SWITZERLAND, Bern. Many Swiss consumers have discovered vegetarian and vegan alternatives to meat and sausage over the past five years. Demand has doubled.
In Switzerland, demand for meat-free alternatives has risen sharply over the past five years. That's according to a study conducted by the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG). According to the FOAG, food retailers (LEH) generated sales of CHF 117 mill. (€106.8 mill.) with this product group last year; this was CHF 57 mill. (€52.1 mill.) or 95% more than in 2016. Burgers with meat substitutes were particularly in demand, it said, with one in six burgers sold in food retailers being plant-based. The top-selling products in the range were classic products such as tofu and seitan - i.e. wheat protein - with a recent total of CHF 22.2 mill (€ 20.3 mill.).
However, the federal office acknowledged that meat substitutes remain a niche market in Switzerland, with a market share of just 2.3%. Purchases of meat substitutes are strongly influenced by socio-demographic characteristics, according to the study. Demand is comparatively high among family households with up to two children, German-speaking Swiss households, households with people under 50 years of age, as well as among high-income earners and city dwellers. In contrast, interest in meat substitutes is lower in rural areas, in western Switzerland and among households with low incomes, it said.
According to the FOAG, the market offers great opportunities for Swiss agriculture, as the niche has hardly been exploited to date. Almost all vegetable proteins for domestic meat substitute production would be imported. The study can be found on the Internet.