Ukraine: Plant based meat study
The study was initiated by the Office of the Agricultural Counsellor in Ukraine and inplemented in cooperation with the Ukrainian Meat Industry Association.
Ukraine has the lowest meat consumption rate among European countries: 48 kg per year per capita. Such a low figure is generally explained by the lower buying capacity. At the same time, Ukrainians have rich traditions of consuming broad variety of vegetable-, legume- and cereal based foods that constitute solid base of healthy plant-based diets.
This was nurtured by the centuries of traditional orthodox fasting that lasted totally up to 21 weeks in a year. Even nowadays, according to various estimations, approximately 7% of Ukrainians follow fasting tradition.
At the same time, according to the research, around 2 mln. Ukrainians are vegetarians and about 3 mln. people have deliberately reduced consumption of meat in their diet recently for the reasons other than lack of money. Their motivation is driven by fashion and trends; healthy eating; love for animals; dissatisfaction with the quality of meat.
The Ukrainian Meat Industry Association prepared the overview of the Ukrainian plant-based meat on the request of the Dutch Agricultural counsellor in Ukraine.
Most vegetarians are Ukrainians aged 18-29. Same age group is seen to show increasing interest in plant-based meat.
Plant-based meat products are only emerging in Ukraine, and the demand for this product is still small. Not all buyers are properly informed about the existence of alternative proteins and of their advantages, differences, and similarities with traditional meat. The number of producers is also small, so it is relatively easier for the new brands to establish themselves on the market. A lot of vegetarians and flexitarians live in Ukraine, and their number is gradually growing. Moreover, this category has an average or higher income level.
Informing consumers about plant-based meat can help develop this area. It is easy to nudge an interested audience to buy a new brand, since there is no established market leader yet.
Currently, plant based protein meat replacers are available in the 200+ shops, 10+ supermarket chains, served in the 150+ restaurants. 13 brands sell approximately 12 tons of produce a month, if compared with current meat market in Ukraine, this would make almost 0.006% of the meat market. New players and new products appear on the market regularly.
The price for alternative proteins is significantly higher than that of conventional meat. The good quality product at acceptable price has all the chances to win big share of the market.
Growing interest in plant-based foods from consumers, retail and caterers will definitely bring diets and consumption patterns at the new level also in Ukraine.