Is the rapid rise of plant-based foods a fad or a long-term trend? That’s the question NPD Group hoped to answer in a recent report. In The Future of Plant-based Snapshot, the market research company explores the consumers, behaviors, and motivations connected to the plant-based foods influx, uncovering the ways U.S. consumers source and consume meat and dairy alternatives.
What it found was that plant-based foods, to varying degrees, do have staying power. This can be mainly attributed to their popularity among younger consumers. Millennials are the top consumers of plant-based meat alternatives and have adopted them into their diets for health, sustainability, and animal welfare concerns.
The study goes on to say that plant-based food consumption is not about rejecting traditional protein sources, as about 90 percent of plant-based users are neither vegetarian nor vegan. They simply want more options, which has resulted in them being added to menus all over the country.
“First and foremost taste is king when considering entering the plant-based foods category,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Attributes such as health and convenience go far to drive consumption, but if the flavor profile falls below consumers’ expectations, then the product will likely have a short run. Whether it’s marketing a plant-based burger that reproduces the meat-eating experience or a dairy alternative that has the taste and texture of milk, consumers now have substitution without sacrifice.”