Rise of veganism threatens NZ dairy and meat industry, says report

A new report claims our dairy and meat industry is under threat from a growing global demand for vegan products.

The study was carried out by industry research company IBISWorld, and said sales of vegan food products have soared in the past five years in New Zealand, with major food manufacturers increasingly innovating to introduce new products to keep up with demand. 

However, it said as the cost of meat and international meat exports continue to rise, the surging demand for vegan products represent a growing threat to New Zealand's meat and dairy industries. 

According to IBISWorld research, the demand for plant-based products has surged in recent years, with food manufacturers in New Zealand constantly having to introduce new products to keep up.

"The quality of these products is also increasing at a rapid pace, with high-end vegan alternatives to meat and dairy foods continuously being launched," said IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst James Caldwell.  

Magnum recently launched a vegan Magnum ice cream.
Magnum recently launched a vegan Magnum ice cream. Photo credit: Unilver

"Last month, for example, Unilever launched a vegan alternative to its Magnum ice cream products, which has already received a lot of attention locally," he said.

He said the rising cost of meat in New Zealand increasing the demand for plant-based products.

"The price of meat and dairy products in New Zealand has strongly increased over the past decade, limiting local consumer demand for these products. This lack of domestic demand has also forced many producers to turn to overseas markets to sell their products in order to sustain growth."

Caldwell said the rising cost of meat in New Zealand has encouraged an increase in demand for plant-based foods, which have become increasingly price-competitive with meat and dairy products.

A Dunedin company launched 'no-meat mince' in response to growing demand.
A Dunedin company launched 'no-meat mince' in response to growing demand. Photo credit: Supplied

Rising health consciousness has also been cited as driving New Zealanders to go vegan

"As obesity rates continue to rise among New Zealanders, low-fat dairy alternatives are becoming more attractive to increasingly health conscious consumers. In addition, as the quality of milk and cheese alternatives improves, the higher the demand will be for these vegan products."

Caldwell said while exports of meat and dairy products will help the meat and dairy industries in New Zealand stay afloat, they will still face challenges ahead locally if this trend continues to gain traction and prices continue to increase.

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