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The global wheat protein market size is anticipated to reach a value of $2.5 billion by 2023 and $3.2 billion by 2028, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.9% from 2023 to 2028. Owing to the increase in demand for meat-free diets, rising obesity cases resulting in demand for low-calorie foods, and consumers seeking healthy foods. Wheat gluten, being rich in proteins, is a suitable option and has boosted the demand for it in the global wheat protein market.

Wheat Protein Market

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What is wheat protein?

Wheat protein refers to the proteins found in wheat grains. It's a mixture of various proteins, mainly gluten and gliadin, which give wheat dough its elastic and stretchy properties. Gluten is composed of two primary proteins—gliadin and glutenin—which form when flour is mixed with water, providing the structure and texture to baked goods. However, some individuals are sensitive or allergic to wheat protein, leading to conditions like celiac disease or wheat allergies.

Driver: Increase in consumer preference for meat analogs

Various plant-based alternatives to meat products have acquired an increasingly growing market globally. Consumers demand meat alternatives that emulate the fibrous structure, texture, and mouthfeel of meat products. This has increased interest in developing plant protein-based meat alternatives globally. Rising awareness about healthy and nutritious food options among consumers has also led to a growing number of new consumer groups called “flexitarians” looking to reduce their daily meat consumption. This gradual shift in consumers' eating patterns has also led to the creation of novel products aimed at fulfilling consumer demand for meat products, which act as the perfect substitute not only for their taste but also for their high protein nutritional value. For instance, academic researchers and many small and medium-sized enterprises have successfully developed new meat alternatives under the European research project LikeMeat. The project created fibrous meat-like structures from plant proteins using an adapted cooking extrusion process, which was eventually processed into different food products.

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Adoption of plant-based meat substitutes is projected to drive demand for textured wheat protein

Textured wheat protein, also known as wheat meat, wheat gluten, or seitan, is a popular plant-based protein source used as a meat substitute for many years. A study published in the journal Foods in 2021 found that the demand for meat substitutes, including textured wheat protein, is increasing worldwide due to health, ethical, and environmental concerns associated with meat consumption. In 2019, a survey by the International Food Information Council found that 22% of US consumers reported consuming plant-based meat substitutes, including textured wheat protein, at least once a week.

Europe is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period

The consumption of wheat protein in Europe is the highest as compared to other regions. Consumers increasingly prefer plant-sourced proteins, such as wheat protein, due to the high prices of animal-sourced proteins. This has led to the growth of low-cost plant-sourced proteins, such as wheat and vegetable proteins, which act as substitutes for animal-sourced proteins.

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Germany is an attractive market for manufacturing companies as well as exporters. Bread constitutes a significant part of the baked goods sector, as it is one of the main components of the German diet. The bakery & snack industry of Germany is well-established and has a large consumer base with high purchasing power. Health-conscious consumers in this country demand nutritive baked goods without compromising on the taste of products. Key players in the bakery product industry are taking the initiative to develop and promote new products to meet this demand. In Germany, barley and wheat are predominantly used as sources for feed products.


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