Plant-based eating and plant-based food alternatives have been hot news for a while now, and questions have been raised as to whether this trend is here to stay or just another passing food fad.
Industry experts and researchers, however, seem unanimous in their thinking that plant-based is anything but a passing fad popular only amongst ecowarriors and health fanatics.
The plant based food market is currently valued at $4.5 billion and is reportedly growing at a rate of five times total food sales and according to a Euromonitor projection worldwide sales of meat substitutes will grow 22% by 2023, reaching the $22.9 billion mark.
This is because plant-based is taking hold in the mainstream – it isn’t just for vegans anymore. More and more consumers are cutting back on meat-based products.
It is a lifestyle that vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike can maintain, regardless of their health status although the health benefits are another key driver behind this shift. Benefits of plant-based diets, include high nutritional value and weight.
Enivronmental awareness is also a significant factor when it comes to the shift from meat-based products to plant-based alternatives. Media coverage has highlighted the impact of meat and dairy production on greenhouse gases and global warming. It is believed that a plant-based burger generates 90% less greenhouse gases, 99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land than a quarter pound of beef. This coverage has driven awareness with up to 81% of global consumers now believing that it is important that companies implement programmes to that take the environment into consideration. It is not just about consumers’ health; it’s also good for the planet’s health.
TASTE AS GOOD AS LOOKS
Taste and texture are key factors when it comes to meat-free alternatives. Although dramatic improvements have been made with regards to taste, texture and the variety of alternatives available, these factors still remain a major barrier to the consumption of plant-based products for many meat eaters.
Innovations have, however enabled plant-based alternatives, such as soy, peas and nuts, to actually taste somewhat like meat or dairy-based products. Plant-based burgers, in particular, are now comparable in terms of taste, texture and flavour to meat-based burgers.
Manufacturers such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are partnering with fast food chains such as Burger King, McDonald’s and KFC to add their plant-based burgers to the menu.
In fact, McDonald’s recently announced that it would be trialling its McPlant Burger in 2021.
MORE THAN MILK
Other food sectors have also seen the introduction of plant-based alternatives. Sales of plant-based milks continue to grow with the sales cow’s milk sales declining in some countries.
Emerging plant-based dairy categories have also gained popularity including spreads, dips, sour cream and sauces. Plant-based yogurt, cheeses and ice creams are also taking off.
For more information on ingredients used in the food industry contact Chemgrit Food.