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Plant-based products and alternatives have been a top trend in the food and beverage industry for years, but recently plant-based products have shifted from mimicking animal products to becoming a canvas for innovation. LuAnn Williams of global market research company Innova Market Insights highlights key trends and opportunities for this promising segment.
According to research conducted across 11 countries, the main reason that consumers would consider plant-based products is the perception that they are healthier, followed by the benefits for the planet, the variety they can bring to a diet, and an alignment with personal values and beliefs. The biggest shift represented is the importance consumers place on sustainability and the health of the planet.
With health identified as the primary driver for consumers to engage with plant-based products, there are various approaches that can be taken. Inherent nutrition takes a less-is-more approach by focusing on minimal processing and natural ingredients, while enhanced nutrition appeals to 46% of consumers who value plant-based foods that mimick the nutritional value of meat or dairy products. An increasingly popular approach is superior nutrition which aims for even better nutritional value than animal products.
Health is Innova Market Insights’ top trend which they refer to as ‘A Shared Planet’. This trend applies the definition of health to both personal health and the health of the planet. Currently, 28% of consumers include environmental wellbeing when thinking about holistic health, a percentage that is predicted to increase particularly among younger consumers.
Equally important to understanding why people consume plant-based products is understanding why they do not. The number one reason consumers would not buy plant-based products is poor taste and texture, followed by products being expensive and overly processed, as well as a lack of understanding of the products themselves. To innovate within this space, it is important to be aware of these challenges and to communicate with, and educate, consumers.
Looking ahead, the plant-based market presents a lot of opportunities. There has been a 93% increase in plant-based food and beverage launches that feature a premium and indulgent claim, while upcycling continues to grow in popularity. Coupled with consumers becoming more open to new technologies in food production, the possibilities are endless. For further insight into the huge potential for innovation within the plant-based market, watch the full webinar with LuAnn Williams.