The plant-based movement signals a significant shift from being just a trend to becoming a way of life. Get to know all things that help drive the plant-based world from Kunal Mutha, Founder, Only Earth.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact and put what was already a buoyant market into overdrive. This pandemic has spurred a renewed focus on health and well-being, inspiring many people to explore adding more plant-based ingredients into their diets. Today’s consumers are educating themselves about health, food choices, sustainability, the health of the planet at large, and animal welfare – all things that help drive the plant-based world.
By the summer of 2020, plant-based food sales doubled with consumers putting 14 per cent more dairy-free options in their baskets. This hasn’t slowed down either and that’s partly thanks to the innovation now entering the food and beverage market both within manufacturing and foodservice. With so much choice, veganism has become even more accessible and appealing, helping to increase the appetite for a plant-based diet even further. If researchers are right, there will be 12 million consumers eating meat-free and a 98 per cent rise in vegans compared to this time last year.
The reasons for a boost in this consumption are varied, but the switch to plant-based nutrition is here to stay. With a profusion of information available online, veganism has become a veritable choice amongst conscious consumers. People have come to realise the importance of going environment friendly as these products have a much lower carbon footprint. In the plant-based milk category itself, concerns such as lactose intolerance have been recognized and people are much more aware of how plant-based milk can help address that. Many skin experts have also attributed dairy consumption to acne as well.
With people now looking consciously at alternatives, whether it is driven by thoughts of clean eating or contributing to help the environment, the time is right to offer more options for a balanced diet as consumers take an interest in the source of their food and drinks to be able to make informed decisions.
Plant-based foods and beverages are healthy, no doubt, but we must let the consumer reach out on their own. When the complicated part of ‘trying a new food’ is taken out, you will quickly find a consumer drawn towards it. The pandemic taught us well, if we know how to make use of plants and nuts, we shouldn’t need to rely on any meat or dairy products.
Trends That Are Making Big In Plant-Based World
- Today’s consumers want transparency. This movement is all about doing what is better for the planet and its people. Consumers need to feel you align with that belief.
- The consumer wants greater choice and diversity without compromising on taste and experiences as they make a shift to a vegan version of the product they were used to.
Innovations To Look Out For In Plant-Based World
Now in 2021, we listen to customers more and try addressing their needs through continuous innovation. Furthermore, a lot of plant-based alternative products are blossoming which presents an exciting growth opportunity for producers, like vegan desserts, bakery products, cheese, etc. apart from food and plant-based beverages.
Smart processing technologies and innovation in ingredient handling mean plant-based varieties can now match traditional dairy products for flavour, texture, and feel. The market has expanded rapidly beyond the traditional plant staple of soy into a plethora of tastes and protein sources – from oat, cashew, and almond to coconut, pea, and avocado – and on to the latest frontier of potato, chia and chickpea.
In conclusion, for vegan companies/brands, product innovation is crucial to develop the flavours, textures, and variations in shape, content, and wrapping necessary to lead and keep in step with market demand. Alongside the growing cohort of vegetarian and flexitarian consumers who gravitate to plant-based foods are the many people eager to experiment with new forms of indulgence. Curiosity and a passion to explore novel tastes are key consumer drivers.
A passionate leader, entrepreneurial by nature, Kunal Mutha comes with extensive experience from the well-established Mohan Mutha Group. His passion for a vegan lifestyle, concern about climate change and animal cruelty lead him to venture into a plant-based food and beverage business. He is the Founder and Managing Director of Naturise Consumer Products. The company is headquartered in Singapore and plans to establish its flagship brand Only Earth as a leading player in the plant-based sector.
Only Earth deliver similar sensory experiences, allowing consumers to accept and make a shift more easily. Our plant-based options have relatively lower saturated fat and retain proteins, carbohydrates, fibre, calcium, potassium, sodium, and vitamins. They also have less or negligible cholesterol. The actual health benefit needs to be mapped to an individual’s body type and needs.