Why is the plant-based food category so popular?

The plant-based sector is one of the fastest-growing within the food industry. With a surge in demand for plant based protein, there appears to be more plant-based products being consumed at home. This appears to be an obvious impact of the lockdown with the accelerating trend spreading to all Western countries in recent years. But why is it so popular?

It is important to notice that vegans aren’t the only consumers of plant based produce. In fact, 55% of UK consumers claim that they are “considering or actively reducing their meat intake,” according to IGD ShopperVista. A recent research by Mintel says that multiple factors are driving the growth of plant-based eating: concern for the environment, health and wellness, ethics, and diversity in protein sourcing.

Regarding the environment, a recent study by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found the production of plant-based meat alternatives to contribute ten times fewer greenhouse emissions than equivalent beef-based products. Moreover, technology advances permitted plant-based alternatives, such as soy, peas and nuts, to taste like meat or dairy-based products, whilst being far more sustainable.

The production of plant-based alternatives contribute ten times fewer greenhouse emissions.

It appears consumers are increasingly prioritising their health and wellbeing due to the pandemic. According to Sainsbury’s Future of Food report, vegans and vegetarians could represent a quarter of the British population and flexitarians just under half of all UK consumers by 2025. Brands can appeal to both vegans and non-vegans by placing emphasis on the ‘free-from’ attributes of vegan food and drink products in order to relay a wider health and wellness message, as highlighted by Mintel.

A recent report by BIS research estimated that the plant-based market will reach $480.43 billion by 2024.This is why many brands all over the globe identified the opportunity and started to unlock new adjacencies or looked to renovate their current portfolio with plant-based produce.

New products are commercialised every day and it is hard to keep up but here’s some of Cubo’s favorite plant-based products.

1) Gosh! Snack bites, ideal go-to snack The snack bites are baked with sweet potato, sweetcorn and black beans, with a balanced blend of herbs and spices. They are ready to eat straight from the pack.
2) Heck meat free chipolata for lunch or dinner These veggie chipolatas are soya free and gluten free. They are made with pea protein and cumberland seasoning. They are high in fibre and protein.
3) Bonsan organic kofu fish free tofuna Made from kombucha cultured tofu, perfect addition to salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes and more.
4) Chilli No.5 Sriracha Cha-Cha-Cha hot sauce In a sustainable bottle, the sauce is made of superfoods and natural vegan ingredients. It is great as a pizza hot sauce.
5) Oatly Vegan Ice Cream Oatly only uses plant-based fully-hydrogenated fat and among the 6 different ice cream flavors, here is the caramel ice cream with salty caramel sauce and candied hazelnuts.

Why not join one of our KICR Innovation Clinic session to discuss your plant-based category challenges & opportunities? Speak to our leading innovation consultants to discuss your product development roadmap.