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PBMA sales have slid from their peak in 2020 as consumers abandon the category in favor of less expensive protein options. The category continues to struggle with negative perceptions even among those who follow a reduced meat diet,​” Caleb Bryant, associate director of food and drink reports at Mintel shared. “Yet silver linings still exist, the frozen PBMA category remains relatively resilient and new product innovation may expand the market by bringing PBMAs into new consumption occasions. Brands must address consumers’ concerns around product taste, nutrition, and price in order to achieve real market growth.​” 

Consumers return to what they know: animal-based meat

PBMA total sales are estimated to be worth $1.46bn for 2023 and forecasted to reach $1.801bn in 2028, with a worst-case prediction of $995m and $2.6bn for a best-case prediction, according to Circana InfoScan Reviews and Mintel data.

Budget-conscious consumer also are less likely to take risks in shopping. Only 20% of consumers followed a reduced meat diet in 2023, with 53% of consumers claiming inflation makes them less likely to try new foods, such as plant-based options, Mintel found.

When it comes to dietary preferences, consumers are less likely to say that they are flexitarians, vegetarians, or vegans, based on Kantar Profiles and Mintel data. In 2023, 8% of consumers said they were flexitarians, 4% were vegetarians, and 2% were vegan, as opposed to 10%, 5%, and 4%, respectively, in 2022. Additionally, consumers who stated that they ascribe to a reduced meat diet dropped to 18% in 2023 from 21% last year.