The Future of Plant-Based Proteins in Europe

Using transactional learning to uncover willingness-to-pay and key demand drivers.

Insights about European market for the plant-based proteins.

The alternative protein trend

The demand for vegetarian, vegan, and hybrid foods has rapidly grown, especially during the pandemic when consumers' health and environmental focus increased drastically. The trend appears to be here to stay: the alternative proteins market is projected to grow at 17% annually during the coming years. With this in mind, Veylinx decided to see what drives consumers to buy alternative protein options and which ones they prefer.


Unlike typical surveys in which consumers are simply asked about their preferences, Veylinx predicts how much someone will pay for a product or concept through a proprietary bidding platform using real money. Consumers reveal their true willingness to pay by placing sealed bids on products and then answering follow-up questions about their reasons to buy or not to buy. This approach avoids hypothetical bias inherent in traditional methods and delivers insights that reflect reality with much higher confidence.

Study design

For this study, we chose to test three formats — jerky, sausages, and burgers — across three European markets: the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Each of the product formats had three variations, too.

The sausage options tested were:

  • Pork
  • Plant-based
  • Hybrid (50% pork, 50% plant)


  • Beef
  • Plant-based
  • Hybrid (50% pork, 50% plant)


    • Beef
    • Plant-based
    • Insect


More than 80% of participants said they could be convinced to buy meat alternatives more frequently. Across the three markets, the top three drivers for consumers to buy more alternative proteins are:

  • Improved taste
  • Better price
  • A stronger commitment to animal welfare

Participants indicated that in the past, they bought meat substitutes mainly because they perceived them as a healthier alternative and better for animal welfare. The results show that although consumers initially buy alternative proteins for these health and animal welfare reasons, they would buy more of them if they were tastier and less expensive.

We also found that consumers in the Netherlands are most open to insects as an alternative protein based on their willingness to pay for insect jerky products (39% of Dutch participants vs. 28% of German and British participants). However, the most popular non-meat preferences overall were plant-based proteins (44%) and hybrid options (45%).

Other noteworthy findings included the discovery that the majority of consumers in all three countries agree that schools should be required to serve less meat and more alternative proteins. Additionally, more than 50% of consumers support tax increases on meat products, as well as government subsidies for alternatives.

Finally, alternative proteins, especially plant-based options, show considerable potential in the market for premiumization. Overall, consumers look positively toward meat alternatives, and their behavior indicates substantial room to grow and innovate.

Curious to know more about the pricing and demand for alternative proteins? Reach out directly to our team here. Earlier this year, we also conducted a more comprehensive version of this research in the United States. Download the ebook here. 

 Download the US version of Alternative Proteins Study Here 

Post by Karina Abdulina
October 6, 2022