The appeal of plant-based eating has expanded, including a larger consumer market who are opting for a flexitarian diet both at home and on-the-go. While early adopters of plant-based alternatives may have been less critical of the product’s taste and texture, today the consumer base has significantly grown. With that movement has come the expectation of superior products. Consequently, there is an enhanced demand for new plant-based formats, plant proteins and more sophisticated alternatives.
- Global retail sales of plant-based food alternatives may reach $162 billion by 2030. Up from $29.4 billion in 2020, comprising 7.7 per cent of the global protein market according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s (BI) report “Plant-Based Foods Poised for Explosive Growth”.
- If sales and penetration for meat and dairy alternatives continue to grow, the BI analysis suggests these alternatives could even obtain 5 per cent and 10 per cent of their respective global market shares in the next decade.
- Innova Market Insights comprehensive consumer research highlights a need for choice and multiple product positioning as there is no single definition of a plant-based consumer. Instead, the sector is drawing almost equal attention from eco-warriors, ethical shopper and health champions. The 2020 research shows that 60 per cent of global households now eat meat-free meals at least once a week, enticed by the variety it brings to their diet.
Across the globe there is a growing interest in sourcing more sustainable plant proteins, including pulses. At the same time, the production of plant proteins has become more common over the past decade due to new and more efficient technologies. Let’s explore five leading plant proteins including three pulse proteins that are growing in popularity.
After years of use in food products, soy is still prevalent among plant-based product developers globally. Its complete protein status sets it apart from other plant proteins. In addition to nutrition, soy’s attributes include valued viscosity properties and texture enhancement.
Peas are another versatile pulse crop and protein option with high solubility, no-allergy concerns for labelling and good viscosity. According to 2020 Mintel data, pea protein product launches doubled from 2015 to 2020.
Faba is a pulse ingredient with exciting innovative functionality and can be used in various applications. Its clean taste, light colour, high solubility and well-rounded nutrition profile makes it popular choice across many categories.
Canola is an expanding plant protein. Its high solubility and low viscosity provide the functional attributes of gelling, thickening and binding. It also offers a neutral taste profile.
Red and yellow lentils
Red and yellow lentils are the newest pulse protein in the manufacturing landscape. Recently, they received GRAS status for use in FDA-regulated conventional foods and beverages. Stay tuned for more updates on this latest plant protein.
The global market for plant-based foods could see fivefold growth by 2030 helped by rising demand for sustainable products, according to the BI report. The expansion of plant proteins and plant-based product options in the sector is contributing to plant alternatives becoming a longstanding choice for consumers worldwide.
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Bloomberg Intelligence (BI) Report “Plant-Based Foods Poised for Explosive Growth”. August 2021.
Cited March 2022 https://www.bloomberg.com/company/press/plant-based-foods-market-to-hit-162-billion-in-next-decade-projects-bloomberg-intelligence/
Innova Market Insights. Plant-Forward: Evolving consumer demands drive innovation in plant-based eating. September 2021.
Cited March 2022 https://www.innovamarketinsights.com/press-release/plant-forward-evolving-consumer-demands-drive-innovation-in-plant-based-eating
Mintel Research Data. Trending ingredients to watch: Peas. July 2021.
Cited March 2022 https://www.mintel.com/blog/food-market-news/trending-ingredients-to-watch-pea