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‘Meatier’ plant-based meat
Veggie burgers have been around for years, often more of a “garden burger”, and it never really felt like you were eating meat. They gained a reputation for being ‘mushy’ with very little taste. Still, recent technological advances have allowed producers to use science to imitate the unique flavour, texture better and look of meat products. In blind taste tests, it’s becoming harder to tell the difference between them.
Veggie products with ‘nutritional parity.’
Much plant-based consumption is by the flexitarians, who choose to go meat-free for one day or one meal. Meat consistently is recognised as a great source of protein, and those choosing to “flex” now seek out veggie alternatives with high protein. And companies are responding by tinkering with the nutritional content, hopefully making for a healthier meal.
“Clean label” and organic
The trend towards “clean” and organic eating has taken place alongside the growth of plant-based food. So-called “clean label” foods have fewer ingredients and simpler ones. As consumers – either looking out for their health, worker justice, or environmental sustainability – turn to these organic and whole food choices, companies are looking to pare down their ingredient lists and offer them more options.
It’s felt like this trend has been on the horizon forever and yet is still in its infancy. Imitating seafood might be one of the toughest challenges for plant-based companies and restaurants. Already there are several new entries into the plant-based tuna market and even vegan shrimps!
Expansion into every grocery aisle
Historically placed in a “special” aisle, you may now find plant-based alternatives in the supermarket’s meat, dairy, or natural aisles. Companies are now branching out and making more alternatives for on-the-go snacks and functional beverages like canned oat milk lattes.
Less separation between “regular” and Plant-based food categories
As demand grows, expect to see Plant-based options in every category and aisle. But as usual, we may see variances based upon where you shop. One area of growth is within the frozen category. It is seeing exponential growth with traditional brands tapping into the rich seam of consumer demand.
Maybe the title of this post is a little misleading. Plant-based foods are no longer a trend, they are fast becoming mainstream, and now consumers seem to be willing to adopt them without a second thought.