Blog Description

How are Brands Capitalizing on the Rising Trend of Plant-based Eating?

Plant-based Eating

Consumer Goods and Retail | Mar, 2023

The vegan diet trend is on the rise as people over the world are embracing plant-based foods with open arms. Currently, 1.1% of the world population (nearly 88 million) identify as vegans and the number is expected to grow significantly in the next few years. By 2031, the prediction is that one in ten people will be vegan. Vegan diet eliminates the intake of animal-based products such as dairy, honey, meat, etc., which is environmentally sustainable.

According to a study, if the world’s population start following vegan diet, the greenhouse gases could be reduced by 70% by 2050. Since vegan diet is healthier, eating a well-balanced vegan diet minimizes the health risks associated with a poor diet high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Growing awareness towards environment, rising health consciousness, and increased sensitivity towards meat-eating are the main drivers for the rapid popularity and adoption of plant-based diet.

The global plant-based food market is projected to reach USD77.8 billion by 2025 and by 2030, the market will have more than doubled. Consumers who are not fully vegans are becoming more inclined towards plant-based diet culture due to greater availability of food options and enhanced accessibility. More than half of US plant-based protein consumers are adding vegan food options to their diet for health and environmental benefits.

Recent innovation in products that provide similar taste and texture of traditional meat and dairy products has been a game-changer for vegan brands. High uptake of vegan burgers are leading to an increased uptake of food products from brands such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Plant-based milk products made from oat, nut, soy can now be found at commonplaces, global chains or local coffee shops. According to predictions, switching to plant-based milk can push the dairy-free alternatives market to reach a value of more than USD61 billion by 2029.

Here are the five trends that vegan brands are capitalizing upon to boost sales and drive revenue.

Vegan Cheese Category to Explode

Cheese, made essentially from animal-based milk, is staple across many dishes. The rich taste and texture of cheese is cherished by people across the world. Many people are not able to adapt plant-based diet as they find it hard to leave cheese. Earlier, vegan cheesemakers were not able to come remotely close to creating products that mimic real cheese. However, emergence of new varieties of cheeses with enhanced taste and better texture are expected to change the sentiments of consumers towards vegan cheese.

The dairy-free cheese revolution pushed innovators to create high-quality products that deliver on the nutrition, texture, and flavour. Vegan cheese innovators are starting to develop cashew, almond, oat-based formulations, fortified with protein, calcium, vitamin D, probiotics, etc. The rising incidence of lactose intolerance and health benefits associated with vegan cheese are also driving the demand for vegan cheese. Moreover, vegan cheese not only mimic dairy replacements but also over the challenge of melting. However, these are versatile enough to be used in foods such as pizza since they achieve ‘meltability’ adopting similar techniques as used in the creation of dairy cheeses.

Vegan Seafood on the Rise

Major vegan brands are targeting meat consumers by filling the supermarket shelves with plant-based burgers, meatballs, chicken nuggets, etc. Now the next big thing on the horizon is faux seafood! The demand for seafood alternatives such as plant-based tuna, salmon, caviar, crab, shrimp, etc. has been increasing rapidly. Over the years, 3D food printing has proven to be ideal for innovators to create products that are homogenous and have appropriate physical and chemical properties. A fine syringe nozzle is used to extrude a protein solution used as “ink” layer by layer. Another technique called electrospinning is being employed for plant-based seafood processes wherein the protein solution is electrically accelerated and structured into nanofibers using high voltage. Creating nano-sized protein fibres, the technology is better able to imitate the texture of fish meat.

Good Catch has launched Tuna by using a magic formula that includes a blend of six legumes such as peas, chickpeas, soy, fava beans, soy, and navy beans. The combination of lentils create the flaky textures of fish while recreating the structure and texture of Tuna. Other companies such as New Wave Foods and BeLeaf have also introduced plant-based shrimp alternatives that are composed of seaweed, soy protein, and other natural flavours.

Rising Number of Out-of-Home Options

Following veganism is not difficult anymore for people who love to go out and eat a fully curated vegan meal. Many fine-dining restaurants are incorporating vegan food meals and protein-rich beverages made of dairy free milk. Quick-service restaurants and global food chains are also offering vegan burgers, pizzas, and coffee to accommodate vegan consumers while maintaining the taste and flavours. Restaurants not having vegan menu are witnessing declining sales while certain restaurants that are completely providing vegan food dishes are finding success.

Many low- and non-alcoholic beverages are emerging, many of which are vegan. The vegan alcohol-free booze beverages market is expected to reach approx. 69 billion by 2030. Many top beer brands such as Budweiser, Heineken, Stell Artois, Bud Light, Corona, Cass and Guinness sell products that are not vegan, but their signature products are vegan-friendly.

Increasing Number of Vegan Snacks

As consumers are taking a proactive approach to their holistic well-being, vegan convenience snacks and healthy food-to-go items are gaining momentum. Consumers are turning to plant-based, whole-food ingredients such as ancient grains, beans, nuts and seeds, for nutritional benefits. Some snacks such as puffed pea crisps, multigrain crackers and nutritional bars with low sugar, high protein and healthy fats are appealing to conscious consumers of all ages. Rising demand for confectionary chocolates due to their low fat and cholesterol content is further accelerating segment growth. The vegan bakery segment is expected to hold a significant share in the global vegan snacks market due to significant demand for cookies, pretzels, pastries, cakes, and others. Consumers can easily find functional beverages on aisles made from dairy-free milk such as canned oat milk lattes, Flavoured vegan buttermilk, flavoured fruit smoothies, etc. Major chocolate brands such as Cadbury, Lindt, Nestle, Hershey’s are introducing vegan products, seeing the rise of plant-powered indulgence.

Vegan Eggs Takes the Spotlight

Increasing consciousness towards consumption of protein-based foods for health and rising awareness towards animal welfare are making vegan eggs a hit. Vegan eggs are made from ingredients such as lentil, lupine, soya extracts, legumes, peas, chickpeas, and other plant sources. Proteins from pulses offer egg-like functionalities such as gelling, emulsification, and foaming. The vegan egg boasts a similar nutrition profile to eggs are serve as perfect substitute for people who want to increase protein intake but refrain from animal sourced foods. These eggs are mainly employed in bakery products for making desserts and other confectionary products. North America accounts for 48% of the global vegan egg market, followed by Europe. The sales of vegan eggs accounts for USD476.6 million in 2021, owing to the surge in vegan population in the region. However, the high cost associated with plant-based eggs is one of the major limiting factors for the growth of global vegan eggs industry. Use of algal flour and algal protein might create opportunities for the growth of global vegan eggs market.

According to TechSci Research report on “Vegan Food Market – Global Industry Size, Share, Trends, Opportunity, and Forecast, 2018-2028F, Segmented By Product Type (Dairy Alternative, Meat Substitute, Vegan Bakery, Vegan Confectionery, Others (include Egg Alternative, Plant-Based Snacks etc.)), By Source (Wheat, Soy, Oats, Almond, Nuts, Others (include Pulses, Quinoa, Brown & Wild Rice, etc.)), By Distribution Channel (Hypermarkets/Supermarkets, Convenience Stores, Specialty Stores, Online, Others (include direct sales, Distributor sales, etc.)), By Region, Competition”, the global vegan food market is projected to grow at a formidable rate during the forecast period. The market growth can be attributed to the rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions and growing popularity of plant-based products. Besides, surging number of vegan restaurants and food chains as well as rising awareness towards the negative effects of meat consumption on the environment are boosting the growth of global vegan food market.