The plant-based food trend has officially gone mainstream. Vegans, vegetarians and other shoppers with specific dietary needs blazed the trail, but now people from all walks of life are exploring not only the health, but social, moral and environmental benefits of eating a more plant-based diet. According to Nielsen research, 39% of U.S. consumers made it a priority to add more plant-based foods to their diets in 2017.
Cultural factors and health decisions are driving consumer behavior and retailers are responding. More and more mainstream stores are giving significant shelf space to plant-based food options offering everything from meat substitutes to beverages to yogurts to snacks. This means big opportunities for food manufacturers who are ready to meet demand with truly delicious products and innovative plant-based solutions. However, in the race to be plant-based, there are three key factors to keep in mind.
Taste Is Everything
Health considerations and moral principles are important, but the simple fact still remains. Consumers want food that tastes good. More than that, they want a deliciously enjoyable sensory experience they can share with family and friends. No one wants to eat something that looks and tastes like a rubbery hockey puck. A plant-based burger should look, feel and taste like a real burger.
In the area of taste, experience matters. At Brookside Flavors and Ingredients, many of our products have been utilizing plant-based ingredients for years, so we have the benefit of real world, hands-on expertise when it comes to developing new plant-based proteins and innovative flavors. There is a definite art and science to crafting the familiar flavor profiles and textures consumers expect from their favorite foods.
Sustainability Is Expected
This hot topic among food producers has become the expectation for consumers, especially when it comes to choices that are labeled natural, organic and even plant-based. Greater environmental awareness and more socially-conscious shopping practices are driving purchase decisions as consumers seek to better understand their food’s path from farm to fork.
Clean labels and sustainable sourcing are built into the Brookside DNA. Every plant-based product we develop is backed by our 100% guarantee, providing the transparency of responsibly sourced ingredients and processing practices consumers expect to find when making natural, “good for you” food choices. With plant-based shoppers, environmental health and wellness is just as important as their personal health and wellness.
Find the Right Partner
Plant-based is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean food suppliers have to bet the farm on this segment of consumers and products. Winning the plant-based race means running at your own pace and with the right partner. It’s no longer an all or nothing market. We believe familiar brands offering new plant-based options can have success with curious consumers who have yet to take the plant-based plunge.
At Brookside, we work with clients throughout the full product development cycle, from inspiration and development to testing and launch. With the right experience and a full range of plant-based solutions, we partner with brands to inspire and craft natural moments that everyone can enjoy.
Explore more of our plant-based solutions and visit us at the Plant-Based World Expo in New York City.