Consumers’ concerns about health and sustainable development have promoted the rapid development of plant protein

Experts point out that consumers’ continued growth in interest in health and sustainability will drive the booming development of plant-based food and beverages.

The SPINS report shows that the plant-based market is growing at an annual rate of 29%. SPINS said this is almost double the 15% growth rate of the overall food and beverage market.

Likewise, plant-based protein products are growing twice as fast as animal protein products in most segments. Experts expect this trend to continue as more people look for healthier, more natural products.

Plant-based products are no longer niche. This has prompted large CPG companies to re-plan and innovate new product lines. Consumers are turning to plant-based products for many reasons, but the two reasons we hear most often are that plant-based products are considered better for their health and the planet.

A June 2020 International Food Information Council (IFIC) survey reported that nearly 70% of consumers believe that plant-based protein is the healthiest; 24% said they eat more plant-based dairy products; Cargill noted that more than 40% of people believe that plant-based products are healthier than non-plant-based products. In addition, sustainability is also an important factor in consumers choosing plant-based products.

In addition to health and sustainability, the pandemic itself has boosted interest in plant-based products. According to the IFIC Food and Health Survey, 85% of Americans have changed their eating habits due to the epidemic, with 28% eating more protein from plant sources, 24% eating more plant-based dairy products, 17 % of people are eating more plant-based meat alternatives.

Trendy Protein

Cargill’s Senior Technical Services Specialist for Plant Proteins noted that soy remains the dominant plant protein on the market because it is affordable, powerful and one of the few to be nutritionally complete based on its Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). One of the plant proteins.

Nutritionally speaking, pea protein is very high in protein. PURIS Pea Protein contains at least 80% protein, allowing it to boast higher levels of protein than many other plant-based options. Although pea protein is not a complete protein, its PDCAAS value is as high as 0.78, which is much higher than most plant proteins. Functionally, pea protein has good texture, emulsifying and water-binding properties, and has high solubility – key attributes for beverage applications.

Not only that, but the current market offers ripe opportunities for new plant-based protein options, including barley protein options.

Packaging labeling

As plant-based diets become more mainstream, consumers are becoming more discerning about the type of protein they seek, making on-pack labeling even more important.

Traditionally, we’ve seen plant-based products simply say “Plant-Based Protein” on the front of the package. However, consumers are increasingly concerned about protein choices and now want to know the type and source of protein in the products they buy. So we’re starting to see specific protein sources on packaging. Experts expect this shift to continue as consumers develop better taste experiences with different types of protein.

Especially within the sports nutrition category, many brands are using plant-based protein ingredients and promoting them with slogans like “Plant-Powered Protein.” Protein fortification/enhancement is a key factor in purchasing decisions.

Challenge

Experts also point out that despite the popularity of plant-based proteins, consumers still have high expectations for the taste of the products.

While early consumers of the plant-based movement may have been more tolerant of the taste of plant-based products, today’s consumer base has grown significantly, along with their expectations for good taste and texture, and their ability to switch to a plant-based diet. Fortunately, plant-based proteins have come a long way, too, and there are many solutions to common formulation challenges that arise.

For beverages with color, texture and taste challenges, complementary flavor profiles can be used, such as chocolate, coffee, mocha and more. While the taste and recipe of the beverage are crucial, the economic and scalable aspects of the beverage are equally important in terms of supply chain and processing technology. Crop diversity is critical from both a variety and regional perspective, as well as focusing on overall best practices in agronomy and farm inputs.