Whether inspired by environmental or health considerations, consumers are demanding more plant-based options across the food industry. With more than 1 in 5 Americans identifying as flexitarian1, the term “plant-based” is no longer novel as it is constantly evolving in its interpretation, accessibility and innovative effect on the food industry.
The plant revolution has seen consumers embrace plants for their unique, natural flavours, nutritional benefits and lower environmental impact. This surge in demand for fruits, veggies, and legumes alike is driving advances in food technology and the introduction—and acceptance—of mainstream meat analogs, that were once only intended to serve vegan and vegetarian consumers.
This begs the question: What are you doing to address the plant-based demands of your consumers?
Whether plant-based is at the core of your business or you’re simply keen to explore this growing market opportunity, tread carefully—consumers have high expectations.
4 key factors to consider when developing new, crave-worthy plant products:
Whether it’s the creamy texture of oat milk or the flaky dough of a vegan croissant, consumers expect the same texture they’re accustomed to when they opt for a plant alternative. Consider how ingredients—like vital wheat gluten and hydrocolloids—can help you achieve desired textures in your meat alternatives and dairy-free beverages, respectively.
Looking for guidance? Let’s talk texture.
Consumer perception is that plant-based foods are healthier than their animal-derived counterparts.
Herein lies the challenge—especially for manufacturers of meat analogs where the inherent appeal of meats is often their naturally rich flavours. As a manufacturer, the goal is to offer nutrient-dense options to accommodate consumer perception, without compromising flavour.
Deliver on demand for healthy options. Let’s talk nutrients.
Taste is king. As more people selectively restrict consumption of animal products, it’s important that the plant-based alternatives they choose maintain their flavourful appeal. With advancements in food technology and a wide variety of ingredients, there are limitless ingredient solutions to develop crave-worthy products with market appeal.
There’s no excuse for bland foods. Let’s talk flavour.
People eat with their eyes. Creating visually appealing plant-based foods that emote feelings of familiarity is crucial to encourage a consumer to opt for the plant-based option—and keep them coming back. For example, innovative brands are adding ingredients—like beet root powder—to meat analogs to mimic the juices released when cooking meat products.
Stay Curious. Stay Relevant.
Consumer demand for plant-based options is undeniable. As manufacturers, it’s up to you to embrace the opportunity and develop delicious products that maintain market share—even when the novelty wears off.
Contact Blendtek for support with your plant-based product development initiatives.
Let’s green it up, together.