5 plant-based food trends and innovations for 2023
The plant-based sector continues to innovate. With more and more people following a vegan lifestyle or choosing to cut down on their meat, fish and dairy consumption for environmental, animal welfare and health reasons, market offer of animal-free products continues to increase. We take a look at the plant-based food trends for 2023.
Vegetables take centre stage
In the last few years a huge number of meat alternatives have been launched on the market. Some might say that the sector is even saturated, but plant-based meat is here to stay. Tasty, affordable and convenient, these analogues are not under threat. However they might have a little bit of competition from the humble vegetable in 2023. For instance, rather than using vegan mince in a ragù sauce, many consumers are using lentils instead. This of course is nothing new, but after being obscured by meat analogues, legumes are making a comeback as proteins of choice. Healthy and easy to source, pulses are a good alternative to plant-based meat and with the cost of living crisis, they are also a purse-friendly option. Other dishes using vegetables only, such as aubergine and butternut squash lasagna, are also a popular and delicious choice. And what about dressed asparagus or a baked artichoke as a main? Cooked and presented well, vegetables don’t need to be relegated to the ‘side dish zone’ anymore.
Vegan cheese hits the spot
Vegan cheese has been much maligned, but detractors might have to eat their own words as the dairy alternative industry is producing some excellent plant-based products these days. Whilst most commercial vegan cheeses are laden with coconut fat and starches, the new wave of cheese analogues are made with healthier ingredients, such as nuts, pulses, and, in the case of brand Mozzarisella, sprouted brown rice. Of course nut-based artisanal cheese alternatives have been around for a few years, but now there are more companies on the market, upping the competition, driving prices down and offering consumers a wider choice. There is also more funding being injected into dairy-free brands, allowing them to invest more into R&D. Italian and French brands, such as Cicioni Casa del Fermentino, chickpea based vegan cheeses by Porto Via, Ferretti, Jay and Joy, and Les Nouveaux Affineurs, apply their cheese making traditions to plant-based alternatives that are delicious, nutritious and healthier. No saturated fats and starches in sight. British brands such as I AM NUT OK, Mouse’s Favourite, La Fauxmagerie and Honestly Tasty are also producing a variety of delicious vegan cheeses.
In our plant-based trend predictions for 2022, we said that vegan fish was going to have a strong year, and it certainly did, with brands such as Good Catch and Future Farm growing in popularity with consumers. Whilst the market is still minute compared to plant-based meat, there are some truly innovative fish analogue brands creating delicious and healthier products. Most vegan seafood products on the market are breaded, but the new offerings are all about analogues that mimic raw fish and fillets. Austrian start-up Revo produces delicious plant-based smoked salmon, Verdino makes a large selection of ‘unfished’ vegan fish, including tuna and salmon poke cubes, sashimi, salmon fillets, and tuna flakes alongside their breaded offerings, whilst Dutch company PLNT Food produces delicious tuna and crab analogues. Danish company Jens Moller Products even makes a seaweed-based vegan caviar – Caviart – so anything is possible these days!
Plant-based food brands make it onto restaurant menus
High end restaurants are quickly embracing plant-based products such as meat and cheese and serving them in their establishments. German Gymnasium, Chotto Matte, Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar, and a number of Marco Pierre White’s restaurants have put Redefine Meat’s 3D printed Flank Steak on their menus, whilst Gauthier Soho uses Bute Island’s Sheese in a soft cream filling in their tortellini. Sheese cream cheese is also used in the tiramisu at Gauthier Soho’s sister restaurant 123V. 2023 will see more and more restaurants offer branded vegan products to their clientele.