Industry analysts reported that plant-based foods are beginning to thrive among Mexican consumers. It is estimated that up to 54% of consumers are already starting to replace some type of animal protein with these products.
Mexico is the tenth country with the highest market value in the meat substitute sector, ranking behind China, the US and Russia, among others. According to data from Statista, between 2017 and 2023, meat substitute products were expected to grow in sales by 176%, going from 11,600 t to 32,000 t. Similarly, a survey performed by Euromonitor showed that the popularity of vegan protein has grown thanks to different elements. The survey highlights that 54% percent of Mexicans have changed their diets due to digestive problems. Meanwhile, 49% related it to a general focus on their well-being, 44% to medical recommendations and 33% to potential health benefits.
Companies such as NotCo, Heartbest, Propel Foods, Griyum and Santena are taking advantage of this market opportunity in Mexico, raising their investments, improving their formulas and expanding their reach to meet consumer demand. The Chilean company NotCo arrived in Mexico in 2022 through alliances with giants, such as Burger King, Chilli’s and Starbucks. A year later, the company produces most of its products locally and has launched a supermarket line for plant-based foods. “We are operating three plants with local partners and today 85% of what we sell in Mexico comes from local production: Not Meat and its derivatives in Guadalajara, Not Burger in Chihuahua and Not Chicken in Monterrey,” said Federico Hirtz, Managing Director, NotCo in Mexico.
A package of Not Chicken nuggets has an average cost of MX$75 (US$4.25) in Soriana, MX$16 (US$.91) pricier than regular chicken nuggets of the brand Del Dia. “We have not made price adjustments for a year and a half. To achieve that, we have absorbed the cost increases with greater operational efficiency, which has helped us to grow," explained Hirtz. Additionally, he pointed out that while products are already available in different supermarkets and digital platforms, including Walmart, HEB, Soriana, Jüsto, Amazon, and Mercado Libre, 50% of their consumers tried them for the first time at a restaurant.
Among non-plant-based meat substitutes, Paco Gutiérrez, Co-Founder and CEO, Santena, a Mexican company that develops high protein foods based on cricket powder, pointed out that crickets provide 70% of the nutrients that human beings need, compared to the 25% provided by beef. He explained that in alliance with Griyum, the company has raised a seed budget of US$400,000, which allows them to grow their production and expand in national retail. They currently have distributors in Queretaro, Nuevo Leon and Veracruz.