The consumer demand for plant-based beverages and foods for in-home meal prep has continued throughout the pandemic, according to The NPD Group‘s recently released “The Future of Plant-based Snapshot: The Evolution of Plant-based Continues.”
Both dairy and meat plant-based alternatives are forecast to grow through 2024, driven almost entirely by millennials and Generation Zs, who choose these products for better health and because of their interest in sustainability and animal welfare, reports NPD.
The deep-rooted values of Gen Zs and millennials behind their choice of plant-based foods enabled the category to continue to grow throughout the pandemic when many consumers turned to comfort or more familiar foods.
The demand for plant-based foods didn’t waver during the pandemic. About one in five adults say they want more plant-based foods in their diets, and that number remained steady throughout 2020, according to The Future of Plant-based Snapshot.
Interest in plant-based dairy and meat alternatives by Gen Zs and millennials extends beyond burgers and almond milk. These plant-based consumers look for various meat, poultry, or seafood analogues, flavor profiles, formats. For this reason, plant-based opportunities exist across frozen, shelf-stable, indulgent, and snack categories.
“As consumers continue to prepare more meals in the home and younger generations cook more, plant-based foods and ingredients will be a part of their repertoire,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food industry analyst and co-author of the study. “In addition to providing a variety of plant-based foods and ingredients, food manufacturers should also focus efforts on Millennials and Gen Zs since they will be driving the category’s growth. Their concerns for sustainability and animal welfare should also be taken into account when messaging to them.”