The health and wellness trend is fueling product innovation on plant-based food and drink alternatives on a global level. Based on the growing health consciousness of consumers and changing lifestyle habits, they increasingly avoid animal ingredients on a daily basis.
Providing flexible alternatives to traditional animal products such as dairy, meat and fish has become increasingly important across many product categories, with launches having accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Plant-based diets have evolved beyond traditional vegetarian and vegan consumers and are moving into mainstream. Hence, flexitarian consumer groups and younger consumers are key drivers for this megatrend.
Motivations for plant-based diets include:
- Health & wellness aspirations
- Environmental concerns & sustainability
- Food safety & animal welfare
- Novelty and multi-facetted choice
Plant-based revolution is driving market innovation
The industry is still at an early stage, yet grows fast and and presents a huge opportunity for tapping into new segments and areas to gain market share and win consumer trust in the long-term. As consumers want to be presented with a choice of food varieties, eating occasions and innovation, product development evolves fast beyond the niche categories. With a plant-based claim highly appealing to today’s consumers, plant-based products and ranges can help them to do good for both, their health and the planet.
Taste remains a major challenge
68% of consumers agree, that the taste of a plant-based product is crucial. Yet, plant-based proteins often create unwanted off-notes or missing sensory attributes, making them less appealing for consumers. Within the meat and fish substitutes, for example, mimicking the classic taste profiles of their animal-based counterparts is highly appreciated by consumers. Dairy alternatives, on the other hand, are usually linked to a creamy and milky texture and taste profile. Adding a popular flavour variety such as blueberry or mango can also be key in creating a product consumers enjoy on a daily base.
However, creating plant-based products can be challenging. Some proteins create bitter, or beany off-tastes or a lack of specific organoleptic characteristics. Depending on the protein source and formulation, masking properties and effective natural flavour solutions are essential in creating well-rounded market products consumers will love. Within our PLANT FUTURE platform, we therefore combine our expertise in flavour creation with a comprehensive understanding of the sensory effects of plant-based proteins – helping you to overcome challenges in product development from the very beginning.
For more information, visit www.bell-europe.com