Latest trends for 2024 in the plant-based industry

food trends 2024

Over the last decade, the explosion in all things plant-based market has been immense. First introduced as a term in the 1980s, “plant-based” didn’t surface seriously on the world stage until 2015. With increasing concerns about planetary environmental health and human health, consumer interest in vegetarian diets has driven a wave of product innovation in the plant-based industry around the world.

According to Mintel data, the number of new packaged consumer goods launched with a plant-based claim has increased by 302% between 2018 and 2022. For example, over three-quarters of German 16-24-year-olds are eating plant-based options regularly. Mintel analysts forecast the market could grow to $160 billion by 2030. If you ever thought vegetarian is a hype, think again!


The plant-based market is expanding

Plant-based refers to any consumer goods that are derived from plants. In the main, this means fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts, oils, seeds, spices, and plant-based extracts.

However, this already extensive list is expanding rapidly. Plant-based innovations are entering consumers’ daily diets with alternatives for meat, dairy, fish, and seafood. Even vegan claims in beauty and personal care products, household, fashion, and apparel categories are no longer an exception.

It seems that the term plant-based is reaching a far wider audience than the small segment of vegan customers. Who would have thought 10 years ago that the real change would be driven by flexitarians and omnivores?

The impact of inflation on the plant-based market

There’s no doubt that interest in plant-based is strong. However, after a rapid rise, the recent economic downturn is a challenge for the industry.

The higher cost of living has caused consumer interest to fade. Consumers are beginning to turn away from purchasing expensive plant-based meat alternatives. This means that it’s more important than ever to strive for competitive prices.

That said, what goes down must go up, and the plant-based movement is likely to regain momentum once consumers begin to feel more positive about their finances. Additionally, the awareness of the positive impact of sustainable living on climate change should underpin plant-based demand for the coming years.

High-Protein as key opportunity for plant-based brands

The majority of plant-based consumers would like to see more high-protein plant-based dairy alternatives, according to Mintel’s research on plant-based food trends. This makes high-protein a key opportunity for plant-based brands.

Improved variety in plant-based proteins is key for sustained market growth. Types, formats, and sources of plant-based protein innovation will also continue to diversify to meet consumer demands for realistic alternatives to both meat and dairy.

As one of the most popular plant-based products, the high use of burger substitutes has much to do with their availability and the innovations brands have made in both taste and texture. Brands can find ways to stay ahead of the competition by elevating new alternative formats to other types of meat products.

Plant-based seafood, an emerging trend

Commercial fishing is destroying our planet more than we ever thought. No wonder consumer interest in plant-based seafood innovations is growing. 60% of UK meat-substitute consumers find plant-based seafood products more appealing having seen the Netflix hit ‘Seaspiracy’ or negative news coverage of sea fishing.

Fish substitute products are in a good position to be presented as a sustainable solution to challenges in the seafood industry. 2024 might be a break-through year for plant-based seafood. 

Plant-based dairy brands are on the rise

There are opportunities for plant-based dairy brands to increase market share and widen the consumer base. Over half of consumers want to try plant-based drinks with different plant proteins. Brands should create new products with plant ingredients like black bean, pistachio, and cashew that consumers like.

Did you know that over a fifth of Brazilian consumers are interested in milk substitutes designed for athletic recovery? This speaks to an increasing consumer demand for products that tap into functional health. There is a growing opportunity for brands to innovate with functional ingredients, and promote the beneficial aspects of non-dairy drinks.


Naturis is your partner for all plant-based dairy solutions 

Long before the name plant-based was invented, Naturis was already innovating in the plant-based industry. Therefore, we are ready to be your partner in vegetarian solutions. Whatever your question might be, we have a plant-based solution. We can deliver the ingredients for your plant-based dairy brand, or your plant-based seafood inventions.



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