Petersburg, Fla.-based HealthFocus International, 60%
of consumers say they are cutting back on meat-based
eating, while 17% of those ages 15 to 70 say their diets
are predominantly plant-based. Of those who reported
cutting back on animal-based proteins, 55% say the
change is permanent, and 22% hope it is, HealthFocus
And the future looks bright: Gen Xers and millennials—two demographic groups vital to retailers now and
in the years to come—are fueling the move toward plant-based dining. “Millennials, in particular, have been a
driving force in this space where, according to Mintel,
an estimated 60% of those between 18 and 34 years of
age are trying to eat more plant-based proteins,” says
Chuck Muth, chief growth officer of Beyond Meat,
maker of The Beyond Burger.
Meat Leads the Way
Consumer demand for products in the plant-based protein category began to accelerate across the dairy and
meat categories in 2012, with plant-based meats really
taking off in the past year, Muth says.
“Sales of plant-based food in the U. S. went up by 8.1%
during the past year, topping $3.1 billion, according to
Nielsen,” says Muth, who points out that the refrigerated plant-based meat category—led by The Beyond
Burger—registered even more impressive numbers: In
the U. S., that category grew by 25%, Muth says.
“Overall global growth of plant-based meat substitutes is expected to register a compound annual growth
rate of 8.4% during the forecast period 2015-2020,
according to Allied Market Research,” he says.
And Innova Market Insights’ forecast shows the value
of the global meat substitutes market hitting $4.2 billion
Dairy Trending, Too
While plant-based meat alternatives get much of the
attention these days, the dairy alternatives market is
also growing, says Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation for Innova Market Insights.
Plant Based Foods
Association: A Resource
for Retailers and
The mission of the Plant Based
Foods Association (PBFA) is “to
promote the plant-based foods
industry by removing obstacles
to a fair and competitive
marketplace for alternatives
to animal ingredients and
products. PBFA is the only
organization taking a public health approach to
getting people to eat more plant-based foods. Public
health research shows that the key to better eating
is “changing the food environment,” which means not
just educating people about what they should eat but
also ensuring that great-tasting plant-based foods
are widely available, convenient and affordable.
Winsight Grocery Business reached out to
Executive Director Michele Simon to find out more
about the association and ways retailers can tap
into the trend of plant-based eating.
When did the Plant Based Foods Association
start, and how has it grown?
Michele Simon: The Plant Based Foods
Association (PBFA) was founded in 2016 with
22 founding members. In just two-plus years, the
association has grown to represent 112 plant-based
food companies, along with dozens of affiliate and
investor members. The growth of the association is
reflective of the explosion of consumer interest in
eating more plant-based foods.
What is driving the trend of plant-based foods?
A combination of two factors are driving the trend
for plant-based: one, an overall uptick in consumer
interest in healthier eating; and two, the increased
availability of innovative, great-tasting alternatives
to meat and dairy products. Gone are the days
when you had to sacrifice to cut down on meat and
dairy or had only a few options to choose from. For
example, for milk alternatives, you can choose from
plant-based milk made of soy, almond, cashew,
oats, rice, flaxseed and even bananas.
As for why consumers are turning away from
animal products toward plant-based options, the
main driver is health, while some consumers may
be motivated by environmental or animal welfare
concerns, and still others may be allergic to dairy.
But whatever the reason, what keeps a consumer
Gen Xers and millennials—two
demographic groups vital to retailers now
and in the years to come—are fueling the
move toward plant-based dining.