Unlocking the plant-based category – New product adjacencies

2020 appears to have accelerated already known trends. One of the most recognised surging trends is in plant-based powered foods. They seem to continue to command a large amount of interest from consumers.

The plant-based segment had seen steady growth over the past few years. Plant-based products are now shaping some of the biggest company portfolios in the food industry. It makes sense that established companies are getting on board with this plant movement. It has been sighted by UBS, that sales of plant-based protein and meat alternatives are projected to increase to a whopping $85 billion in 2030.

Consumers often consider plant-based products as healthier alternatives, with a study showing 52% of people who eat more plant-based food commented that they felt much healthier and cleaner. The pandemic has led to plant-based foods being more accessible in comparison to the supply chain & shortages slowdown of the meat product market.

“Developing nutritious and great-tasting plant-based meat and dairy alternatives requires access to tasty, nutritious and sustainable raw materials as well as proprietary manufacturing technology,” says Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer. “The partnership with Burcon and Merit will give us access to unique expertise and a new range of high-quality ingredients for plant-based food and beverages.”

In 2017, Danone’s strategic move towards plant-based food and drinks – with the acquisition of WhiteWave – came at the right moment to meet consumer expectations for healthier and sustainable choices. “It enables [Danone] to enrich [their] portfolio with consumer-loved brands and health-focused options, complementary to [their] dairy fermented products.”

Is your brand looking to unlock the lucrative plant-based category?

What are the advantages?

1) Plant-based diets are on rise.
2) The significant growth in plant-based alternatives represents a fantastic opportunity for manufacturers as mainstream and non-vegan consumers are choosing tasty, innovative, and nutritious plant-based options to add more variety to their diets.
3) A recent study by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found the production of plant-based meat alternatives to contribute 10x fewer greenhouse emissions than equivalent beef-based products.
4) Plant-based gets media attention which in turn could increase shelf attention and shelf demand for plant-based products

What are the disadvantages?

1) The taste, the texture and the variety of alternatives available remain a major barrier to the consumption of plant-based products for many meat eaters.
2) They still require many people to change their eating habits. Meat and dairy consumers remain the majority.
3) A plant-based diets can pose a risk of micronutrient deficiencies.

Which large global brands are looking at advancing their plant-based categories?

Asda introduced 48 new plant-based products to its shelves during Veganuary 2020, including a vegan Katsu curry, which exceeded sales expectations by 92%.
Marks & Spencer's No Chicken Kiev was so popular that the company sold four per minute in January 2020.
When KFC introduced its Quorn Chicken Burger, it sold one million patties in its first month alone.
Sainsbury's vegan cheese exceeded sales expectations by 300% when it was introduced in 2017.

If you are considering exploring the plant protein or plant-based territory to broaden your current product portfolio, then KICR Innovation can help to ensure you unlock this lucrative space for your brand. KICR can deliver through fast track ideation, in kitchen prototyping with consumer co-creation. The team can provide a consumer validated minimal viable plant based prototype within 5 weeks.

Why not join one of our KICR Innovation Clinic session to discuss your plant-based category challenges & opportunities?