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Creating nutritious and clean-label plant-based products remains a challenge for manufacturers.
The plant-based food market is opening up significant opportunities for product developers. According to Kerry’s European Plant-Based Consumer Insight Study, 2020, 42% of European plant-based food consumers are eating meat alternatives more this year than last, and they are eating it several times a week. In Europe, the meat-alterative market is valued at €8.4 B.
Kerry said sustainability is a key driver in the demand for plant-based products. According to its research, seven in 10 plant-based consumers are influenced by lower emission and resource intensity of plant-based options. Key sustainability factors include responsible sourcing such as deforestation, GMO-free, and technology platforms that improve water reduction, reduce CO2 and greenhouse emissions, use recyclable materials and renewable electricity.
“A number of approaches need to be considered in terms of plant-proteins; source diversification, regenerative agricultural practices, shifts in proteins diets and food waste minimization in general,” said Kerry’s group head of sustainability, Juan Aguiriano. “Kantar found in 2019 that 98% of global consumers expect companies to invest in sustainability, a large increase from the 65% reported in 2018. Kerry’s Consumer First study showed 83% of consumers would consider the environment when making a purchase.”
Beyond traditional sustainability markers is nutrition, creating nutritious plant-based products can be a challenge. “The challenges are to ensure plant-based products are not only a source of good quality protein but are also nutritious,” said Aisling Aherne, PhD, nutrition science manager at Kerry. “They should also provide proteins that are digestible and available for absorption in the body. There are opportunities for different sources of plant proteins to be used in combination to complement their deficient amino acids. Many legacy products on the market have high-salt levels and lengthy ingredient declarations. The new generation of plant-based meats alternatives are more nutritionally optimized in terms of clean-label solutions and fortification, which is what consumers are demanding.”
To download the full report, “Creating winning plant-based food solutions using insight and innovation,” click here.