As plant-based food continues to make inroads, industry observers expect the category to become a larger part of our diet in the years to come.
WHO IS EATING PLANT-BASED?
Presenter Darren Seifer of The NPD Group noted that 19% of consumers say they want to get more plant-based food in their diets – pandemic or not.
“Consumers actually still saw it as a way to continue to do the things they were doing,” said Seifer. “Not to mention there were some supply shortages in the traditional meat markets at the beginning of the pandemic, so it filled a gap that consumers were facing.”
Additionally, the majority of those eating plant-based foods are still eating animal-based products. Eighty-nine percent of plant-based users do not consider themselves vegan or vegetarian.
In fact, Seifer added that the number of vegans and vegetarians has not changed since the introduction of plant-based proteins.
When it comes to demographics, presenter Nik Modi of RBC Capital Markets emphasized that age is an important structural driver. “The younger generation is eco conscious, but the older generation is more health conscious,” he said, noting that people are beginning to place a premium on what is going into their bodies.
THE IMPORTANCE OF VARIETY
Unsurprisingly, plant-based burgers are still dominating the market, with in-home options having more variety than restaurants.
Here’s a look into the top alternatives consumers are consuming at home:
- Burger alternatives: 39%
- Sausage alternatives: 12%
- Tofu/tempeh: 11%
WHAT’S NEXT FOR PLANT-BASED
Both meat and dairy alternatives are expected to grow, according to Seifer. However, though dairy alternatives will remain a larger category, meat alternatives will see a higher growth rate.
The plant-based chicken category is also expected to grow in the future. “If some of these alternatives to chicken can capture even just a sliver of what’s out there from the traditional market, perhaps the alternative chickens might rival alternative beefs,” said Seifer.