Plant-based food trends 2021

With more UK consumers opting to reduce or eliminate animal products from their diet, they are looking to their favourite brands to offer realistic and convenient plant-based substitutes.

The rise of plant-based meat replacements and alternative milk consumption has created new opportunities in the industry but also poses challenges for producers. To stay competitive, companies must adapt to this change by staying on top of trends and understanding how they will affect their product offerings. From meatless burgers and vegan cheese to protein powders from peas or hemp seeds, here are some of our thoughts about what consumers are looking for regarding plant-based options.

When it comes to plant-based alternatives, what are consumers looking for?

When most consumers hear plant-based food, they think vegan. But plant-based products are also suitable for those who are not necessarily vegan but are looking to reduce their consumption of animal products. As plant-based diets continue to grow in popularity, there will be a continued interest in plant-based alternatives that satisfy the taste and texture expectations of animal products.

1. Convenience

Maintaining a plant-based diet on the move can be challenging. Consumers that are new to a plant-based lifestyle may have found it easier to maintain while stuck indoors during the lockdown, but now people are getting out and about; they are looking for easily accessible and convenient plant-based products.

2. Taste

Plant-based options need to not only satisfy consumer preferences when it comes to texture and flavour but also the needs of those looking for innovative plant-based recipes. A reimagined take on traditional recipes like spaghetti carbonara or vegetarian curries is emerging, with more mainstream options for people who want to cut down their meat intake but still enjoy familiar flavours.

3. Good for you

As plant proteins are further developed and ingredient formulations improved, there will be a continued interest in plant proteins that can replace animal proteins in popular products. While plant-based alternatives can be high in protein, they must also provide essential vitamins and minerals found in animal products to meet consumers' expectations of plant-based foods being healthy and nutritious.

4. Indulgent

Consumers should be able to enjoy a plant-based diet without feeling deprived or sacrificing their favourite foods. Plant-based alternatives should be made to taste just as indulgent (if not more) as their animal-product counterparts, whether it be a meat substitute, dairy-free ice cream or cheese.

5. Socially responsible

Plant-based foods need to provide consumer benefits beyond taste regarding ethical standards. Plant-based proteins need to be transparent in their origin and sourcing while also meeting consumer expectations concerning ethical certification. Plant-based foods that meet conscious consumers' expectations will gain an added edge over products that don't.

6. Good value

Plant-based alternatives will need to compete on price with their animal-product counterparts and not be seen as a more expensive alternative. As demand continues to rise, innovation around plant-based substitutes is developing; these products are becoming increasingly cost-effective.

Get in touch

When it comes to plant-based foods, consumers want a variety of convenient options that don't sacrifice taste and offer indulgent flavours. Consumers also care about the social responsibility aspects of their food choices and are looking for diversity in protein sources. If you're looking to stay ahead with plant-based food trends, get in touch! Our team will work closely with you on your new product development needs from ideation through to execution.

For further information or to learn more, please contact sales@uren.com.