Plant-based has continued to feature in Innova Market Top trends since then, and now for 2021, Innova’s Plant-Forward trend is heralding the rising appeal of plant-based products in different regions and categories. This comes as consumers demand new formats, new plant proteins, and an extra level of sophistication.
The top four reasons for considering plant-based alternatives were health, variety, sustainability, and taste, but health was a clear leader, cited by 53% of respondents globally.
In the meantime, terminology has also moved on, with plant-based claims increasingly in evidence alongside more established vegetarian and vegan positionings. According to Innova Market Insights data, the use of plant-based claims for global food and beverage launches had a CAGR of 37% over the 2016-2020 period. This compares with 10% for vegan positionings and a marginal decline for the more mainstream and established vegetarian category. Research in 2020 also indicated that six in ten consumers preferred plant-based claims when buying alternatives to meat and/or dairy.
The use of more specific plant protein claims is also booming, as protein from plants is increasingly and more prominently presented as a key product feature and terms such as ‘plant power’ more commonly used.
Protein Blends, Alt-Plants Have Potential
The use of a wider range of plant proteins, including those such as fava bean and hemp, are by far the fastest growing proteins tracked in meat and dairy alternative launches globally over the 2017-2019 period. This is from smaller bases than the more established rice, bean, and potato proteins, which also saw ongoing, if more modest, growth over the period.
Also, looking forward, a variety of alternatives are expected to disrupt the segment still further using a wider variety of ingredients. For example, it’s been suggested that there are opportunities for plant and animal protein blends, mixing whey and vegetable protein in sports nutrition products, or dairy and plant milks for beverages, or meat and vegetable components for burgers. Innova’s consumer survey indicates that 36% of global consumers would prefer a mix of plant and animal products, while 25% would prefer 100% plant-based options.
“As consumers are powering up on plant protein, opportunities and challenges are attracting even more attention in the industry, particularly with regard to regional preferences and sustainability expectations,” Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights said. “Key challenges for plant-based tend to be similar to those for the food industry as a whole, including the provision of clean label and sustainable options, targeting ingredienets simplicity, the use of minimal processing, and optimization of taste and textural experiences.”
On April 14, at 10 a.m. EST/ 4 p.m. CET, Myrthe de Beukelaar, market analyst at Innova Market Insights, will discuss Innova’s projections based on 2020’s plant-based trends which will impact the industry over the coming year during a webinar, “Plant Proteins: an expanding opportunity.”
Mike Montemarano has been the Associate Editor of Nutraceuticals World since February 2020. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.