Product Opportunities in the Plant-based Protein Market

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Our global team of experts weigh in on the biggest plant protein product opportunities for brands in or entering the market

As reported in “The State of the Global Plant-based Protein Market”, plant protein has moved beyond trend to marketplace mainstay and is still on a positive—even dramatic—path for growth. We’ve tapped the same team of experts to weigh in on the most promising plant protein product opportunities for brands planning to enter or stay in the market in 2020 and beyond.

Our plant protein experts include:

  • Rebecca Fitzgerald, Plant Protein Marketing Manager, Europe and Russia
  • Christina Furlong, Market and Consumer Insight Specialist, Europe and Russia
  • Thomas Chai, Executive Chef, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
  • Sui Lan Lim, Marketing Consumer Insights Analyst, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
  • Soumya Nair, Marketing Insights Director, North America
  • Cian Leahy, Director of Culinary, North America
  • Marissa Mecalco, Marketing Analyst, Latin America—Mexico
  • Pedro Dell Agli Tatoni, Marketing Manager, Latin America—Brazil and South Cone
  • Mauricio Arrieta, Marketing Manager Meat, Latin America
  • Mindy Leveille, Marketing Manager Dairy and Plant Proteins, Global

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What additional insights has their collective work in the plant protein market revealed?

Perhaps most importantly, while the term “plant-based” is currently tied to the vegan community, as the category evolves and expands to attract more traditional meat eaters and dairy consumers, our team predicts it will grow to have its own unique identity. This is already starting to happen on Instagram, where the hashtag #PlantBased has 23.9 M mentions; #Vegan has 83.8 M mentions.

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Because trends and innovations come in waves, as manufacturers become more familiar with plant protein there is sure to be an increase in innovation. New integrated plant-based food solutions are making it easier to address persistent problems in plant proteins, opening up more product and application opportunities. Additionally, as regulations around labelling are introduced, such as limitations to use of phrases such as “meat” and “milk”, the industry may rethink positioning and products.

Plant Protein Product Opportunities

Brands can harness the popularity of plant protein by offering plant-based products that meet the same expectations as traditional products, such as clean label and delicious taste. As the plant-based foods market matures, there will only be room for products that tick the standard boxes while also offering a unique value proposition. Our global team of plant-based food experts predicts that plant protein products meeting one or more of the below criteria will experience the most growth in the years to come.

Instagrammability: Social media will continue to be a source of information for consumers of plant proteins, including messages pushed by peers, influencers and brands. Because of the popularity of Instagram, products that are the most photogenic may garner the greatest number of likes, and purchases.

Green Label: A spin on the clean label trend, green label is about ingredients that taste good, are good for you and do good for the planet. Part of this boils down to having an authentic story as a means of achieving consumer trust.

Artisanal: Similar to green label, an artisanal product is one that has a good story, such as small batch and hand-crafted. Young consumers, especially, value provenance and invest in brands that appear small, flexible and innovative.

Beyond Beef Alternatives: Plant-based meats are typically seen as an alternative to beef, although there has been some growth in plant-based chicken replacements. However there’s a growing interest in other categories, such as egg replacements and fish alternatives.

Hybrids: In some markets, adding plant proteins to vegetable-based products as well as non-vegan and even meat products may help to attract new consumers. Blended products are also a way for traditional brands to enter this booming market, so long as quality is kept high and messaging aligns with a product’s target audience.

Functional Benefits: Fibre and protein are two possible areas of fortification for plant protein products; others include calcium, Vitamin B12 and Iron.

Novel Protein Sources: Consumers want to explore options beyond the standards. This means there’s potential in lab-grown meats and dairy as well plant sources such as millet and algae, which have yet to be fully explored and optimised.

Traditional and Original Formats: There’s room in the marketplace beyond burgers and traditional beverages, including plant-versions of products consumers are already familiar with as well as brand new formats, flavours, textures and more.

Reduced Sugar, Salt and Fat: As consumers seek more nutrition from plant-based products, there will be a need for goods that deliver on health claims such as low sugar, salt and fat.

Radicle by Kerry plant-based food solutions are designed to help brands create meat alternative and dairy alternative products that deliver on taste, nutrition, function and sustainability. To learn more about how our team of food scientists, chefs and nutritionists can partner with you to make winning products, contact us.

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