When it comes to plant-based products, simpler may be better, says New Nutrition Business

June 11, 2019

According to New Nutrition Business, consumers may prefer vegetable-based plant-based products over plant-based meat alternatives, which have a more complex ingredient deck. 

According to New Nutrition Business, consumers may prefer vegetable-based plant-based products over plant-based meat alternatives, which have a more complex ingredient deck. As an example, New Nutrition cites that Caulipower, a small entrepreneurial start-up with $5 million in investments, making vegetable-based pizza for the plant-based and gluten free market, achieved $45 million in U.S. sales in 2018, and is anticipated to make $100 million this year. They compare this performance to the meatless burger maker Beyond Meat, which made $50 million in U.S. grocery sales in 2018, but is backed by over $270 million in investments from Silicon Valley.

“The success of Caulipower – and other plant-based brands just like it – underscores that consumers don't want extruded plant protein burgers as much as they want convenient, all-natural vegetables,” says Julian Mellentin, director of food business consultancy New Nutrition Business, in a press release. Products like Caulipower align closely with what health-conscious consumers look for, which is a short ingredient list that has a connotation of being more natural and less processed.

“Burgers made from plant proteins are held up as the next growth market – and Silicon Valley investors are getting excited about their money-making potential,” says Mellentin. “But many of these investors will be disappointed, because the meat substitute business is already underperforming and seriously overcrowded compared to other plant-based offerings, and fails to meet consumers’ needs for simple, natural and least-processed foods.”

So, there is a great deal of opportunity, but companies and brands have to choose wisely what direction they want to go. New Nutrition Business has more insights on the topic in its new report, “How to succeed with the plant-based food trend: Four strategies for success – and one to avoid.”