Consumers are trending toward consuming less meat is on the rise, and retailers and food manufacturers are working to appeal to these consumers.
As consumer diet trends continue to shift, Innova Market Insights has observed drastic increases in the release of vegetarian and vegan food items.
Innova Market Insights data shows a 60% rise in global food and beverage launches using a vegetarian claim between 2011 and 2015. Launches featuring the term “vegan” also rose to account for 4.3% of total introductions in 2015, up from 2.8% in 2014 and just 1.5% in 2012.
The trend towards reducing meat intake in the diet has led to the emergence of new opportunities to target vegans, vegetarians, non-meat eaters and non-red-meat eaters. New opportunities are emerging too for so-called flexitarians, who mainly eat a plant-based diet, but do occasionally eat meat. Strategies to harness the power of the flexitarian consumer will be among the key trends presented by Innova Market Insights at the IFT 2016 Taste The Trend pavilion in Chicago (booth #2884).
“This trend represents a growing opportunity for high-quality meat alternatives, which is also being reflected in the 24% average annual growth in global meat substitute launches recorded between 2011 and 2015,” reports Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.
Germany has been leading this trend, with high levels of innovative NPD in meat alternatives and meat substitutes, and 69% of consumers claiming to eat meatless meals once a week or more. The U.S. is lagging behind on just 38%, although 120 million Americans do already eat meatless meals, so this must represent a major opportunity.
The trend towards flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets has accelerated the move toward the use of plant-based proteins as meat substitutes. The majority of meat substitutes are still soy- or wheat-protein based, but products are evolving with alternative protein ingredients such as egg, pea, ancient grains and nuts.
“Paradoxically, another key area of opportunity in meat substitutes may be in targeting meat eaters as much as vegetarians,” noted Williams. “While many vegetarians may opt for a diet rich in vegetables and beans, meat eaters may turn to meat substitutes if the product is right. Instead of just finding alternatives, technological solutions also need to be focusing on the development of meat substitutes closely mimicking the taste and texture of meat products.”
Lu Ann will be providing an overview of key opportunities for maximizing the potential of the flexitarian trend in a 20-minute preview webinar in the run-up to the IFT Food Expo.
Join us for: The Flexitarian Effect – New Market Opportunities on July 13, 2016 at 4 p.m. CET/9 a.m. EST to find out:
- Where is the key product innovation occurring?
- How can consumer demand be met with alternative proteins?
- How mainstream will these trends become?