Milkless Milk and Meatless Meat – Plant-Based Protein Products Shine

The food and beverage industry is in the midst of an “alternate product development” revolution, and plant-based proteins are at the forefront of it. These days, plant-based food and beverage products are no longer considered as a “trend”, but a full-blown movement, as more and more mainstream consumers are opting to consume such products for health, dietary and environmental reasons. Due to the proliferation of plant-based products in the marketplace, the industry is expected to witness a continuous momentum from ingredient manufacturers, suppliers and FMCG companies on the inclusion of plant-based ingredients, with a particular focus on delivering the taste, texture, appearance and nutrition in the innovative products similar to that of the conventional ones.

Food ingredient manufacturers in the nutritional protein ingredients industry are not only moving from the traditional meat and fish protein hydrolysates to plant-based proteins but are also coming up with innovative and tailor-made solutions designed to suit customer preferences in this area. A large number of customers are shifting to vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free products. Suppliers have to cater to these demands, apart from providing a variety of flavor choices in each protein segment. However, rising demand for plant-based products has ensured a plethora of opportunities for protein manufacturers. But the focus is on two major segments: milk alternative beverages, and meat analogues.

Plant-Based Products to be the Most Prominent and Upcoming Market

Plant-based food sales jumped 11% in the past year, reaching a total market value of $4.5 billion, according to figures released by The Good Food Institute and the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA). Another interesting fact from this report is that the US retail sales of plant-based foods grew five times more than total food sales. Recent plant-based product launches are playing into this growth and are likely to stretch it even more. “This is just the beginning of a massive growth period for plant-based foods,” said Caroline Bushnell, associate director of corporate engagement for The Good Food Institute. “Consumer appetite for plant-based foods is surging as consumers increasingly make the switch to foods that match their changing values and desire for more sustainable options. This growth will continue as more companies bring next-generation innovations to market that really deliver on the most important driver of consumer choice: taste.”

Ingredient manufacturers are seeking out points of differentiation to stand out, in what is becoming a crowded marketplace. Among the ingredients, alternative plant proteins such as pea and wheat proteins are popping up in a wide variety of dairy and meat alternative products. Canola and algae proteins are also visible on the growth horizon.

The future of sustainable foods is with plant-based products and the key to future growth is the higher acceptance rates and consumer demands. Consumers want to reduce, not eliminate, the number of animal proteins we consume. They are pro-protein, they just don’t want to have more meat or more milk to achieve these goals.

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Authors:
Ravneet Kaur, Associate Consultant
Sreedevi K, Associate Consultant

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