As the COVID-19 pandemic continues you evolve the landscape of the food industry as we know it, consumers are falling into new categories of dietary preferences (and offsetting expected retail sales in the process). Over the past year, as an effort to preserve and maintain overall health, more and more people have begun to identify as Flexitarian– 18% of the population to be exact. Flexitarian, a new lifestyle that focuses on the reduction of overall meat consumption is thought to be the solution for many problems our society faces today. From global warming and the obesity epidemic to the desire to improve immunity during the pandemic, a plant-based lifestyle has been leading the way for consumers everywhere and the numbers are reflecting in retail sales causing a boom in plant-based food manufacturing.
Plant-Based Food Manufacturing on the Rise
According to information released by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and The Good Food Institute (GFI), U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods continued to climb by double digits last year, increasing 27% to $7 billion.
For those of you manufacturers who have considered the possibility of launching a plant-based product, now is the time. According to “The Power of Meat 2021”, self-described meat-eaters have decreased from 85% of the population down to 71% in the last year. And as a result, an astonishing $3.1 billion was invested into the plant-based meat market in 2021 (nearly 3x the amount raised just the year before).
“The investor community is waking up to the massive social and economic potential of food technology to radically remake our food system,” says Sharyn Murray, a senior investor engagement specialist with Washington, D.C.-based GFI. “Early trendsetters like Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Memphis Meats and Mosa Meat continue to perform well, and there are more and more entrepreneurs who see the potential of alternative proteins to succeed in the marketplace while having a positive global impact on food sustainability and global health.”
Supply & Demand
The motive behind the plant-based food manufacturing boom is a mutual goal between consumers and manufacturers alike: improving the environment while improving human health in the process. As the demand for plant-based food products increases, manufacturers willingly oblige consumers with price drops. For example, the CEO of Impossible Foods, known for their impossible burgers and rollout with Burger King, rolled out a 20% price drop this past year on their plant-based burgers in retail grocery stores. The common goal being cited as a primary factor for the drop.
“Our plan is to reverse global warming and halt our planet’s extinction crisis by making the food system sustainable,” Brown said when the price cut made news in February. “To do that, we need to make meat better in every way that matters to consumers — taste, nutrition, convenience and affordability. With economies of scale, we intend to keep lowering prices until we undercut those of ground beef from cows.”
Utilizing Plant-Based Products in Your Recipes
If you have been considering creating a plant-based version of your product line, there is no time like the present. From a business perspective, the demand will only continue to rise in the upcoming years. Recognizing that demand and growth potential is the foundation of creating a solid product. Whether you’re a manufacturer of frozen pizzas, breakfast sandwiches or other packaged food products, using vegan meat alternatives is becoming less taboo and more status quo than ever. Experimenting with plant-based food manufacturing has lost all it’s risk and has been outweighed with substantial benefits with only increase on the horizon.
Because of products like Impossible and Beyond Meat, incorporating a meatless product in your line has never been more simple. Created to look and eat like real meat, these products can be swapped for traditional meats and easily expand a successful line.