Plant-based meat is travelling through the digestive tract of American meat-eaters more than vegetarians and vegans. The NPD Group stated that four out of every twenty-five Americans tend to use plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy. What is remarkable is that 89 per cent of people eating meat alternatives say they do not follow a particular plant-based lifestyle – they just love variety in their diets. The so-called flexitarians are embracing the vegan trend part-time.
NBC News reports that the study has been concluded by market research firm The NPD Group – as sales have grown by almost $74 million in the space of just two years – and our hamburger fixation is the main driver. After Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers released their new veggie burger concept into the market – mimicking the hamburger with plant-based ingredients – they were responsible for an 80 per cent increase in Americans’ consumption of vegan proteins at restaurants. It was not just burgers either. The list goes on with wings, sausages and meatballs doubling their plant-based sales double fold over a year.
A part of this increase is down to more non-meat options being made available at restaurants. Cambridge University experimented and found that doubling the availability of vegan options increased plant-based sales between 40 to 80 per cent more without disrupting overall food sales.
“Meat alternative providers, particularly in the burger plant-based category, have done a good job on the taste front and in making vegetables reproduce the meat-eating experience,” said NPD analyst Darren Seifer.
As might be expected, due to the sudden and recent rise of plant-based proteins, Millennials are the driving consumers for the high demand for these products. Yet, it is not only limited to the younger generation as 20 per cent of people content they eat and drink to manage their health conditions according to the NPD report. Nowadays, people perceive plant-based meat to be healthier for you. In fact, 61 per cent of Americans say they want to eat more protein in their diets and do not attribute plant-based proteins to overly processed foods.
Taste is the key component
The relatively small vegan and vegetarian numbers mean one thing and one thing only. Taste – is and will always remain the key component that determines whether a plant-based alternative succeeds or fails.
“Meat alternative providers, particularly in the burger plant-based category, have done a good job on the taste front and in making vegetables reproduce the meat-eating experience,” said NPD analyst Darren Seifer. “Attributes such as health and convenience go far to drive consumption, but if the flavour profile falls below consumers’ expectations, then the product will likely have a short run,” he said. “Now there is no compromise when choosing a vegetable-based burger in terms of taste.”
As Flexitarianism rises, results show that caterers will serve more plant-based options. Customer demand is not only being answered but remoulded for a new era.