute the largest share of the global pea protein processing market.

The Europe region is witnessing a burgeoning wave of growth in the pea protein market as food & beverage industries across the continent embrace the multifunctional applications of this plant based compound. European region’s active participation in global trade further amplifies the accessibility of pea protein. The ease of trade facilitates the flow of these versatile compounds across borders, supporting the region’s industries with a diverse range of applications.

European countries are active participants in global trade, both as importers of raw materials and exporters of finished products. The demand for pea protein in Europe influences international trade dynamics, affecting production, pricing, and supply chains globally. Europe has been at the forefront of environmental awareness and sustainability initiatives. The increasing awareness of environmental sustainability prompts consumers to seek alternative protein sources with lower environmental footprints. Pea protein production requires fewer natural resources and emits fewer greenhouse gases compared to animal-based proteins, making it an environmentally friendly choice that resonates with eco-conscious consumers.

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Leading organizations outlined

Roquette Frères (France), ADM (US), Ingredion (US), Kerry Group Plc. (Ireland), and Glanbia PLC (Ireland), Cargill Incorporated (US), International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. (US), Puris (US), Emsland Group (Germany), and Yantai Shuangta Foods Co., Ltd. (China).