Flexitarian and cell-cultured movements advance plant-based eating, says Innova Market Insights
07 Oct 2021 --- The undeniable rise of plant-based eating has been charted in Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for several years. This year, the market researcher’s “Plant-Forward” trend has signaled the progressive nature of the movement as it pushes into the mainstream and expands into new categories and regions.
Innova Market Insights’ consumer research highlights a need for choice and multiple product positionings as “there is no single definition of a plant-based customer,” it states.
Instead, the category is drawing almost equal attention from health champions, eco-warriors and ethical shoppers. Although vegetarianism and veganism continue to attract fresh supporters, the flexitarian movement is growing faster.
New ways of eating
Research shows that 60% of global households now eat meat-free meals at least once a week, many enticed by the variety it brings to their diet, says the market researcher.
New product development also demonstrates the segmentation of plant-based eating.
“Plant-based descriptors are now being carried by many diverse products, well beyond the core meat- and dairy-alternative categories,” reports Lu Ann Williams, global insights director at Innova Market Insights.
“The Innova Database shows particularly good growth for plant-based claims in categories such as sauces and dressings, prepared meals, spreads and snacks.”
The need for product variety and diverse positionings is also shaking up choice in ingredients.
There is a growing interest in more sustainable protein crops, such as legumes and marine plants. At the same time, advanced fermentation technology allows protein production from such unlikely sources as yeast, wood and even the air itself.
In the US, Air Protein says it has mixed CO2, oxygen and nitrogen with water and minerals to create a nutrient-rich flour with the same amino acid profile as animal protein.
The cultured meat boom
Investment is also helping to advance technologies for cultured meat production, believed by many to be the future of meat supply.
Recent examples include Eat Just’s Good Meat division securing US$97 million in its latest funding, fueling the acceleration of R&D for high-quality, real meat made directly from animal cells. Analysts predict it could become a US$25 billion global industry by 2030.
Last month, Givaudan, Bühler and Migros Industrie joined forces to accelerate new cell-based meat products’ development and market penetration.
Meanwhile, cultured seafood as players race to lower production costs.
According to Innova Market Insights, although cultured meat can compete with plant-based products on environmental benefits, it will still fall short with health-conscious customers.
This is a further indication of the need for variety and choice to maximize the potential of the plant-based revolution.
The market researcher has been unraveling its extensive knowledge of plant-based alternatives and other trends driving health and nutrition to Vitafoods Europe in Geneva this week.
Nicole Jansen, insights and innovation team manager, has hosted a presentation at Vitafoods on Functional Nutrition: Health now and in the future.
You can view the online event here (October 4 to 8).
Edited by Elizabeth Green
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