The latest news, views and insights in food trends
Content & Research, Tastewise
In July, 2020, we explored plant-based eating and drinking in our Plant-based Eating Report. Now, a full year into the pandemic, we’re digging in deeper: what has changed with the trend?
In our State of the Trend: Plant-Based Food & Beverage Report, we explore the ingredients, dishes, and motivations that are making waves in the plant-based space. Read on for a look at 5 insights into the plant-based trend (in both home cooking and restaurants!), then download the report for the full picture.
Occasions of home cooked plant-based dishes and ingredients are down -8% YoY, as is restaurant buzz; menu mentions of the category, however, are up 19%. This decrease in consumer interest in plant-based food & beverage, while negligible, is a clear change from the summer, and the continued increase in menu mentions is worth noting. So what exactly is actually going on with the plant-based trend?
The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased consumer preference for a healthy body to a healthy planet, a trend within the plant-based category that we saw begin to gain speed in 2019. Consumers in 43% of all plant-based eating and drinking occasions discuss the ingredient or dish’s health qualities, while only 10% focus on animal rights. Plant-based food & beverage offer people the opportunity to “get to know” the powerhouse ingredients they are consuming, including the functional and medicinal benefits therein. Plant-based trends ride the wave of “armchair health experts” we’re seeing among the general public, which significantly outpaces interest in sustainability. While sustainability is rebounding slightly in consumer interest, health claims remain top of mind for consumers - keep this in mind for your packaging design.
Plant based seafood is a prime example of consumer interest in healthy, plant-based ingredients. Current interest in plant-based seafood is general; ingredients like “fish” and “crab” are the most established, but the most popular ingredients (ie. the one’s growing the fastest) are specific and diverse: lox, cod, sole etc. Consumers are looking for plant-based replacements of their favorite fish and seafood; consider precise marketing language and new NPD that focuses on these trending categories.
With the prolonged experience of COVID-19, consumers are continuing to turn to food & beverage for immunity and comfort needs. Interest in comforting food & beverage is up 34% YoY, while interest in immunity-system-boosting food & beverage is up 37%. Consumers at this stage of the pandemic know what they want and where to get it - use clear marketing language to address their specific needs.
People don’t just want plant-based snacks -- they want plant-based snacks to go to work for them. Today’s consumers are aware of a constellation of health motivations: dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and so many more diets provide health benefits, and increasingly work in tandem. Plant-based and gluten-free snacks are growing 13% YoY, showing a clear consumer interest in powerhouse snacks that address multiple health goals. When creating new snack products, think about creating snacks that pack this 1-2 punch of nutritional claims.
Interested in learning more about the plant-based trend in spring, 2021?