Where’s the beef? Was the tagline made famous by Wendy’s back in the day. In an era of transparency consumers are looking at labels and asking for products with protein not just beef according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Millennials continue to seek food discovery and greater innovation is taking place with plant based protein’s and the industry is marketing them as NOT just for vegetarians and vegans anymore.
“Growing consumer interest in health, sustainability and ethics is propelling plant-derived ingredients and products into high popularity, according to Innova Market Insights. Gravitation toward plant-based diets in general, along with interest in vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian lifestyles and concerns over animal welfare, are contributing factors.”
Four in 10 U.S. consumers increased their consumption of meat substitutes/alternatives during 2017, according to The NPD Group. And plant-based dairy alternatives are expected to comprise 40 percent of the total dairy/dairy alternatives market by 2021, reports market research firm Packaged Facts.
David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts stated “Vegetarians and vegans together account for less than 15 percent of all consumers and their numbers do not grow very rapidly, but a growing number of consumers identify themselves as flexitarian and lessitarian, meaning they’ve cut back on their consumption of animal-based foods and beverages,” “It is this group that is most responsible for the significant and ongoing shift from dairy milk to plant-based milk.”
Battle for Share of Stomach
In-home consumption of plant-based proteins has grown by 24 percent since 2015, according to NPD. The heaviest users of plant-based foods are more convenience-oriented than others, the global information company found.
“The plant-based foods industry has gone from being a relatively niche market to fully mainstream,” said Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), which represents plant-based food companies.
2018 marked the second year that PBFA released Nielsen retail sales data. In July, the trade association that represents 114 of the nation’s leading plant-based food companies released new data showing robust sales in the plant-based foods industry, with dollar sales growth of 20 percent over the last year and sales now topping $3.3 billion. Comparatively, overall food sales growth is around just 2 percent.
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