Plant-based food trends 2022

Plant-based food trends: What's next for 2022?

There's no doubt that plant-based food market is booming. The number of people identifying as vegan or vegetarian continues to grow, and more and more restaurants are offering plant-based menu items. According to a new consumer survey, demand for plant-based foods is expected to grow as environmental, health and wellness concerns among consumers continue to rise. Plant-based meat alternatives are showing up everywhere, from fast-food chains to fine dining establishments, as more people are looking to reduce their meat consumption for environmental and health reasons.

Veganuary 2022 will bring a whole new audience of consumers giving the vegan lifestyle a try; in 2021 more than half a million people joined the campaign from more than 200 countries and territories.

Research suggests that health-conscious consumers are increasingly looking to plant-based diets as a way to improve their well-being, with studies indicating that vegetarian and vegan diets may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions.

It is estimated that 13 million Brits were meat-free by the end of 2021, with the global vegan meat market expected to be worth $8.3 billion by 2025.

So, what does this mean for the food and drink industry? Expect to see more food and beverage brands branching out into plant-based foods in 2022.

Here are a few possibilities for vegan food trends for the food and drink industry in 2022:

1. Vegan Craft Beer

While most people think of beer as a fermented malt beverage made from hops, yeast and water, animal fining products are occasionally added by some brewers to refine their brews.

We predict an influx in vegan-first craft brewers in 2022 who are looking to create a new wave of vegan-friendly beer targeted specifically towards plant-based food consumers.

Drink brand owners will need to start looking into innovative ways to produce vegan-friendly versions of their products, and we anticipate that this will be a key trend in the coming years.

2. Potato milk

Potato milk will be the new plant-based milk trend for 2022. Unfortunately, the UK throws away 5.1 million potatoes a year. As well as being considerably better for the environment than dairy farming, potatoes can be used by drink manufacturers to create a vegan-friendly alternative that is free from common allergens, low in sugar and can be fortified with calcium, vitamin D and folic acid.

What about oat milk? Compared to oats, it takes less land to grow the equivalent amount of potatoes, which gives them a lower carbon footprint.

3. Jackfruit- the vegan pulled pork?

Jackfruit is one of the most versatile meat alternatives on the market.

Jackfruit is a giant fruit that is indigenous to South and Southeast Asia. When ripe, the fruit has a sweet, fruity taste and is used in dishes such as curries, stews and salads.

Unripe jackfruit can be cooked and used in savoury dishes as a meat substitute due to its dense texture and strong flavour. It is low in calories, carbs and fat, making it a healthy alternative to meat.

It is naturally sweet and has a consistency very similar to pulled pork. Brands will be pushing out new vegan products throughout the year, with an aim to provide easy-to-make vegan foods that can also be eaten by those on gluten-free diets alongside lactose intolerance and celiac disease sufferers. We are preparing for huge jackfruit sales in 2022!

4. More plant-based meat alternatives

Plant-based products such as Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger, are becoming more and more popular. We can expect to see even more meat alternatives in the years to come, including meatless chicken, beef, and pork products.

The plant-based sector has expanded into alternative meats at a rapid pace, capturing the attention of large-scale meat producers.

5. Plant protein

Plant protein remains a key area in innovation in 2022, with brands looking for ways to create new plant based products with the same texture and taste as animal products.

There is currently an abundance of dairy-free vegan cheese available on the market - including mozzarella, cheddar, feta, ricotta and parmesan.

Protein fortification shows the potential to create valuable alternative protein sources that are free from animal products, using ingredients such as chickpeas or quinoa.

6. Vegan beverage products

Vegan beverage products with plant-based ingredients only will be one of the food trends for 2022. We predict 2022 to be the year of kombucha, turmeric lattes and other plant-based drinks that are not just healthy but delicious.

Kombucha is a fermented tea with a sweet and sour taste, containing live bacteria and yeast which are said to offer health benefits such as improved digestion and increased energy levels.

7. Plant-based convenience foods

With busy lives and little time to cook, more people are turning to plant-based products for convenience foods. We can expect to see even more vegan frozen meals, pre-packaged snacks, and ready-to-eat meals in the years to come.

Vegan food manufacturers will need to focus on creating convenient and affordable products that will appeal to health-conscious consumers.

8. Vegan restaurants

As the demand continues to grow, we can expect to see even more vegan restaurants popping up across the country. Vegan diners will no longer have to search far and wide.

Since consumers still expect to be able to get their favourite fast foods even when eating plant-based diets, we can probably expect to see a wider variety of vegan fast food options in the years to come.

9. More plant-based desserts and treats

Plant-based dessert options have been growing in recent years, especially options that replicate popular dairy-based desserts. In fact, several companies are now offering vegan ice cream flavours that taste exactly like their traditional counterparts.

In 2022 we can probably expect to see more plant-based options being offered by major food and drink brands as they begin to realise the potential market power of this growing consumer group.

What's next for veganism?

The vegan food sector is booming, and we can expect to see even more vegan-friendly food and drink options in the years to come. From vegan craft beer to potato milk, meatless meats, and plant-based convenience foods, there is something for everyone.

For the food industry, the increasing demand for vegan consumer diets and evolving vegetarian diets is a significant opportunity that should be a big priority for the future.

Research suggests that as environmental concerns combined with health concerns continue to peak consumer demand, producers can face supply chain pressures and challenges sourcing the right ingredients.

Get in touch with our team to see how we can help you take advantage of the biggest growth category for 2022.