A Barclays report on alternative meat predicts that the nascent industry will reach $140 billion over the next decade. The growing demand for animal-free food products will help it capture approximately 10% of the $1.4 trillion global meat industry.

As consumers become more health- and environment-conscious, and demand more cruelty-free foods, the plant-based protein market continues to grow. Advocates of the new industry also add low sodium content to the growing list of advantages over traditional meats.

In the future, this could even include lab-based proteins. Some of the best-selling products in the sphere are “meatless” ground beef, sausage, and hamburger products.

Industry forerunners who are witnessing incredible success include Beyond Meat with its plant-based burgers, sausage and other alternatives; Impossible Foods, which is targeting the restaurant space; and even behemoths like Nestle and Tyson Foods.

Plant-based proteins are popular because studies have shown how they help to reduce cancer, diabetes, and heart disease risks. Moving away from meat-heavy diets can help reduce saturated fat and increases a person’s fiber and vitamin intake.

Conagra Brands Inc., which recently acquired the Gardein brand, averred that it sees a $30 billion opportunity from its alternative meat products. Gardein’s existing offerings include Meatless Chick’n Strips and Meatless Meatballs made from ancient grains, wheat, and vegetables.

Similarly, Tyson Foods also announced its plans to go big on alternative meat. The Tyson Foods Summer Trends Report also pointed at alternative meat as a big mover and shaker. It has now launched its line of alternative meat products that will soon be available at major retail stores.

Nestlé USA is diving into plant-based proteins with its acquisition of Sweet Earth. The California-based vegan foods manufacturer offers both organic and conventional versions of the famous Awesome Burger. Derived from American-sourced protein-dense yellow pea protein, both are higher in protein and fiber than most other plant-based burgers.

Hormel Foods Corp. announced its interest in the growing alternative meats industry and will launch plant-based, vegan pizza toppings. It has seen considerable interest in the space with the Fuse Burger, which is made from rice and ground turkey, and caters to the reduce meat consumption demands.

Is the fast-food industry lagging in this area?

Apparently not. Burger King has partnered with brands like Impossible and Beyond Meat to offer the Impossible Whopper on the menu.

McDonald's has not announced any such action, though the fast-food giant has embraced many sustainable and eco-friendly choices over the past few years, such as cage-free eggs, chicken raised without antibiotics, and milk from cows that have not been treated with artificial growth hormones.