52% of consumers claim to be eating more plant-based foods, while 63 percent say they are increasing their use of plant-based foods, according to a HealthFocus International study. In 2018, sales of plant-based meats grew 24 percent compared to just 6% percent in 2017, according to Nielsen. And 42 percent said if options are available, they prefer to include more plant-based foods in their diet. The main health benefits people cited were heart health (63%), illness prevention (60%) longevity (59%) and strong bones (54%). A 2019 MotiveQuest analysis of three million internet conversations focused on plant-based eating found taste and texture concerns discussed as hurdles to eating meat alternatives. People often commented that textures were too dry and crumbly instead of juicy and chewy. Another recurring theme was consumers seeking more variety or options in the meat alternative space.
Lightbulb Moment: The good news is there is only one way to go … up. For now, consumers are willing to forgive taste and texture weaknesses due to the perceived benefits plant proteins offer. However, this won’t last forever. Taste and texture will override brand loyalty as well.