07 Jan The growing trend of meat and dairy analogues
Reduced-meat consumption diets are now the most popular daily diet in the world. The fastest growing lifestyle movement behind this is veganism. It is driving many consumers to choose a plant-based, animal-free diet at least some of the time. Thus, consumers are willing to limit their meat and dairy products intakes, but not at any cost.
Meat and dairy analogues emerging
A huge range of products are emerging to meet the demand for foods that respond to these consumer needs. These products include meat and dairy analogues, alternative protein snacks, breakfast cereals, and even high protein ready meals.
In that respect, the average growth in alternative beverage and food products making the “plant-based” claim is rising 68 % every year.1
Health considerations in the purchasing decision
While plant-based diets continue to grow in popularity, many consumers are still looking for familiar, nutritious foods and beverages with which to craft their meals. Growing consumer awareness about the health benefits of protein and the drawbacks of meat are driving consumer interest in meat analogues.
These seemingly conflicting demands have led to estimates that the plant-based protein market size will reach US$ 35.54 billion in 2024 growing at a CAGR of 14 % between 2020-2024.
The consumers’ main concerns
Consumers cite various motivations for avoiding animal products. For instance they include human health and weight concerns, the ethics of animal consumption, environmental issues, the economic imperative to save money, and even the simple desire for new and exciting flavors.
“But while consumers are actively trying to eat more plant-based foods (and reduce their meat consumption), they are not willing to compromise on taste and texture. Indeed, customers’ expectations are skyrocketing. They want something special, and they want it now. And it should be as transparent and sustainable as possible.” – Nizo Food Research
The environmental impact of food products
Consumers frequenting the shelves of plant-based food in the grocery store are particularly scrupulous about the environmental impact of their food products. Manufacturers should carefully consider which ingredients they use, and how those ingredients are sourced when developing products.
Interestingly, 55% of U.S. consumers consider waste and pollution to be their biggest environmental concerns.2
An alternative without compromising on taste
There are some indications across the spectrum of alternative meat-eaters. Indeed, while some consumers are looking for an easy transition from animal protein to alternatives, others are looking for a completely different product with a unique flavor.
The research suggests that there’s real potential in two aspects. The products have the potential to surprise and delight and they are true-to-original meat and dairy analogues.
Whether you’re aiming to create a cheese imitator with the perfect texture that melts like real cheese to entice flexitarians; or a fresh, innovative product to excite vegetarians and vegans, the key is a protein-rich ingredient that will lack the troublesome off-notes that make many plant and animal proteins hard to ignore, giving you the essential blank slate needed to craft the food of tomorrow.
Consumers are looking to change their eating habits. They are looking for either a completely identical or a unique flavor, without any off-notes. Finally, the ingredients must not negatively impact on the planet. Many proteins are available on the market, but they do not all adhere to the various demands of today’s consumer.