Many consumers are looking to reduce their consumption of meat and animal products as part of a “plant-based” diet. These consumers are not only driven by the desire to improve their own health, they are often weary of the industrial food system, concerned about animal welfare, and worried about the threat of climate change.
Not to be confused with vegans, who eliminate all animal products from their diet and food, plant-based diets do not necessarily eliminate animal products, but focus on eating mostly plants, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
The plant-based food market is showing significant growth with per capita meat consumption expected to fall in 2020, the first time since 2014, according to a new report by Packaged Facts, a leading market research firm and division of MarketResearch.com.
Packaged Facts identifies plant-based eating and sustainability as two of the top food trends impacting consumer preferences and food product launches in recent years.
The plant-based trend not only includes vegans and vegetarians, but also “flexitarians” who are looking to adopt more plant-centric meals but are not willing to cut out meat or animal products entirely. Not surprisingly, the not-so-strict flexitarians and omnivores make up a much larger portion of the population than vegans and vegetarians — making them a key target market for food and beverage companies.
Plant-Based Consumer Profile
However, as a consumer demographic, vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians tend to share some commonalities. According to Packaged Facts, they are likely to be:
Higher income, with the resources to afford more premium foods and the willingness to pay more for higher quality products such as sustainable and clean label foods.
Younger consumers who value fresh, healthy foods and are open to trying new products, including Generation Z adults and Millennials.
Parents of young children who care about making healthy home-cooked meals and spending quality time together as a family.
The growing interest in plant-based presents the food industry and manufacturers with both challenges and opportunities. It gives brands, and not just natural brands, an opportunity to gain new sales.
Possibilities seem endless when it comes to botanicals, from the seeds to the roots to the fruits; brands can create a completely new product line, incorporate them as line extensions, or highlight one already in use.
The latter is the ideal situation for both formulators and marketers; they can market plant-based ingredients as something new and interesting without actually having to formulate a new product. For instance, cinnamon and ginger are already incorporated into a wide variety of products; simply highlighting them not only meets consumer demand, but also differentiates the product within such a competitive landscape. Many kitchen staples, including cinnamon and ginger, are now being recognised for their health attributes as well. Such ingredients would be the simplest introduction for consumers to plant-based options.
Another good introductory ingredient is protein from plant sources. Claims surrounding protein are incredibly impactful as consumers look to add more of this macronutrient to their diet. Botanicals provide protein from a consumer-friendly source, meeting not only the plant-based need, but the clean and sustainable trend as well.
Protein concentrates from pea, rice and soy are now also more common in grocery stores.
All manufacturers can therefore leverage the spotlight on plant-based diets vs. meat-based diets to their benefit, whether they currently manufacture plant-based products or not. Brands currently manufacturing plant-based products can highlight the plant-based features. Brands not currently in this space can reformulate with plant-based ingredients to differentiate their product. The plant-based space offers plenty of opportunities for everyone.
Chemgrit Food sources and supplies various ingredients including spices, flavours and colourants to the food and beverage industry industry. For information contact Chemgrit Food.