Eight in 10 U.S. consumers have changed their own or their family’s diets to try to be healthier, with over 39% of them increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, according to the 2018 Consumer Lifestyles Survey, conducted by Innova Market Insights, The Netherlands.
Interest in plant-based nutrition shows no signs of slowing down, with “The Plant Kingdom” being one of the top trends for 2019.
“Although vegan numbers are rising globally, this has not been the key factor in the growing interest in plant-based eating,” says Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation. “Rather it is the well-documented boom in the popularity of flexitarian diets that is fueling the mainstreaming of vegan products and the use of vegan-friendly certification.”
The appeal of plant-based alternatives has widened far beyond the relatively small group of people who avoid animal products for ethical reasons, to the much larger group of people looking for healthier, cleaner foods. As a result, vegan labeling and certification schemes are now increasingly common in the mainstream food and beverage market across a whole range of product sectors. In fact, nearly 6% of global food and beverage launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in the 12 months to the end of September used vegan-friendly positionings, up from just 1.4% five years previously.
Even in the U.S. market, shares has more than doubled from 3.4% to 8% over the same period, while in the UK it is up from less than 5% to a substantial 13.5%.
The broadening interest in plant-based diets has also resulted in meat alternatives moving beyond their original vegetarian and vegan domain to encompass a much broader base of flexitarians. For instance, meat substitutes accounted for 14% of global meat launches in the first nine months of 2018, up from 6% in 2013.
The dairy alternatives market has also been a beneficiary of the interest in plant-based diets, with the growing availability and promotion of plant-based options to traditional lines, especially dairy beverages, but also cultured products such as yogurt, frozen desserts, ice cream, creamers and cheese.
In the move to offer something new, Innova Market Insights also reported seeing an increasing variety of non-soy, plant-based ingredients for beverages, including cereals such as rice, oats and barley and nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts and macadamias, as well as coconut and more unusual options such as lupin, hemp and flaxseed.
“Plant-based innovation is flourishing, with health, sustainability and ethics making plant-derived products and ingredients increasingly popular,” says Williams.
Innova Market Insights data indicates that plant-based claims rose 62% globally (CAGR 2013-2017), with further growth to come in areas such as plant proteins, active botanicals, sweeteners, herbs and seasonings and coloring foodstuffs.