Kara Nielsen, vice president of trends and marketing for CCD Innovation Inc., Emeryville, California, said plant-based proteins are bringing new consumers to the market for products featuring the nutrient.
|Kara Nielsen, vice president of trends and marketing for CCD Innovation|
“These people may be vegans, people with allergies or people who are looking for alternatives that are innovative and interesting,” she said. “They are taking the generic protein trend in a new direction.”
That new direction was prominently on display this past September during the Natural Products Expo East trade show that was held in Baltimore Sept. 13-16. By 2020, global sales of plant-based dairy and meat alternatives are forecast to reach $19.5 billion and $5 billion, respectively, said Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, San Francisco, during a presentation at the show.
Driven by health, environmental and animal welfare concerns, more than a third of Americans buy plant-based meat alternatives, and just over a quarter of consumers said they ate less animal meat in the past year, Simon said.
“What is more important when choosing a product?” she asked. “For certain consumers, especially vegans, it is more important that it is vegan. That’s part of the reason why you are seeing vegan yogurts and other products like them.”
Nielsen added that a company like Impossible Foods, Redwood City, California, is also capitalizing on such higher-order trends. Impossible Foods manufactures a plant-based burger that has the taste and texture of a meat-based product.
The market for plant-based products and proteins has momentum. In the past year, plant-based meat and dairy alternatives in the United States grew 8.1 percent, topping $3.1 billion in sales, according to Nielsen data commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute. During the period, milk alternatives grew 3.1 percent, while sales of cow’s milk declined 5 percent.