Dairy and meat plant-based alternatives are forecast to grow through 2024, according to the NPD Group. This trend is driven by Millennials and Gen Zs, who choose these products for health, sustainability and animal welfare reasons.

The demand for plant-based foods didn’t lessen during the COVID-19 pandemic. About one in five adults say they want more plant-based foods in their diets, and that number remained steady throughout 2020, despite many consumers turning to comfort or more familiar foods.

“As consumers continue to prepare more meals in the home and younger generations cook more, plant-based foods and ingredients will be a part of their repertoire,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food industry analyst and co-author of the study ‘The Future of Plant-based Snapshot: The Evolution of Plant-based Continues’. “In addition to providing a variety of plant-based foods and ingredients, food manufacturers should also focus efforts on Millennials and Gen Zs since they will be driving the category’s growth. Their concerns for sustainability and animal welfare should also be taken into account when messaging to them.”

“Plant-based is no longer just a niche player in the foodservice market. It’s a mainstream ingredient that appeals to a broad section of consumers,” says Tim Fires, president of NPD’s SupplyTrack service.