Nielsen reported that 15% of all food and beverage sales come from products that meet a plant-based diet. Products that contain a plant protein base are particularly hot with spelt, lentil, and seitan generating annual sales of $620m for the 52 weeks ending May 25, 2019. Yet 39% of products that meet a plant-based diet do not specify being clean, simple, sustainable or free from artificial ingredients on product labels. Plant-based meat alternatives brands have the challenge of overcoming the processed nature of their products which can contain as many as 15 to 20 ingredients. In the same way margarine (down -22.5% in annual sales), sucralose (-2.6%) and soy milk (-11.4%) have had to fight for their keep as ‘alternatives,’ the space for meat substitutes is ripe with opportunity but poised for scrutiny. Among Americans interested in the impact of livestock on climate change, 61% of those surveyed say they would reduce their meat consumption, 43% would replace meat-based protein with plant-based protein alternatives and 22% would become vegetarian or vegan in order to effect positive change.
Lightbulb Moment: What will be interesting to see in the plant protein space is which will consumers respond to more – their perceived sustainability or the fact that many products are highly processed with complex ingredients decks? Most of these products don’t offer both sustainability and simple, unprocessed ingredient decks. Are you in the plant-based space? Culinary Tides can help.