Demand for plant-based foods is driving a huge growth in the CPG market in the USA, according to the Food Institute, citing a study that says Millennial and Gen-Z purchasers of plant-based products are primary drivers of this sector.
“We saw this with low fat, low carb and gluten-free. Now it’s the plant-based products’ turn”
The study predicts the US market for packaged foods will reach $1.376 trillion by 2028 and states that the ” growing trend of plant-based and organic foods is driving the market. With the rising health consciousness, consumers are gradually shifting toward healthy food and drink alternatives”.
Research conducted at the end of 2020 found that 51% of regular meat-eaters were planning to either moderate or eliminate meat from their diet over the course of the year, and as we close out 2021 it seems that may have indeed been an accurate prediction. As another study found this February, 39% of US respondents revealed that their time in lockdown over the pandemic had led to their discovery of vegetables and vegetable dishes.
In October, Whole Foods Markets selected reducetarianism as one of the top anticipated trends of 2022, indicating that consumer preferences for alternatives to animal protein will remain strong. Just last month, Whole Foods and Wakefield Research found that 58% of Americans have catered to guests following special diets for the holiday season, such as plant-based or gluten-free, with over half believing that offering vegan options at gatherings was important.
Hard swing for plant-based
Ashley Goldsmith, chief marketing offer of plant-based collective Healthy Halo Tribes, commented to the Food Institute: “Throughout my CPG career, I have seen trends explode onto the scene. The pendulum swings hard and then slowly comes back to the middle.
“Right now, we are in the hard swing for plant-based items— where everyday foods from baking mixes and cookies to crackers, cheese, milk, meat, fish and more are converting to plant-based […] We saw this with low fat, low carb and gluten-free. Now it’s the plant-based products’ turn.”
Goldsmith added that Millenials and Gen-Z are prioritizing plant-based foods out of environmental and health concerns, as well as a desire to support mission-driven companies.