In just a few months’ time, what was seen as a novelty has exploded into the mainstream. With big names like Kraft, Tyson and even Burger King getting onboard, plant-based meats are now on the radar of people who might never have considered such options. And it seems to be more than a passing fad, with a growing number of consumers now rethinking their food sources. The time is ripe for food manufacturers to join the club. Here’s why.
What’s Behind the Trend?
The popularity of plant-based meats is unusual in that it seems to be largely consumer-driven. In an environment where opinions are loud and preferences strong, food manufacturers are increasingly responding to trends rather than setting them. In other words, consumers are writing the rules.
Several factors are driving the surge in plant-based meats. To name just a few:
- Personal Health — The Information Age has a profound impact on consumer preferences. They’re digging deeper into ingredients and searching out sourcing information. Health-minded consumers are changing their diets based on concerns about heart disease, diabetes and more. Consequently, vegetarianism is booming.
- Communal health — For similar reasons, consumers see a connection between the livestock industry and the declining effectiveness of some antibiotics. Those consumers view antibiotic resources as being spread too thin and see reduced meat consumption as one way to tackle the problem.
- Sustainability — By some estimates, the global population could top 10 billion by 2050. Feeding all those people will be a tall order, one that some experts argue would be easier to do with plant-based products rather than meat.
- Climate change — The production of meat — from the equipment used to the animals raised — is seen by many as a major source of carbon emissions. One way consumers have responded is by adopting vegetarianism.
Despite this, millions of consumers still have a taste for meat. As such, plant-based meats are crucial to closing the gap.
Should You Get Onboard?
The increase in vegetarianism and flexitarianism (primarily vegetarian diet that are occasionally supplemented with meat or fish) is far outpacing increases in population and food sales. In an industry tied to consumer trends, the smart money is on plant-based meats. But there are plenty of considerations when taking that path. One challenge is producing products that replicate the taste and texture of their meat counterparts. Another is reaching the right consumer audience. And then there’s getting a foothold in what’s quickly becoming a major industry.
As more food manufacturers take up the challenge, the options for meat alternatives are growing. Companies that stake their claim now are sure to reap the benefits.
Why PacMoore Is a Leader in This Space
PacMoore is a leading provider of food manufacturing and packaging services, especially when it comes to specialty foods. Our experts are more than happy to guide you into the plant-based meats industry. Our extrusion capabilities are especially well suited for the creation of raw ingredients such as texturized soy and pea protein for great tasting plant-based meat or fish products. Contact us to learn more about this and other trends, and to find out how we can help you.